Most modern-day Americans are too small-minded to see the big picture. For instance, they can’t see the ulterior motives beneath the surface of Congress’s current impeachment inquiry. Instead, your average American naively presumes that it’s a mere matter of political partisanship. Little does he or she know that it is really a naked power grab that is imperiling the future of our representative republic.
We’ve all heard the following well-worn axioms about history. First, “History repeats itself.” Second, “They who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Let’s put these well-known axioms to the test and see if both are being proven true by present-day affairs.
In 1868, the United States Congress voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson. Johnson, Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President, was propelled into the presidency when John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger of his assassin’s pistol at Ford’s Theater on the evening of April 14, 1865. Thrust into the presidency to preside over a divided nation, still dripping with the blood of more than 600,000 Civil War casualties and steeped in the deep hatred that only such bloodshed can breed, Johnson’s task was as unenviable as any in the annals of American history.
Determined to reconcile North and South, as President Lincoln had envisioned, Johnson was thwarted at every turn by a Congress controlled by northern politicians who were not only hellbent on revenge against the South, but also on assuring themselves of permanent rule over all their political opponents.
To assure themselves of an upper hand over the president, Congress took several deliberate steps to assure themselves of staying one step ahead of Johnson. For instance, they refused to seat duly elected Southern representatives whom they had not personally approved by congressional pardons. Of course, this meant that the South went largely unrepresented and that Congress wielded unchecked control over most of the South.
In order to safeguard such despotism over the South from being struck down as unconstitutional, Congress denied Johnson’s lone nominee to the Supreme Court. They also restructured the Court, reducing the required number of Justices. This was clearly an overt act perpetrated by Congress to prevent the president from proposing any additional Supreme Court nominees.
Another step of subterfuge Congress took against President Johnson, who they truly despised and deplored, was to sprinkle spies throughout Johnson’s Administration, such as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. In fact, it was this nineteenth century version of “Spygate” that handed Congress the fonder it had long sought to light the fire under the bier of Johnson’s presidency.
Although Congress had incessantly proposed impeachment, their flimsy drummed-up charges against President Johnson were easily seen through as much ado about nothing. However, they did have an ace up their sleeve —The Tenure of Office Act. This legislation, which was enacted over Johnson’s veto and later struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, prevented the president from controlling his own cabinet. It also protected Congress’s spies from being dismissed by the president from his administration.
On February 21, 1868, despite The Tenure of Office Act, President Johnson fired his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, who he had longed suspected of undermining his administration. Johnson believed that Stanton’s dismissal would result in the Supreme Court overturning Congress’s unconstitutional Tenure of Office Act. However, three days later, Congress voted to impeach Johnson over his dismissal of Stanton. Although the Supreme Court did eventually overturn the Tenure of Office Act, as I previously noted and President Johnson firmly believed, Congress rushed to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors quicker than the High Court could dawn its black robes or add The Tenure of Office Act to its docket.
Impetuously impeached by Congress, Johnson’s presidency now hung by a thin thread. Would he be convicted by the Senate and removed from office or acquitted and allowed to serve out his term? The Senate vote ultimately fell one vote shy of the two-thirds majority required to convict Johnson and remove him from office. It was Kansas Senator Edmund G. Ross’ vote for acquittal that saved Johnson’s presidency, as well as us from establishing a dangerous precedent that would have allowed all future presidents to be easily removed from office over trivial reasons drummed up by a hostile Congress under the control of presidential antagonists.
If you fast forward this incredible tale from the past to the present, you can’t help but see the similarities of what once happened to Andrew Johnson and what is now happening to Donald Trump. For instance, Johnson presided over a nation that had been ravaged by Civil War, and was consequently deeply divided over deep-seated hatreds. While Donald Trump does not preside over a nation ravaged by Civil War, he does preside over a deeply divided nation at risk of Civil War over the deep-seated hatreds that are being fanned into white-hot flames by today’s identity politics, which pit one American against another.
Like Andrew Johnson, Trump is also thwarted at every turn in his presidency by a Congress under the control of his political enemies, who truly despise and deplore him. These congressional foes of the president will stop at nothing and stoop to anything to undermine Trump’s presidency and to remove him from office. They too seek dictatorial powers over their political opponents, to block any Supreme Court nominee they’ve not personally handpicked to rubber stamp their radical agenda, and to safeguard their deep state spies with whom they are feverishly working to oust the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Again, as with Andrew Johnson, today’s Congress is obsessed with impeaching the president, so much so that they incessantly drum-up one flimsy charge after another, all of which are easily seen through as much ado about nothing. Yet, they too have an ace up their sleeve, their safeguarded deep state saboteurs sprinkled throughout the Trump Administration.
These safeguarded saboteurs leak classified information to the press in hopes that today’s manipulative mainstream media can masterfully use it to poison the minds of the American public against its president. They also work covertly wth their Democratic coconspirators to undermine the president’s every objective and to expectantly and eventually impeach him from office. Remember, the impeachable offense for which Congress impeached President Andrew Johnson was his attempt to rid his administration of one of Congress’s secret saboteurs. Interestingly, the “smoking gun” for which today’s Congress is now expeditiously proceeding with its impeachment of President Trump has been handed to them by one of their secret saboteurs; who they safeguard from any accountability by wrapping in the unassailable shroud of a whistleblower.
As Congress rushed to impeach President Johnson before the Supreme Court could rule on the legitimacy of Congress’s impeachment charges, today’s Congress is rushing to impeach President Trump before its impeachment charges are proven lawful in court or legitimate by corroborating evidence. Make no mistake about it; this rush to impeach the president over charges that are neither proven lawful nor truthful is every bit as imperiling to the future of our representative republic as ever before. It sets a dangerous precedent, by which a duly elected president can be impeached over any flimsy and false allegation conjured up by an adversarial Congress.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you should seriously ask yourself whether or not you want the United States Congress to usurp veto power over the polling place and ballot box. Is it okay with you if congressional nemeses of all future presidents nullify the voices and votes of the American people by impeaching duly elected presidents over nothing more than made up high crimes and misdemeanors? If such a thing is winked at in our day, then, we’re well on our way to turning our representative republic into a banana republic over which tinpot muck-rakes have gain the mastery. Such a thing will surely prove to be the death of our democratic form of government and the dawning of a dictatorship.
It does appear that history is repeating itself and we are doomed to repeat it, having failed to learn from it. Once again, our representative republic is hanging by a thread.