If the United States loses its republic, it will not be due to Donald Trump’s megalomania or his white Christian fascist – er nationalist – followers. The blame will fall on cowards within the Republican Party who put their immediate political standing above the good of the nation.

          On Dec. 13, the US House of Representatives voted 221-212 on straight party lines to open an inquiry into the impeachment of President Joe Biden. Nearly a year of probing has produced no credible evidence of any wrongdoing on his part. But, Republicans, goose-stepping in lockstep with Trump, want to smear Biden with an impeachment so that Trump’s own very real perfidies (attempted coup, anyone?) might not look so heinous.

          Of special interest is the mealy-mouthed justification offered by my District 4 Rep. Tom Cole. In an embarrassing display of craven cowardice, Cole said:

          “The vote taken by the House today formalizes the inquiry process and is not a vote on whether to impeach the president. This will provide the House with the strongest legal standing to pursue needed information and enforce subpoenas as the existing impeachment inquiry is continued.”

          Some people might suggest that an impeachment inquiry have at least one fact established to justify the time and money the GOP plans to waste on this fishing expedition instead of doing any real business of governance. (Thanks to GOP fueled chaos in the House, Congress passed 27 bills this year.)

          If they had anything to justify their actions, they would have trumpeted it to the country by now. And even the fascism facilitators at Faux News have chastised them for lacking any evidence.

          So, why is this farce continuing? Because Trump’s lackeys in the House are doing his bidding – and the crew of cowards who know better are afraid to stand up to the party bully, afraid he might oppose them politically.

          When Trump was elected, many sane Republicans got out of politics since they saw their alternatives as either groveling at Trump’s feet (eh, Sen. Cruz?) or defeat by a Trumpista in the primary (ala Rep. Liz Cheney). They proved that their proudly proclaimed principles were mere puffery.

          It is not Trump’s solid 30% fascist base that threatens the republic. The threat comes from scaredy-cat Republicans who let that basest of bases control them. Do you think these silent subversives dreamed as small children of getting into politics so they could abandon their high ideals?

          Rep. Cole (and others among the 222 Republican “aye” votes) chose submission over confrontation. Cole held out the possibility of voting against impeachment if the non-existent evidence requires such honesty. But, his record of spinelessness does not indicate the backbone to support that notion.

          New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, leader of the House Democratic Caucus, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

          “What we saw is that the extreme MAGA Republicans in the House were ordered by an organized crime boss, the twice impeached former president of the United States who has been, we’ve seen, a living breathing one person crime wave. He basically ordered the extreme MAGA Republicans to launch this illegitimate impeachment inquiry as a political hit on President Joe Biden to try to undermine his ability to be reelected.”

          I guess Cole, a former teacher of history and politics, can document the descent of the American Republic into tyranny. He can call his autobiography Profile in Cowardice.

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <scdpok.us> or <facebook.com/SCDPOK/>.)

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