Maddy Gilner ’22 News Reporter
In our age of nigh-instantaneous exchange of information, there’s a new scandal almost every week: a Democratic primary that has one of the largest groups of candidates ever. Trump’s daily tweets. The assassination of Qasam Soleimani. The impeachment trial. If these things hadn’t happened all at once, they would’ve been the focus of news reports for months. But because everything’s simultaneously crashed into us, these monumental events just seem normal.
The impeachment became so long and tedious that very few of us bothered to care about it anymore. The choice was binary: POTUS is either guilty or innocent. Many think that there is no point discussing it because it was out of most people’s control. Even those directly involved seemed to lack interest: a senator, somebody supposed to determine the president’s guilt, fell asleep during the trial. During one of the most important events of the century, Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) took a nap. It’s as if the American people—including politicians—have just accepted that whatever happens, happens.
There’s a huge difference between not obsessing over politics and just giving up on it. We have the ability to research, to find the facts, but we don’t. Instead, we decided to follow a party. Democrats wanted Trump impeached, and Republicans did’t. But the worst part is, the average American isn’t the only one to believe this. The vote to approve trial rules followed party lines exactly, even though the senators swore an oath to be impartial. I’m not implying that the Senators broke a sacred oath, but I do believe that Senators on both sides let their biases get in the way of due process.
Some senators also seemed to think this trial was a waste of time. Many Republicans tried to acquit the president as quickly as possible. What is unfathomable is how one of the most important trials in United States history could be a waste of time. Even if somebody thinks Trump should have been acquitted, shouldn’t that person have at least listened to any new evidence in order to determine the whole truth? The vote to approve the testimony of John Bolton—a crucial witness—was blocked 49-51. Only two senators voted outside of party lines. Though it may be idealistic, finding the truth and acting on it is what our system of law should exemplify.
Though POTUS’s conduct appears impeachable, if new evidence ended up showing that Trump is clearly innocent, or that his “crimes” weren’t impeachable in the first place, then he should have been acquitted. Disallowing new witnesses in order to speed up the trial seemed lazy. At the very least, it showed how thick and impassable the party lines are now. It may have taken a lot of time to allow new witnesses to testify or allow new evidence to come to light, but isn’t the process worth the time? The country deserved to know the full truth, and the American government needed to make sure that their decision was arrived at rightly.
And yet, that’s not what happened. Senators They followed party lines instead of searching for the truth, so the American public is becoming disillusioned with politics as a whole.