The impeachment case against President Trump raises fundamental civics questions, and the answers we as a people render will color the rest of our lives.

Will it henceforth be U.S. policy that presidents may enlist foreign nations to investigate U.S. citizens, leveraging taxpayer money for private presidential benefit or even the benefit of enemy states? Is it to be a proclaimed value from now on that Americans’ national interests take a back seat to the personal fortunes of current officeholders? That is the governance explicitly proffered by Trump’s defenders, so we need an explicit discussion of it.

Some argue that Russia is not a hostile power. Some Trump supporters have donned T-shirts saying it’s better to be Russian than a Democrat. Some have shown placards declaring “Thank You Putin!” Many regard the KGB strongman as a champion of Christendom. So, is the U.S. going to embrace Putinism and invite it in? That’s another question worth raising and answering directly.

Yet another pertinent matter is whether it is actually true, as the president’s legal team would have it, that Trump could walk down the street shooting people and nothing could be done about it while he is in office. I leave it to the reader to name what kind of government those lawyers are proposing to us. Whether they ultimately will have their way in defining our nation, the citizenry must decide.

Impeachment isn’t about who the whistleblower is, or which party you’ve spent your adult life defending. It’s about what kind of society we are going to stand for — a nation of laws, or a mob state infested with venal thugs top to bottom, while better people watch, defeated? Each of us will be remembered the rest of our days for the civics we reveal in ourselves today.

W.C. Nelson


Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.

Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.