Professors talk impeachment at constitutional panel

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 6:03 PM

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, professors from the political science department ran a panel discussion about the topic of United States President Donald Trump and impeachment. As it was Constitution Day, there was discussion of whether Trump’s unconventional approach to government has violated any laws that would subject him to impeachment.

The panel began at 7:00 p.m. and each speaker was given 10 minutes to present his or her ideas. After, there was Q&A session. The speakers were Dr. Gerry Gendlin, Dr. James Fisher, Dr. Rhonda Matthews and Dr. Bridget Jeffery with Dr. Stephen Sullivan of the English and Philosophy Department moderating.

Gendlin presented first, and discussed what it would be like if Trump were impeached and vice-president Mike Pence were to take his place. Essentially, he said, it would be very bad for liberals to support impeaching president Trump, as Pence is extremely conservative. Rather, it should be very conservative people who would want to oust Trump in order to achieve a more conservative agenda, as Trump supports populism.

The next discussion, led by Fisher, was on impeachment and the 25th Amendment. He first briefed that impeachment was unlikely to happen at this point. Trump must only be removed in an extreme circumstance, and the political climate does not allow for that at the moment. The grounds of impeachment included constitutional crisis behaviors, using power to avoid legal accountability, pardoning the use of presidential funds and the undermining of constitutional values.

“It’s a temptation to remove him, but I think we should resist that temptation,” explained Fisher. He claimed that it would just be an “emotionally satisfying shortcut while the underlying political culture remains the same.” Fisher noted perhaps one of the most dangerous things about Trump is his relative and post-modern style of discourse. By claiming that everything is “Fake News,” it creates complication and distrust in the media sphere, according to Fisher.

Mathews brought a powerpoint presentation outlining fascism and the ways Trump and his cabinet’s actions may be showing symptoms of fascism. She referenced Dr. Lawrence Britt’s “Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism” and gave examples for most of the points. Characteristics ranged from supremacy of military, suppression of labor power and fraudulent elections.

The last panel speaker was Jeffery speaking about Trump and the First Amendment. Trump has a complicated relationship with the First Amendment. Fisher mentioned that while Trump loves to take advantage of the right to express himself often, he also wants to look into libel laws, and try to disenfranchise those who criticize him. He, according to Fisher, believes that the press has too much freedom under the First Amendment. He continued, stating that this develops the toxic fake news that is only a glimpse or complete mirage of the real story. Ultimately, this once again contributes to the problems in our democratic discourse, as also mentioned by Fisher.

Livia Homerski can be reached at 

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