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National drama: an opportunity

Jackie Gingrich Cushman on

With the public phase of the House of Representatives' impeachment hearings beginning this week, the national drama meter is going to accelerate exponentially.

Unfortunately, the current news structure (more opinion than news), combined with social media and the fact that few people have friends on the other side of the aisle, will lead to a rapid escalation of emotion and ranting.

It's easy to get caught up in the emotion, drama and outrage of a national political drama, but I urge you to watch it with a different perspective. Politics is part theatre, but that does not mean you have to be drawn into it on a consistent basis. How should we approach this if we are a resilient country?

According to Dr. Robert Brooks and Dr. Sam Goldstein in "Raising Resilient Children," the markers of resilience are "optimism, ownership and a sense of control." This is exactly opposite of what many people feel today about our political environment. We often feel depressed and shut out, as though we are spinning out of control.

Perhaps it would help to take a step back to get a broader view. The U.S. Constitution laid out the process for impeachment.

Article 2, Section 4 declares, "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." The Constitution offers no clear definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors."

 

We have been through this twice before. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House of Representatives. Both presidents survived the Senate trial and stayed in office. Yes, there was turmoil in the political structure of the country, but we survived.

In the Clinton impeachment, the House voted in favor of proceeding with the process on Oct. 8, 1998, with a vote of 258 to 176. Those who voted in favor included 31 Democrats and 227 Republicans.

Last month, on Halloween, the House voted on the procedures to move forward on impeachment against President Donald Trump. The voted ended with 232 approving and 196 against. Unlike the 1998 vote, no member of the minority party voted in favor. It passed with only Democratic votes. All Republicans voted against the passage, with two Democrats joining them.

This time is much more partisan.

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