Waiting Is for White People: The Privilege of Not Impeaching Trump

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

If there was one thing about white people I have ever envied, it is their faith.

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White people really believe in the idea of America. They trust that they live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. They have the privilege of using the “Star-Spangled Banner” as a deflector shield, knowing it will envelop them in the loving embrace of freedom and protect them from injustice. It is why they find it inconceivable that anyone would burn a flag or kneel during their beloved lullaby of a national anthem. It must be a wonderful thing to believe in America.

As a black man, I cannot have faith in America.

It is not that I am unpatriotic, it is just that I have never borne witness to liberty and justice for all. I have scoured history books for evidence that this country presumes that all men are created equal and, finding none, can only conclude that for me, believing in America is a foolish venture.

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But again, I am black.

So when CBS News and other outlets began reporting that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have decided not to push for a Donald Trump impeachment, it was not a surprise. Pelosi “urged caution” on impeachment talks while presidential candidate and noted white man Sen. Bernie Sanders said at a CNN town hall on Monday: “At the end of the day, what is most important to me is to see that Donald Trump is not re-elected president.”

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Democratic leaders contend, without a shred of evidence, that impeachment proceedings could backfire and help Trump become president by dividing the nation with a partisan political process, thereby coalescing Trump’s supporters. Dems reason that voters should have the opportunity to decide Trump’s fate during the 2020 election. They advise their constituents to bide their time and wait for the American people to make their voices heard in the ballot box.

How excellent it must feel to be exempt from the whims of an addlebrained white supremacist with unchecked power who repeatedly points a rifle loaded with racist policies at your head! It is easy to call for patience when your children are not being ripped from your arms. White people can stand to ruminate on their course of action as the president packs the courts with far-right judges who have displayed anti-black animus both anecdotally and statistically. It does not hurt white people to delay or even deny justice while Trump dismantles affirmative action, reverses rules on discrimination, destroys health care, promotes gentrification, champions police brutality and downplays the rise of white supremacist hate groups.

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Yes, waiting is for white people.

To be fair, there are many Democratic supporters who insist that the party’s strategy should be to work towards winning the next election, which would thereby remove Trump from office. They fear the backlash that might come from impeachment proceedings would enable Trump. There are three problems with this theory:

  1. It assumes that the two goals are mutually exclusive. It is possible to hold an impeachment trial and win elections. Laying out Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors would not only show his malfeasances, but Republican politicians and voters could no longer turn a blind eye to Trump’s unprecedented misconduct.
  2. Not impeaching Trump is unconstitutional. Considering the ample evidence included in the Mueller report, if Trump cannot be impeached, then no president is worthy of impeachment. If he isn’t, then we might as well remove that clause from the Constitution and make presidents immune from all legal proceedings.
  3. It absolves them of the responsibility for which they are elected. The congressional oath of office reads: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...” Not a single mention of using elections to determine whether a president is fit from office. Do your fucking job.
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We are supposed to believe that the Democratic presidential candidates will fight tooth and nail for wage equality, reparations, equal education and black lives. Yet, those same politicians are content with sitting on their hands and abdicating their responsibility to remove a Nazi-sympathizing, dunderheaded dictator wannabe as the leader of the free world. This is either callousness or wanton disregard, otherwise known as not giving a fuck.

Still, the ultimate privilege in the Democrats’ strategy is their belief in the American democracy. While the Mueller report and various news outlets may have shed light on the details of Donald Trump’s scoundrelry, none of it is new or surprising. White America knew Trump was a racist, tax-avoiding, malicious, sexist scofflaw long before November 8, 2016. Yet, the vast majority of white people still voted for him.

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And it’s not as if Democrats aren’t fully aware that black and Hispanic voters are targeted by officials who use voter-suppression tactics to win elections. It’s not like Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know that Republican legislatures are gerrymandering state maps to reduce the impact of non-white voters. Bernie Sanders understands that Trump’s campaign strategy is using race to mobilize white voters. If there was any process in this entire constitutional democracy that is rooted in the supremacy of whiteness, it is the Electoral College.

The only logical conclusion one can reach is that either these politicians don’t care because they are immune from Donald Trump’s racism, or that they are more concerned with gaining political power than they are with the oaths, racism and non-white people in general.

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Or maybe they just have faith in America. However, that is a luxury that, as a black man, I cannot afford. I do not believe that white voters will suddenly realize the error of their ways and elect someone other than Donald Trump. I have read the history books. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Martin Luther King Jr. even said:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed...For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

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I wish I had the privilege of believing in America.

If I did, I might even agree that Congress should not pursue impeachment. If someone could show me an iota of evidence that white America was willing to stand up for justice, fight racism or vote for anything other than its own self-interest, I’d love to see it. Don’t worry...

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I’ll wait.

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About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.