I’ve noticed that many of the articles and opinion columns in the mainstream media about impeaching Trump include the idea that now he must bear the permanent mark of having been one of the few presidents in our history who have been impeached (see this as well as this, for example). In other words, they feel that impeachment causes Trump to wear a shameful and symbolic scarlet “I” for all time.

But I wonder whether it has ever occurred to them that the badge he’s wearing might look to a lot of people – even, perhaps, including historians of the future – like a scarlet “M” for “made into a martyr”?

If you impeach someone for trivial reasons or based on lies (or both), why would that make the impeached person look bad? Why not the accuser?

After all, hadn’t you better make sure that your accusations appear to be sound? Framing someone or over-reacting to something that person has done can make you seem hysterical, mendacious, scheming, histrionic, fake. And piously intoning how sad and reluctant you are as you do it, when it seems that you are actually joyful, doesn’t make you look good and your target look bad, either.

George Burns once said, “If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.” Well, the Democrats can’t fake sincerity, and I don’t think they’re got it made.

This particular impulse for impeachment is similar to the one stated by Robert de Niro, who recently said the following in a conversation with Michael Moore:

“It would feel kind of good to punch [Trump]. Not hurt him. Just punch him in the face,” said Moore. “Just cathartic.”

De Niro responded, “I’d like to see a bag of sh** right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that, and let the picture go all over the world. And that would be the most humiliating thing.”

He added, “He needs to be humiliated. He needs to be confronted, and he needs to be humiliated by whoever his political opponent is.”

De Niro explained that he would like to see the 2020 Democratic candidate tear Trump down, even if it’s not in an “obviously physical way.”

“The people have to see that. For him to be humiliated,” De Niro said.

Yes, we get it: you want to see Trump humiliated. What a primitive impulse De Niro is describing here: a bag of excrement in the face. Why would an observer think less of Trump and more of De Niro and/or the thugs carrying out such a wish? Or even expressing such a wish?

If public humiliation is indeed a large part of the impetus behind the drive to vote to impeach Trump, so far most of the public doesn’t appear to be seeing it as much of a humiliation for him. Perhaps the left thinks that if they say often enough that Trump is wearing a badge of shame as a result of their impeachment vote, it will come true. Meanwhile, impeachment will have to serve as a sort of revenge fantasy for them.

[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]


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