“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” — a pretty flat declaration as reported by the Apostle Paul, leaving few gaps for politicians to fill at their own discretion. But you know politicians. Here we go with the impeachment hearings, an intended spectacle meant more as payback to Donald Trump for winning the presidency than as high-minded act of democratic reprobation.
Vengeance from parties other than the Lord God Almighty doesn’t always work out as intended. It can lead down twisted and unforeseen paths. Tempers get lost. Rage rules the roost. Butchery of one kind and another takes place, inspiring retaliation that provokes counter-retaliation.
Well, the Democrats wanted this little show. They can’t wait for the voters to punish the president by heaving him from the White House, assuming they so decide. No, it’s a case of showing that the dirty bum done us wrong — and, by the Almighty, We’re Gonna Get Him!
How classy! How dumb!
Needless battles are always dumb. This one couldn’t be more needless. Let us count the ways.
The task the Democrats have assigned themselves is formidable. I would go even further. The task is well-nigh impossible. So what’s the point? What’s the good to be achieved? And if no conspicuous good is to be achieved, why are we doing this?
More and more every day, Congressman Schiff comes to resemble Captain Ahab of the good ship Pequod, obsessed with harpooning the white whale that took off his leg. Schiff, last time anyone looked, has all his appendages. But the pursuit of Trump obviously furnishes some nagging need no one can see in him and in his fellow pursuers — the crew of the whale boat brandishing harpoons against the certainty of failure and destruction.
What are we trying to do here? Is this show worth the candle, when the House, whether joined by the Senate or not, could simply vote to censure the president’s Ukrainian foray? Nothing more would be needed: just a motion of formal and lofty disapproval that would let us go on to other things. Like the 2020 election.
Impeachment is a proceeding so disproportionate to the imputed offense that these little congressional Ahabs, bearing down in a little boat upon the great orange whale, bring to mind an ancient observation: Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make just a little bit screwy, don’t you know?
William Murchison is writing a book on moral restoration in the 21st century.
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