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Putting ‘Country Above Party’ Works Both Ways


Throughout Donald Trump’s short but eventful presidency, Democrats have been imploring Republicans to show loyalty for country over party.

If you believe our bumbling president’s hiring of the likes of Paul Manafort or Mike Flynn, the latter of whom was apparently under investigation when he joined the administration, reflects abysmal judgement, I’m with you. If you believe those decisions could turn out to be scandals, it’s difficult for me to disagree. If you believe Trump’s admiration for authoritarians in Russia undermines our standing in the world, I’m there, as well.

Then again, recklessly throwing around words like “impeachable” and “treason” before the evidence exists to level those consequential charges also puts country above party. Hysteria also erode trust in our institutions for nothing more than political gain.

You will, for instance, have to read six paragraphs into Reuters’ recent highly shared scoop—“Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians – sources”—to learn that “people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far.” Talk about burying your lead.

For those keeping score, despite ceaseless leaking from the intelligence community, there really has been no evidence offered so far by anyone to prove “collusion” between Trump officials and Russia to “hack the election.” If that day ever comes, I will write a column in favor of impeachment. Until that day, I’m certain folks with giant platforms like David Gregory will continue claiming that the Russians “hacked the election”—an absurd yet oft-used phrase that has convinced millions of Americans that another country has abducted their votes, government, and free will.

Convincing your gullible flock that we live in a republic easily annexed by a rickety former superpower is not putting your country above your party. To see the world from this prism, Time magazine visualizes the Kremlinizing of White House. The magazine’s newest cover merges St. Basil’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral with the White House (the substance of the feature doesn’t even really reflect the cover).

One wonders what the reaction would be if a major magazine had run a cover of the White House conflated into an Iranian mosque while Barack Obama was sending pallets of cash to the Islamic Republic? Of course, that cover would have been hysterical—and not in a funny way. Simply because the former president believed that appeasing the Iranians was in the strategic interests of the United States doesn’t make him treasonous, just a terrible president. Not the first, or last.

Does putting your country above party mean never being skeptical of the intentions of an intelligence community—one that has lied to the American people repeatedly over the years—that is trying to overturn an election?

There are other issues to investigate, such as potential obstruction of justice. We’ll have to wait and see what special counsel Robert Mueller finds. Well, some of us will wait. According to McClatchy, Democrats expected to poll-test the public’s views on impeachment, “trying to acquire hard data about an issue that until now has not been seriously analyzed.” If the polling shows that impeachment is a political loser, will Democrats abandon their plans for impeachment and put party above country?

Now, of course, I realize there is no room for half measures in this political environment. You must be wholly, on every topic, every day, 100 percent convinced that Donald Trump is guilty of every act floated by every anonymous source in every publication, or you will be accused of abetting the coup against the American people.

But it’s worth pointing out that Democrats, at least rank and file liberals, seem to have convinced themselves that this saga ends with articles of impeachment and removal. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be right. But it’s not concern-trolling to point out that having this level of certitude about an outcome has the potential to be self-destructive for the country.