Impunity vs. Impeachment

The call for an impeachment proceeding has dominated the headlines for almost two months. It is a rapidly evolving story with news sources providing status updates on a seemingly hourly basis. Should the impeachment hearings proceed? If they do, will it result in the removal of the President? If they fail to remove President Trump, do they nevertheless serve a purpose?

On Tuesday, September 24th, Congress was notified of a whistleblower within the intelligence community that made a complaint about a conversation President Trump had with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Therein, President Trump asked Zelensky to provide damaging information on Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election. Almost immediately, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump’s conversation was an abuse of power within the Oval Office.

I believe that the impeachment process should move forward. I also believe it will die in the senate and fail to remove Donald Trump as President. However, I believe that it is imperative that legal action is taken as a testament to the United States’ commitment to the integrity of its constitution and legal system. No one is above the law, not even the President (unless he is a dictator), and it is necessary to set a precedent that if a President uses their influence for personal gain, he or she will be held accountable.

I am shocked by the President’s conduct in this situation. He has shown no remorse even after admitting to his actions. His dismissal of accusations against him as a mere conspiracy is shocking and demonstrates that he believes he is above the law. His insistence that he is impervious to allegations of wrongdoing is nothing new, as he has successfully dismissed controversy after controversy as  “witch hunts” or “fake news.” We must demonstrate to him and his cronies that eventually you have to face the music.

Predictably, President Trump will continue to claim that he is not guilty and carry himself as though he is exempt from the law. But the truth is: he is not. If he is not fully held to account by the impeachment hearing, or even by the upcoming election, History itself will do the job. 

What is important here is that we maintain a high standard for the highest office in the land. We want a government that represents the American commitment to integrity, justice, equality, and fair elections. Our AP Euro teacher, Ms. Anderson, has taught us to use word association when we study…so let’s practice:  What form of government comes to mind when I say impunity? Autocracy. What comes to mind when I say impeachment? Democracy.

Matías Heitner ’22