You’re Fired: Enough is enough; it’s time to reclaim our democracy and impeach Trump

By on November 8, 2017

Earlier this year, Pete Muldoon, the newly elected mayor of Jackson, made national headlines for removing the portraits of Donald Trump and Mike Pence from the entrance of town hall. He replaced the portraits with a photo of former Shoshone Chief Washakie instead.

The motive for removing Trump and Pence from the wall, Muldoon said, was simple: Trump’s policies clash with community values.

The corridor likely looked a bit less gaudy sans Trump, but the move by Muldoon proved to be a brave but controversial one — one that would make headlines across the nation, and garner both support and backlash from the community.

Muldoon took the criticism in stride, and said that while it may have been tradition to have the president and vice president’s portraits displayed at town hall, it wasn’t a requirement.

“There’s no requirement to have a picture of the president displayed at town hall,” he said. “It’s considered an honor that must be earned.”

“And I think that when we honor someone who has no respect for the truth, celebrates ignorance, insults and threatens valued members of our community, seeks to destroy our national institutions rather than improve them, has no respect for the rule of law, and who treats the people’s government as just another business to defraud…we are sending a message that runs counter to the values of our community,” he said.

He likened viewing Trump’s portrait to staring down the image of an infamous American fraudster.

“If I was the CEO of an investment firm, I wouldn’t have a portrait of Bernie Madoff in the lobby,” Muldoon said. “And as your mayor, I’m not going to have a portrait of Donald Trump adorning the place where dedicated, knowledgeable, hardworking, and amazing town employees serve the public.”

Muldoon said he saw no “educational value” or purpose in honoring Trump, “an extremely divisive figure.”

That was back in June, prior to Charlottesville…prior to the Russia investigation…prior to the threat of nuclear war with North Korea… the embarrassment of having a “tweeter in chief”…the terrible, amoral example he sets for the children of this nation…his numerous allegations of sexual assault and his unwillingness to denounce white supremacists…and so on, and so forth, ad infinitum.

Had Muldoon waited just a few months to remove the portraits, the move may not have been deemed as controversial as it was back in June. These days, opponents of Trump’s divisive behavior and rhetoric are in droves coming out of the woodwork to speak out against the man whose political mission, it seems, is to destroy America.

Impeach Trump, they say. Impeach Trump.

We agree.

Planet Jackson Hole is joining dozens of other alt-weeklies across the nation, from Eugene, Oregon — the paper that brought us much of this feature — to Charlottesville, Virginia, Salt Lake City and beyond, in taking a stand.

It’s time to impeach Donald Trump.

The Nation Calls for Impeachment

The Move On petition’s headline says it all: Impeach Trump. And even in the red state of Wyoming, there are supporters.

“To be delivered to Senator John Barrasso, Wyoming Senator, Senator Mike Enzi, Senator from Wyoming, Representative Liz Cheney, Representative from Wyoming, Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-), and Sen. John Barrasso (WY-2),” it says.

“We, your constituents of Wyoming, demand you perform the will of the people and support Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. He is unfit, unqualified, and violating civil and human rights.

Donald Trump is an unfit, unqualified President. He violates the Constitution daily and condemns our American judges, media, and anyone who voices an opinion in opposition of his. While he is condemning America, he is constantly defending and praising a murderous, tortuous Vladimir Putin. We demand you perform your duty to the people of Wyoming and IMPEACH TRUMP immediately.”

That petition is just one of thousands making the rounds.

As of the day this issue went to print, Democratic donor Tom Steyer’s petition to impeach Trump had accumulated more than 1 million signatures — a million signatures in just over 10 days.

Steyer began calling for Trump’s impeachment in early October, and ramped up efforts toward the end of the month by broadcasting his petition — literally broadcasting, in this case — through a multimillion-dollar advertisement and commercial campaign that asked Americans to take a stand against Trump.

His efforts included a television ad that ran during “Fox and Friends,” a show that caters to right wing conservatives — one that the president is known to watch often.

Trump, of course, responded, calling Steyer “wacky” and “unhinged” in a tweet.

A Nation Polled

Numbers released by Public Policy Polling on October 31 showed that support for impeaching Trump was at a record high.

According to PPP’s newest national poll, the record level of support for impeaching Donald Trump showed that 49 percent of voters support impeaching him, and 41 percent are opposed to doing so. The poll marked the 6th month in a row the group found a plurality of voters in favor of impeaching Trump.

Trump’s approval rating has declined by a net 7 points in the last month, according to PPP’s data. In September, their polls found him at a -11 spread with 42 percent of voters approving of him, to 53 percent who disapproved.

As of October 31, he was at -18 with 38 percent of voters approving of him to 56 percent who disapprove.

“Basically everything we poll on a monthly basis is at a record low point for Trump right now,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “His approval rating, the number of voters who want to impeach him, his position against Democrats for 2020, and his hold over the Republican Party have never been weaker than we found in this month’s national survey.”

Tales from the Trumpian Era

On Nazis, Charlottesville and Trump:

”I have been through this before, back home in Germany, when they arrested my parents for being Jewish. They shot my mother and sisters in front of me; I was next in line. When the SS ordered I stand on my mothers dead body to be shot…I was young; I did not know why this was happening. I was told to fall when they shoot — even if they miss I needed to fall so they would leave me alone. So I fell, and when they left I climbed out from under the mass of dead bodies and I ran. It was a bloody mess! A huge pile of naked, pale, bodies. Groaning and bleeding, the very ground was wet with blood — blood and soil. The soles of my feet were red with it.

My mother was killed — so were my sisters — but my father had escaped with my younger brother. A nice Polish family took me in, what a mistake! When they found us they had no mercy, I once again escaped and hid in a Christian household. But I needed to find my father and brother, so I left the family. The Nazis — they found me, I was sent to Auschwitz. They shaved my head & gave me dirty pajamas to wear, they tattooed a number on me as if I were a factory product. Never was I called Michael again, I was A-6638, cleaning duty.

My father was there, and I asked “Papa, where is Randolf?” — my brother. My father shook his head & pointed to the SS men nearby.

Randolf was killed in a shooting game played the SS. They would toss children in the air and shoot them like ducks.

My father and I worked to clean the SS uniforms, to remove blood and the smell of death. Sometimes I would be tasked to clean the chambers for the next round. That was the worst. Even with masks, you could smell what happened. You know, I cleaned the chamber before my father went in? I tried to stop him. I was beaten by the Nazis, forced to wear a mask and stand in front of the chamber as punishment. I will never forget that moment. Everyone had been killed. I was alone. I had to clean the chamber that day.

I have been through this before; I know what is coming because I have seen and lived through what happens when a crazy, egotistical man gains power and elected officials try to make sense of his craziness.

It didn’t start with gassing or shooting; it started with blaming an entire group, with protests that “did not disturb the peace,” and laws that separated us. It started with calling us all terrorists.

It has started in America too — do you see? Yes, it has started in America, but I am older now and I will help you through this.

I may be in my 90’s but I have not forgotten how to fight.

Did you see what happened in Charlottesville? The Nazis are back. We must stop them; silence is no good. The Germans were silent.

I do not believe combating Nazis will be peaceful. Whoever said that is lying. It will be messy, many lives will be taken — I offer my life for that. I always knew one day I’d face them again. I am prepared to die to stop them. Never again will this happen, especially not on American soil.

I am a patriot though I am an immigrant. You see, this country liberated my concentration camp, it fought a war for me, I will defend it against Nazism. Who will join me?

I will not let the country that saved me fall; it is my turn to save it.

Nazis will not prevail, there will be no more A-6638’s.” — Eugene Weekly’s Ellie Tracy’s grandfather on the similarities between Nazi Germany and Charlottesville

George W and George H.W. Bush Speak Out:

“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all its forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable right. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.” — A joint statement from George W. and George H.W. Bush, September 2017

Astounding Corruption and Racism:

“To our way of thinking, impeachment is meant to remove a president who is unfit, immoral and an obvious detriment to the nation. High crimes and misdemeanors fits one path toward impeachment, however, the presidency of Donald Trump – with its astounding corruption and racism – certainly fits another, no less valid.” — Michael Dunne, Indivisible Eugene

Nixon and Trump:

The nation is now witnessing a massive corruption of the presidency, far worse than Watergate. Indeed, Nixon White House Counsel John Dean has told reporters: “I don’t think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.” Given the opportunity of ten full weeks between the election and the inauguration to divest his business interests, Mr. Trump chose instead to announce, just nine days before inauguration, a wholly inadequate plan to step away from operations, but not ownership or income streams, of the Trump Organization. Instead, he has chosen to profit from the presidency at public expense, in violation of the United States Constitution. The violations, the corruption, and the threat to our republic are here now. — Free Speech For People, a national non-partisan non-profit organization that works to renew our democracy and our Constitution for the people

Demand Justice:

Trump threatens us daily with fear, distrust, and violence. Trump dishonors all minorities with disgust and bigotry. Trump distorts reality to manipulate his corrosive agenda. Trump strips our country and the Presidency of all moral and ethical codes. CRIMES AGAINST OUR VERY HUMANITY- BUT NOT IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES! Trump obstructs justice! Trump directly violates the constitution by profiting from the Presidency! Trump is unable and unwilling to protect America from domestic and foreign enemies! Undeniably  IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES. CONGRESS – DO THE ONLY RIGHT THING. IMPEACH!! — Sandi Pattison, Indivisible Eugene

Unfit and in Violation:

“We believe he’s unfit to be president of the United States, and we believe that he’s violated the Constitution such that he should be impeached.” —U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez

Right and Wrong:

I was raised by a circuit court judge. I always had a clear understanding of right and wrong. What Trump and his administration are doing is clearly WRONG. The Republicans need to do the right thing for the American people and follow through with impeachment proceedings NOW! — Lin Woodrich, Indivisible Eugene

Gone Nuclear:

Trump’s policies are the same as Pence’s, Ryan’s, and the rest of the Republicans’. Getting rid of him would not help the people suffering under these policies. After the 2018 elections we can reassess whether impeachment is worthwhile. We should focus instead on stripping the President’s nuclear first strike capability. — Dag Arneson, Eugene Democratic Socialists of America

Cancer of Hate:

We need to impeach Trump. His continued presence allows the cancer of hate to fester. Our country has been embarrassed long enough. — Kevin Cronin, 2014-15 Eugene Weekly best local hellraiser

Let’s make a deal with Mike Pence: A plan for succession

But what about Pence?

That’s the question everyone asks when you bring up impeaching President Donald Trump. If Trump were to leave office before the end of his term, Mike Pence would become president — and that would mean a competent ultra-right-winger, and possibly himself a crook, sitting in the White House in place of the current corrupt fool.

Look to recent history for a succession plan. In the final days of Richard Nixon’s administration, people had the same concerns about Vice President Spiro Agnew, who was under investigation for bribery and corruption charges going back years. Removing one crook from office — Nixon – meant giving the White House to another crook, conceivably as bad or worse. The whole idea stank.

The solution was a plea deal for Agnew and a job offer for Gerald Ford, a moderate, respected Republican without a whiff of corruption. Under the deal, in 1973 Agnew resigned the vice presidency, paid a $10,000 fine and got probation but no jail time on a tax evasion charge. Other charges were dropped. Ten months later Nixon appointed Ford to the vice presidency — with the understanding that, as the new president, Ford would pardon Nixon from criminal charges in Watergate, which he did.

The worst of the White House crooks got off without going to jail, but the nation survived one of its worst political crises ever.

Could that happen with Pence? On the surface, the vice president seems clean of the cesspool of corruption that surrounds Trump. But he’s already been sucked into parroting the web of lies coming out of the White House. If he made the mistake of repeating any of those lies to the Justice Department’s special counsel Robert Mueller, it may be time to play Let’s Make a Deal.

— Writer and photographer Bob Keefer, arts editor of Eugene Weekly. On Jan. 21, 2017, he took part in a political demonstration for the first time since Nixon invaded Cambodia in 1970.

Our Institutions Will Not Save Us

Shortly after Donald Trump took office, there was a rash of hot takes by “Resistance” pundits like Keith Olbermann explaining how the majority of the cabinet could constitutionally remove Trump from office.

Here’s what the 25th Amendment says:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

The closest historical analogy to this scenario may be when Louisiana removed Gov. Earl Long, another populist and the brother of the notorious and assassinated Huey, due to mental unfitness. Some people say the reason was his affair with famous Baltimore stripper Blaze Starr, but A.J. Liebling’s spectacular profile shows how much of it had to do with his nascent attempts to introduce something like civil rights into the deeply Southern state. At any rate, they committed Earl Long to the state mental hospital, but he was able to get out by firing the director and hiring another. He was able to regain power.

The 25th Amendment also has mechanisms whereby Trump could regain power after being ousted — but more on that in a minute, because as Russia fever has intensified, talk has turned to impeachment. Or even, in the most ridiculous cases popularized by gullible Internet sleuths like Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor, sealed indictments. Over the past year, leftists started loving the FBI.

What a year it has been since the dark night when the Democrats lost to Trump. And now, still lacking a serious vision, the Democrats will use the promise of impeachment as an election strategy to try to take the House in 2018.

It’s good to believe in the strength of our institutions and to think they may be stronger than the people who enact them — but it is also foolhardy not to recognize that our institutions brought us Trump in the first place and that they are helmed by a bunch of shitheels more concerned about their own power than about the country.

Let’s just step back and think about precisely who we are hoping might carry out these actions.

In the case of impeachment, you are, essentially placing your hopes in Paul Ryan and one of the most noxious Republican congresses imaginable. Remember how much courage Ryan showed about Trump’s sexist, racist, and authoritarian remarks during the campaign? Yeah, me neither.

Now, if he could also impeach Pence, well, then maybe he would consider it — it would be his ascent to power. But any committed Republican knows that if you were to impeach a sitting president, his vice would be doomed, forever associated with the high crimes and misdemeanors of the impeached POTUS.

Even if them Dems manage to take back the House — and they won’t — they would turn an impeachment into a political war, and the Senate, which they almost certainly will not regain, would not vote to convict. Like the impeachment of Bill Clinton, it would be a hollow victory.

Also, the Democrats are nothing if not cowards. When Trump dissed John Lewis before the inauguration, plenty of Democrats lauded his heroism 50 years earlier, but not a single one of them was willing to be arrested. During health care protests, they watched as people were dragged from their assistive devices without stepping in to risk their own bodies in the way that courageous activists were.

And for the 25th Amendment our chances are even worse. Yes, Rex Tillerson probably called Trump a “fucking moron.” But that does not mean he is going to save you. Neither will the generals. Seriously, look at what you’re thinking if you think military figures can save us. What about Jeff Sessions or Betsy DeVos? When you invoke the 25th Amendment, these are the people you are counting on. These are the people to whom you are abdicating your political will and conscience.

Covering Trump and the so-called Resistance for the last year, I’ve learned one thing: If we really want to stop Trump, it is up to us. He is betting that the constant stream of outrage will wear us down and make us quit caring, as has happened in Putin’s Russia.

And it is exhausting. But instead of sinking into the private sphere, putting our heads down and hoping we make it through, we can begin to stop the private sphere from functioning, we can invade it and disrupt ordinary life. We can make the country quit working and thereby force the establishment to work for us.

Back when Neil Gorsuch was first nominated, I talked to writer Lawrence Weschler, who covered the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s and has seen the people bring down a regime. He argued that the only solution was mass mobilization.

“We all need to start training for civil disobedience,” he said. “We have to have people being arrested everywhere… 500 a day arrested at the Congress, arrested at the Supreme Court, arrested at the White House.”

Weschler argued that it can’t just be the political activists of antifa or Black Lives Matter that are getting arrested, but “everybody who attended to the Women’s March.”

“If you want to normalize something it’s got to be a thing that 30 years from now your grandchildren will look at you and say, ‘Did you at least let yourself get arrested?’” he said.

If we start to flood the jails in large numbers, something will happen. It may not happen because of all of the training and organizing — but it also would not happen without it. As with Solidarity or the Arab Spring, something will happen and it will be the spark to all of that wood we have been stacking. At that moment, you will either be there or not. You will be with us or you will be with Trump. Those are the only choices — not only for us but also for the members of Congress, the cabinet secretaries, the generals and the FBI agents we have been fantasizing about for the last year. They will do nothing unless we force them.

And in that force, we could not only depose a mad president, but also reclaim our democracy. Or claim it, even, for the first time.

If we do not do this there will be more battles in the street. There will be doom. — Baynard Woods, founder of Democracy in Crisis and reporter and editor at the Real News.

It’s time to reclaim democracy. It’s time to impeach Trump. PJH

About Various Authors

Sometimes it takes a village.

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