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Copy of the Articles of Impeachment, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Washington. House Democrats announced they are pushing ahead with two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - charging he corrupted the U.S. election process and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump.

Now, the same politicians that impeached Trump should make an even bolder statement.

Forgive him.

The U.S. House of Representatives should now pass articles of forgiveness against President Trump.

Impeachment has done its job; it is a hammer, a rebuke, a writ of condemnation.

And, it is justified.

Yet, these days, there are too many hammers, too many rebukes. Impeachment lost whatever purity it had, co-opted into this larger political war, like a soldier picking up a shovel, but using it to kill.

Democrats? Let's be honest. We've had impeachment lust since the election. At least, I have. Something in our left-leaning hearts seems to hate Trump more than child poverty or gun violence. Why?

Republicans? Please. Had Barack Obama phoned Ukraine, you would be howling with rage. (Had Obama done one iota of what Trump's done, you would be howling with rage.)

Your loud silence — refusing to criticize Trump's sins — suggests a complicity in all this president erodes: basic decency, democratic trust, love of others.

Days ago, Christianity Today spoke out: we cannot support this man any longer.

"Remember who you are and whom you serve," the editorial declares. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump's immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency."

Yet Democrats, in their unending condemnation, have made no room for vulnerable Republicans to step forward and admit Trump's flaws.

Forgiveness changes that.

Forgiveness would completely interrupt the Republican-Democrat war.

Forgiveness would create a new center. Revenge builds nothing. Forgiveness offers a new starting point, articulating not defeat as the stated goal, but reconciliation.

Desperate times call for wise measures.

Forgiveness is among the wisest.

But not cheap forgiveness.

Trump was wrong — politically, morally — to solicit help from a foreign country; forgiveness does not wash that away into pretend-land. Nor would articles of forgiveness blanketly absolve Trump from his other transgressions.

Instead, it focuses only on the Ukrainian phone call.

Why?

Doing so would require Washington Democrats to look in the mirror.

The things we condemn in Trump can be present in us, as well.

Quid pro quo?

The road to Washington is paved with quid pro quo relationships.

Lobbying. Donors. Fundraising dinners. Corporate influence.

Unquestionably, the Ukrainian call was wrong. It was also wrong for Hunter Biden to join the Burisma Holdings board. Wrong for the Clintons to use their foundation for personal gain. Wrong for the entrenched Washington system to give undue influence to so much millionaire power.

The only difference is in degrees.

"When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies," Martin Luther King Jr. preached. "When we look beneath the surface, beneath the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light."

I am aware of how foolish these words may sound. How arrogant. I write this situated on the highest ladders of American privilege: white, straight, male, monied. Trump has wounded me the least of all Americans.

Nor is this a sloppy, feel-good request for some folks to once again turn another cheek, placing more burden on already burdened shoulders.

But you tell me:

How does all this end?

How do we recover the meagerest amounts of harmony and political loving kindness?

"This country is in bad shape, and it's going to take a lot more than a political strategy to fix it," a friend named Trey wrote recently.

He's a teenager. And a conservative. And he's fed up.

"It's time to wake up," he said. "Stop trying to make Republicans or Democrats out to be the good guys. Both sides have major issues. My change in heart doesn't mean I'm a Democrat. I'm not. What it means is that I no longer want to argue with a Democrat and try to make him or her look stupid. It means I can accept that conservatives are anything but perfect. I can have productive conversations with people who believe differently than me."

We are days away from the holiest time of the year: Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa — a four-day stretch of calendar that reminds us of what we cannot forget: temples are restored. Mangers change history. People find freedom.

It is time to ask ourselves:

As a nation, are we being asked to learn a political lesson?

Or a spiritual one?

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David Cook

David Cook writes a Sunday column and can be reached at dcook@timesfreepress.com.

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