Former President Donald Trump was once again acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial.
The second impeachment trial, begun only months after the first, lasted from Jan. 13 to Feb. 13. Several Representatives and Senators believe that Trump was to blame for the Jan 6. Capitol Riot. Because of a speech he delivered on the same day, claiming widespread election fraud undermined his reelection, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, resulting in several deaths and various damages.
This second impeachment trial, the first of its kind, will be remembered for years to come as a stain in America’s history. It serves as the dawn of increasingly fragile American democracy, which could spell its doom. The Capitol Riot and the second impeachment proves that the peaceful and seamless transition of power has lost its symbolic value. Trump’s refusal to abdicate weeks after his defeat is almost dictatorial, and further threatens future election outcomes.
However, the worst part of these proceedings is clear: despite his flagrantly incendiary behavior, Trump was acquitted. Trump, who has been an infamous and a notorious character in American politics, definitely should have been convicted and barred from holding any other public office. This acquittal is horrible in that it not only allows him to avoid taking responsibility for this barbaric act, but also still makes him eligible to run for President again.
In a country already fiercely divided by politics, it sets up a horrifying precedent for future politicians. They can prey on this political division for their own ends, coming up with even better ways to achieve what Trump could not.
Republican senators are as much to blame here as Trump is. Their lust for power made it so they refused to do the right thing and impeach Trump, all while some senators still openly despised and ridiculed the acts of the former president. Their hypocrisy has killed the trust of the very people who voted for them, as they are clearly no longer vanguards of American democracy. Citizens should be aware that these lawmakers, so willing to negotiate with perpetrators of heinous crimes, pose a threat to the nation. Imagine if these same lawmakers have to negotiate with foreign powers in the same way.
This trial was supposed to clear things up. After Jan. 6, the general public was left in the dark. How could one speech make so many commit serious federal crimes? Reckoning with this crime and punishing its perpetrator was necessary, as it would show citizens where the nation is headed.
This second impeachment trial instead shows that truth is a subject of meager importance in American democracy. Also, the unity among people seem to have further declined as they are interested in pointless and nonsensical loyalty with a political party beyond rationality. Republican senators who rightfully voted to convict Trump are now tagged as “traitors” or “shameful”. Expert propagandists like Trump have seriously poisoned the fabric of American society, filling it with rancor and resentment. They are still a threat to the nation and should be dealt with accordingly.
The decay of a nation begins when its political ideals are entrenched in hate and contempt. The Jan. 6 mob, reckoning with a coward’s imitation of heroism, has unspeakably ruined the American trust in democracy. Because of this second impeachment’s failure, future politicians will undoubtedly do worse things to American democracy, entirely ignoring the greater good in favor of their own greed.