One of my grandmother’s often used warnings to her children was the old saying, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” In other words, don’t be so bent on revenge that you actually end up hurting yourself.
I’m reminded of that wisdom with the news this week. When I say “news,” I’m basically referring to about two or three stories a day each more worrisome than the other and all apparently directed at ending the Trump presidency within the first few months of his term.
If you follow the news, you’ll find that whether or not Trump is either about to be impeached, indicted, or the victim of a coup is pretty much dictated by which channel you’re watching. The opinions are varied and completely at odds with one another—kind of where the entire country is at the moment.
And that’s the problem, and it’s a very serious problem.
Let’s start with the impeachment scenario. First, there is clearly a very angry group of Democrats who can’t bear the thought that Hillary Clinton lost and to (of all people) Donald Trump that they’ve formed a “resistance” (Hillary is, in fact, a member). These people will not rest until Trump is out of office. Clearly, they will stop at nothing to remove him from the White House even if it ultimately means the downfall of the Republic itself. From the behavior of some of these people, it’s clear they would rather be vindicated than live in the United States as it’s been known since its inception.
That’s the worst case scenario for all of us. For them, the ultimate horror will be waking up one day to President Mike Pence who actually is a conservative Republican. From an ideological standpoint, he’s their worst nightmare, but since engaging in revenge usually means that part of the brain is on vacation, they haven’t quite figured that out yet. No, they just want Trump out. Period.
On the other side of the spectrum are those who either still support President Trump or who feel that we’re still very far away from using either of the “I” words (i.e., indictment or impeachment). Those views run the gamut from believing that more needs to be learned to speculating that American intelligence agencies are initiating their own brand of a coup attempt. The latter is an extremely serious charge.
Looking at the big picture it’s pretty clear to see that our young (by historical standards) democracy is facing perhaps its most serious challenge since the Civil War. The biggest difference is that in 1861 the competing views could be found on a map with a fairly straight horizontal line dictating what your views might be based on whether you lived north or south of that line. Today, it’s different. Although there is some geography at play, it’s oftentimes neighbor against neighbor rather than north versus south.
If this keeps up in the manner it’s going, the “resistance” may indeed achieve their goal of overturning the 2016 election, but given all the dynamics at play in the country today they might want to take a step back and ask themselves before heading down this path as vigorously as they have since Election Day whether they are actually falling into the trap of another old adage—“be careful what you wish for.”