In 1787, the American Constitutional Convention came to be. George Washington was elected to be its chairman and he sat in a very beautiful chair. On the back of the chair, a sun was carved. Very few people took notice of the chair but Benjamin Franklin was one of them. At this point, he was 81 and within this motley group, Mr. Franklin was easily the most widely accomplished delegate. John Adams, while in Paris, noted that Mr. Franklin’s had quite a good reputation in Europe. In Mr. Adams own words, Benjamin Franklin was “more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire, and his character more beloved and esteemed than any or all of them.”
While, at this point in his life, Benjamin Franklin wasn’t physical strong and all of his speeches were read by a colleague, Franklin attended most of the sessions and was troubled by debates and discussions on the issue of the draft Constitution. Yet, on the final day, as the last delegates were signing the document, Franklin look at the sun and said: “I have often … in the course of the session … looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun.”
While, we thank James Madison for overhearing those words, I am sure that Franklin is spinning in his grave now. For the election of Donald Trump has put the American Republic into peril. When Donald Trump was elected, I noted that President Trump would have to be impeached quite early in his first term. This was an adamant belief which I debated and argued for. If I am being honest, I thought that Republicans would have accomplished that nasty deed by now.
Now let me be clear, I didn’t think that Republicans would act out of morally superiority or uprightness. Nor did I think that they would act because of criminal wrongdoing or charges. For, my knowledge of partisanship has taught me that parties’ tend to support their own in times of scandal or trouble. Over the last three decades, parties have been able to overcome the loss of honour that comes with scandals. Party members, in a number of countries, have figured out that if they get through the storm of scandal, they will be off into safer waters. Party members have come to the point where they are willing to sacrifice the long term brand or health of the party for the short term political gain of survival. Whether it be the American Democratic or Republican Parties; or the Canadian tinged Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic or Green Parties, this calculus has become pretty engrained.
However, with that being said, I thought that Republicans would impeach President Donald Trump. For, in my opinion, Donald Trump always seemed a bit out of his depth. He didn’t understand how government worked; and, as a result, would likely screw up the American Way of Life. Thus in impeaching Donald Trump, Vice President Pence would become President. In impeaching Donald Trump, Republicans would have a President who knew how to inhabit the office and the title. While, I disagree with Vice President Pence on most things, one can see that a President Pence would not rip trade deals like NAFTA. A President Pence would value NATO and its allies. Germany, France and the UK would no longer move away from the United States but would take time to strength their alliance.
A President Pence would rail against but ultimately accept the Iran Nuclear deal. A President Pence would not try to up-end the world order and would accept the responsibilities of the United States as being the sole superpower on this planet. A President Pence would be accepted in Istanbul, London, Beijing, Moscow, Ottawa and Cape Town. The World would not only accept but embrace such a change. For, a Pence Presidency would bring stability and predictable change.
Now, I grant that most Americans would need more than this because most of them rarely understand the world beyond their borders. However, the US Intelligentsia do understand. From Corporate America to Academia to the Military, from City Halls and State Legislatures to the three wings of the American Federal Government – the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches – the American Intelligentsia understands the problems that the Trump Administration has created.
In my mind, the impeachment and removal from office of President Donald Trump would happen because these people would finally say enough is enough and want to have proper governance again. No longer would Americans be subjected to pointless lessoning sessions with the President. No longer would Americans have to worry about a President who was potentially in league with their enemies or corrupt or incompetent or incapable of executing the office. No longer would the US be driven to the brink to pass any small piece of legislation. Americans would have a person, in Pence, who was capable of understanding how to govern.
I honestly anticipated that the Congress would get its act together and save their Republic. But I was wrong. It turns out Partisanship is such a strong emotion, that America might be destroyed before its politicians have the honour or patriotism to save it. It is such a shame and maybe Benjamin Franklin was wrong. Maybe the sun was setting. It was just a slow moving sun.