A month before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, moves were already being orchestrated to impeach him from office. A year has passed but the talks of impeachment have not subsided.
With each passing day, it seems impeachment — not resignation, as Trump is notoriously too proud to go down without a fight — is lurking behind the corner. However, is this something we should hope for? Is the impeachment of Donald Trump the necessary shake to wake us from this nightmarish year?
Quite frankly, no.
Trump has become a mark. He is the target, the figurehead, that needs to be removed in order for the U.S. to “get back on track.” He has been characterized as the poison that has tainted the great blood of our nation, but is he really?
When was this nation ever pure? Never.
At no point in time has the United States of America been worthy of the propagated greatness people so foolishly bestow upon it. Theft, genocide, colonization, slavery, discrimination, imperialism, and cruel capitalism are the legacies of this country, which continue to reverberate throughout our society and our institutions to this very day. There are systems at work, which cannot be rooted out as easily and as simply as introducing articles of impeachment.
It is easy to name one, tangible person as the boogeyman. It is even easier to claim that all is right again in the world when you oust that boogeyman. However, it takes real, exhausting work to recognize that one person, one law, one country isn’t the cause of what is so terribly wrong about the world.
When Trump is gone — whether that be seven days from now, seven months, or seven years —those systems will still remain. If we allow ourselves to see Trump as the problem, then we have already failed. He is not the problem, he is the consequence. He is the symptom of a disease so sneaky, so sinister, that an unfortunate majority of people are unaware of its mere existence, let alone its effects.
Is this country ready to put in the work? Or, more appropriately, are white people willing to put in that necessary work? Let us never forget who voted for Trump: 63% of white men and 54% of white women. People of color overwhelming voted against him.
Will these people see Trump’s demise as a job well done? History tells us that is very likely. After all, the Civil Rights Act “ended” racism and legalizing same-sex marriage “ended” homophobia. So, when this country attempts to wash its hand clean of its mistake, can we be assured that we won’t simply find another one just like him? Someone who shares the same detrimental values and agenda, but, this time, knows how to play both the public and political game? Someone, for instance, like Mike Pence?
Trump’s Vice President is playing the long game, patiently waiting in the shadow of his boss, to ascend — officially. And, with the national jubilation that will surely follow Trump’s exit, he will do so with ease, welcomed with open arms by many, the GOP included. People will beam and they will gush, “at least he’s not Trump!”
From the public memory will fade the fact that Pence is a Christian supremacist. His own 2016 presidential bid was tanked by the backlash of his “religious freedom” bill during his time as governor of Indiana.
Will there be marches against the man that played a key role in getting Neil Gorsuch nominated to the Supreme Court? Will there be protests against the man that so desperately wants Planned Parenthood defunded? Or, will there be too much relief that Trump is gone, and that we finally made America great again?
Removing Trump from office will be the end as we know it, not the fresh start so many seem to be naively propagating, as another abysmal man will take his place, and there will be fanfare as he swears his oath. Instead of fear and anger, there will be a sigh of relief and pats on the back.
As terrible, perverted, racist, bigoted, and cruel as Trump is, he is nothing compared to the systems that have allowed for his succession to the highest office in the land. He is nothing compared to institutional racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia. He is nothing compared to the intrinsic inequality and oppression upon which this stolen land was founded. Do not settle for impeachment. Do not settle for Pence. Do not settle for anything less than complete and total liberation for all.