Congress Ought to Impeach, but Partisanship Only Makes Things Worse | Opinion

As the House moves on its article of impeachment on President Donald Trump as the solution to all that ails our nation, there remains a tremendously consequential outstanding question still begging for clarification, one that can bring the importance and utility of this action into focus.

Why should we be doing this?

Is it because now must be the moment when we rise above naked politics? Can we, in the shadows of the Capitol riots, come together in response to Trump's incitement, introducing costs to ensure nothing like it ever happens again? Or do we, as a country, feel a need to engage in one more political exercise? Are we really lacking, at this point in time, the sort of bored partisan posturing which has come to characterize our politics for as long as any of us can remember?

It should not be that difficult to get everyone to agree on the basic underlying principles here. Storming the Capitol is bad. Inciting people to do it and refusing to call them off is bad. Pressuring the vice president to hand you reelection out of thin air is bad. Doubling down on the idea that you did nothing wrong is bad.

Most Americans should be able to agree on these statements. There is no legitimate reason that our opinions on them need to be determined by politics' prism.

Unless we make it that way.

Impeachment is an inherently political act, and it will always remain that way. But still, if we cannot all get together behind the idea of defending our democratic process as a fundamental area of shared understanding, it would seem to signal that the problems we have are infinitely larger than Donald Trump and the people who thought they would get him a second term by force.

Maybe they are. As we watch this process play itself out, more and more evidence mounts suggesting that our political leaders either do not care about healing our divisions or—perhaps more charitably—they think we've already crossed the Rubicon.

While it is certainly easy to point fingers at Republicans who hem and haw over President Trump's culpability, there is no way to pin refusal to accept the gravity of the moment entirely on them. How the Left is approaching this moment is incredibly revealing as well.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (C) heads to the House Chamber for the last vote of the day at the U.S. Capitol on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Today the House of Representatives plans to vote on Rep. Jamie Raskin's (D-MD) resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, removing President Trump from office. On Wednesday, House Democrats plan on voting on articles of impeachment. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

What does it tell you about how seriously the Left is taking this moment that it cannot advance impeachment without injecting poison-pill politics into the process? Every step of the way, Democratic leadership insists on widening the divide, determined to make it harder and harder for Republicans to come on board.

From the determined and dishonest efforts to tie every Republican senator who has ever inveighed against the current state of election security to the rioters; to the meaningless act of "asking" Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment (and voting on a resolution to do so despite his public response that he does not have the constitutional authority); to not attempting to bring any House Republicans on board as impeachment managers, every step has exposed what Democrats believe the impeachment process is really about.

Perhaps nothing highlights this partisanship more than the fact that, of the 222 Democrats in the House, Pelosi chose a lead manager who himself objected to the certification of the 2016 electoral result by lodging the very same objection which Democrats now say is basis for expulsion from the Senate.

There is no more charitable read of Pelosi's decision. This impeachment is not about making sure that the sort of thing which happened last Wednesday never happens again. It is about exploiting the riots for maximum political benefit.

In a perverse—but not unexpected—way, the Democrats are behaving exactly like Trump. They, too, are exploiting the anger of the rioters for political gain. The only difference is that they are using the veneer of respectability to do it.

The absolute symmetry of our politics reveals itself once again. On the one hand, you have Trump and the far right, who have demonstrated the profound inability to take a loss. On the other, you find the Democrats and the far left, showing that they cannot take a win.

Even if you believe, as I do, that Congress ought to remove Trump over his actions last week, can you fault Republicans for not wanting to be a part of this specific process?

It has been said that one of the defining aspects of our politics is that we no longer know how to disagree civilly. But the real problem is the idea that we no longer have the capability to agree about anything. Our political elites seem incapable of thinking and acting outside the manufactured divisions of partisan politics, ignoring their actions' real-world consequences.

And that is a much bigger problem than the one impeachment seeks to solve.

Eli Steinberg lives in New Jersey with his wife and five children. They are not responsible for his opinions, which he has been putting into words over the last decade, and which have been published across Jewish and general media. You can tweet the hottest of your takes at him @HaMeturgeman.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.