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COLUMN: Impeachment rejection isn't the end of U.S. controversy

McLeod Brian-mug
Columnist Brian McLeod

Now that the U.S. Senate has rejected the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, it would be nice to assume that such controversy is over. However, that could be a dangerous assumption. Democrats appeared determined to remove the president by any means necessary. While they haven’t provided any comments about what their next steps will be, it seems clear that there will be next steps. In all my years of watching the U.S. political environment, I have never seen such blatant hatred between Republicans and Democrats.   

Naturally, both parties are political opponents and a certain degree of animosity is guaranteed, but the pure hatred being exhibited goes far beyond anything the United States has witnessed before. When you read back to the founding of America and consider how their constitution was created, it is clear that the greatest fear the founding fathers had was “big government”. While Jefferson also had a deep fear of banks, and Adams feared standing armies, most of the founding fathers were deeply suspicious of big government and tried to write a constitution that ensured no government could get “big”. In fact, they made a number of smart moves, and the smartest was to include a clause stating any right not specifically listed in the document belongs to the people and only to the people. The other key issue they inserted into the constitution (in many different ways) was rules to limit the power of all three branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. This was the “checks and balances” so many people mention. It was designed, intentionally, to limit the sole power of every branch, such that no progress could be achieved unless the three branches cooperated with each other. For nearly 250 years, all branches of government understood these limitations, and understood they would all need to compromise if any hoped to achieve their agendas, or some portion of their agendas.   

Now, however, all hope of compromise appears to have been destroyed. When we get to the point of the Speaker of the House tearing up her copy of the State of the Union Address, or Trump refusing to shake the Speaker’s hand, it’s clear both sides detest each other. Unfortunately, in this kind of atmosphere, compromise and co-operation is out the window. Why should this matter to Canadians? Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is our biggest trading partner, our nearest neighbour, our leading financier and the source of much of our entertainment and sports, to name just a few issues. A United States that has moved itself into a “frozen” condition is a nation that cannot perform the necessary steps of self-government, in other words it cannot function, and having our biggest and most important partner powerless is a state that should terrify all Canadians.  

And should Donald Trump win re-election in November 2020, what then? Another four years of endless fighting and destruction? Some Democrats have stated they believe Donald Trump wants to become a dictator. Unfortunately, by “freezing” the U.S. federal government, they may be making an opportunity for the president to do exactly that.

Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.

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