Editorial: The state of our union

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Monday: The Iowa circus. 

Tuesday: The State of the Union address by President Donald J. Trump. He appears to ignore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handshake right from the start. She finishes the evening by ripping up his speech for all to see. 

Wednesday: Trump is acquitted by the Senate and will remain in power. No witnesses were called in his trial.

Take a deep breath. What a week. Did we mention it’s only Wednesday? And in case you forgot: A president who broke the law remains in power. 

Don’t take it from us, though. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan federal watchdog agency, said Trump violated law when the White House withheld military aid to Ukraine in an effort to hurt a political rival, after both chambers of Congress and the president approved the funds. 

But that’s not really the question, is it? We know he broke the law. The facts are clear. The question really is: Does the punishment fit the crime? 

Several Republican senators have explained their acquittal vote by admitting Trump acted inappropriately but should not be removed from office. Sen. Marcio Rubio (R-FL) said, “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office.”

You can hear the tap dancing around a vote to convict from a mile away. In today’s polarized nation, there’s no room for dissenters. You fall in line with the party. At this particular moment in time, the Republican party is Trump. 

Most of America, falling in the center and tired of partisan tricks, loses out in the meantime. 

It was evident that Republicans didn’t really care to find the truth when they voted against calling witnesses. It is common sense that a trial by jury in this country involves witnesses, experts or sources who were closely involved in the alleged misconduct. But not when it comes to Trump.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to force the chief justice to name the whistleblower on live TV. If only he could go after the perpetrator of the misconduct with the same energy that he goes after the law-abiding civil servant who blew the whistle on the most powerful person in the world.

And so, we go forward.

Think for a minute. If a president is able to remain in power after being caught red-handed using taxpayer dollars for his own electoral prospects, what else would said president feel emboldened to do? And would he get away with it again?

What if Ukraine was, for example, a teacher’s union? What if Trump had withheld money earmarked for public education on the condition of an endorsement from a major teacher’s union? This is serious. 

Without members of Congress hellbent on exercising their broad oversight powers to ensure a transparent, accountable and lawful executive branch, the nature of our system of checks and balances will eventually crumble and evaporate before our eyes.

This is just the start to a surely chaotic, and downright messy, 2020. But make no mistake about it⁠ — with absolute certainty and clarity, the eyes of the world and of history are on us. 

The state of our union hangs in the balance. 

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7 Comments

  1. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    “The state of our union hangs in the balance.” I can just imagine how that sentence will read when President Trump is re-elected. The Democrats strengthened Trump’s support as they threatened impeachment from day one,of his presidency and then strengthened it more when they carried thru with the threat. Would censure have been a more achievable and more effective goal?

    Democratic strategists need to sharpen their pencils and hope that the primary “beauty contests” don’t force acceptance of a nominee who can’t win (this is how we got Trump).

    Since Clinton, the gregarious one, the Democrats have hardened one of their planks into a litmus test driving many moderates to the right. Despite his sterling character Trump appeals to many of those voters.

    Is this the time for term limits so that congressmen will worry about what is best for the country rather than re-election?

    • Bruce Haines ‘67 on

      He did not break the law as the aid was paid on time without any quid pro quo. This impeachment was partisan in the house without impeachable facts. The Dems could not even get all of their own members to support impeachment let alone bipartisan support.

      Why would you want to overthrow the government leader who has brought unoredecented unemployment & unprecedented opportunities for minorities to achieve the American dream. We finally have a President willing to protect American workers by taking on China & Mexico on trade abuses & attempt to close our Southern hoarder to illegal drug runners.

      Get a grip on reality. America knows when they have a strong leader & will re-elect him again despite the attempts by the left tobturn America into another failing socialist country.

      • Amy Charles ‘89 on

        Thank you, Bruce, for a beautiful screenshot moment. Because this right here is the best argument I have seen for the City of Bethlehem and any other government or social organization to deny you the handouts you look for chronically. Ima hold onto this one.

        Bruce Haines, ‘67, apologist for extortionists, crooks, thugs, and seriously stupid people. What a proud day for Lehigh. Booking more events soon at Hotel B, are ya?

  2. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    The reality is that my comment was a critique of the Democrats rather than a critique of our President. Another reality is that many on the right will back President Trump in just about anything he does (out of fear?). I am not and never have been a fan of Donald Trump from prior to Obama to the present. I’ll stipulate that he did not break a law but I don’t think that makes his actions commendable. The Democrats didn’t break a law by harassing Trump for years just as the newest Medal of Freedom recipient didn’t break a law by harassing President Clinton for years. Both of those campaigns were very popular with large segments of our population and are legal but have been arguably harmful to the United States by polarizing the electorate.

    I don’t want to overthrow Trump, as I stated in my rhetorical question, censure him.

    Yes, “We finally have a President willing to protect American workers by taking on China & Mexico on trade abuses” and also one who looks like a fool when dealing with North Korea, Russia and US government intelligence services. The reality is that like all of us, he is a mixed bag.

    I received my Trump Make America Great Again Committee – 2020 Victory Survey, I generally vote Republican, from Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. He writes: “I want to know if you’re with me on our next set of priorities.” I’m with him on many but not all which probably makes me a “never Trumper” I can’t recall another President who has requested my or your personal loyalty like President Trump has done. I can think of historical instances where a cult of personality has caused severe problems. The reality of Trump style of leadership is troubling even as it produces short term benefits. The country will carom in varying directions every 4 or 8 years in reaction to the previous 4 or 8 year administration.

  3. Amy Charles ‘89 on

    So this thing about fear. I keep hearing about what a turrible brave fella Mitt Romney is, and the awful fear in the hearts of the Republicans, and I’m like: what are you even talking about.

    These people are in no danger at all from Trump. The hatchet guys in his crowd make the IRA gym-bag bombers look like master strategists, so they’re certainly not in physical danger, unless it’s from falling off a treadmill or beefing with a neighbor about lawn care. So the terrifying thing they have to fear is…

    …wait for it…

    …someone’s gonna yell at them illiterately on twitter, and they’re going to have to look for a new job in a few years, or just go back to being rich and idle before some good ol’ boy hires them back in a law firm.

    The end. That’s what they’re so petrified about. They might get a ribbon took off their chest in front of everyone. That’s what’s worth selling the rest of us out for.

    I, Amy Charles, tiny middle-aged single mom, am eighty bazillion times braver than these fools, whom we’re taking seriously at the moment. How do I know this? Because I’ve actually put existentially important things on the line to fight corruption. I’ve been willing to open my mouth and walk away from jobs without money to back me or other people to fall back on. I’ve had no problem scolding an abusive, sexually harassing men away from his victim on a train while all these guys stood around looking shocked and stupid, and yeah, I suppose he might’ve had a gun, but I didn’t get shot, did I, and I got him away from that woman and she was able to run off the train. I’ve got a whole list of these things, putting something on the line to defend something else important. You know who else has this list? At least half the moms you ever met.

    And we’re supposed to take these Senate jerks seriously, like they’re serious people. We’re supposed to be impressed by the gravity of the choice before them and the turrible fix they’re in.

    Some time ago I met a woman who’d been a child in Communist Hungary just before the fall of the Wall, and she told me it hadn’t been any surprise when it happened, that all the kids used to laugh at the Soviet leaders. You know that thing about how men fear being laughed at? It’s not just from some sort of incredible thin-skinnedness, though there’s that too. It’s that laughter is a sign that the baloney ain’t selling, son. It’s the GAME OVER sign flashing on the screen. That’s why they get violent about it. And yet, you know, I’m not scared of these guys in DC. I don’t think you should be, either.

    “Cult of personality” — Robert, my very ancient child, this man does not have a personality to make a cult out of. You’re just driveling out what Fox has told you again, which you should stop doing. They’re busy saying “cult of personality” to make it sound like there’s something legitimate there for them to be scared of, or something that’s compelling them like an eeevil sperrit. There is not. It’s only that they’re cowards and empty shirts, and would like for you to think there’s something larger going on.

    • Is there a single conservative on this editorial board? Every week is nothing but liberal diatribe with no sense of balance.

      I get it that Trump is not everyone’s cup of tea but he had every right to ask about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. Especially when we are giving tax payer money (none of which belonged to this editorial board) to them.

      “ I, Amy Charles, tiny middle-aged single mom, am eighty bazillion times braver than these fools, whom we’re taking seriously at the moment.”

      Wow Amy, there is so much to unpack in that statement.

      • Robert F Davenport Jr on

        CSM, you ask: “Is there a single conservative on this editorial board? Every week is nothing but liberal diatribe with no sense of balance.” Hopefully yes, but definitely a minority so the end product is what it is.

        Lehigh, students and professors, is becoming more liberal and The Brown & White (B&W) reflects that. My local liberal daily newspaper goes to great pains to explain that they are giving balanced coverage by adding a claim to that effect to articles on hot button issues as well as describing editorialists as “from the left” and “from the right”. Fox News sycophants would cringe at some of the editorials “from the right” which I would call centrist. Leftists are upset that some editorials “from the left” are not liberal enough.

        As I B&W reader, I would like to see student journalist rebuttals or alternative views.

        If the answer to your question is no, the B&W should get someone with debating, real debating not the political version, to help produce a more balanced B&W product.

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