This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. In the hours since, I have broached the topic various friends and family (largely through feverish and emoji-laden text), curious for their thoughts and reactions. All of these individuals — my mother, my boyfriend, my friends — despise Trump (as does anyone I associate with), yet I did not receive a single elated response to the news that baby steps have been taken to possibly remove him from office.
Instead, they all reacted to the news with a shrug and a “meh.” To them, it seemed like another empty gesture, another “one step forward, two steps back” scenario as we all, living under the Trump presidency and the internal combustion of the Democratic party, have come to expect from each day’s headlines.
It’s a cynicism that is perfectly warranted, given the current political climate of the country. Everything is “fake” and all opinions, no matter how destructive to humanity, are valid. The spineless Democratic machine refuses to stand up to clear and impending dangers of all kinds. It’s a sickening mix that alienates the average individual from politics completely.
From a zoomed out perspective, it’s easy to see why an impeachment of Donald Trump (which, by the way, doesn’t even constitute a removal from office) would do nothing to change the deeper power structures of our country that have allowed his rhetoric to thrive in the first place. In a sense, it would be like cutting but a head off of a nationalist-capitalist hydra.
Yet, something about the all-caps declaration of “HOUSE OPENS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY” atop the CNN homepage struck me. Impeachment is such an extreme word in U.S. politics, never used in a concrete sense but as a far off possibility. Now, it is here before us — being led by a Congress that will no doubt stick to proceduralist technicalities in order to maintain the status quo.
Yes, the largest part of me does agree with the cynicism of those around me. Still I can’t help but wonder at the possibilities inherent in an overthrow of power; a leveraging of the moment for deeper purposes, beginning with the possibility emerging before us.