We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in American history—the kind of moment that forces us to take stock of our moral positions and the strength of those convictions. In this moment, I’m convinced we must support the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that’s being led by the US House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. While the American Humanist Association remains a non-partisan organization, we can work to promote our values in the public square, letting our voice be heard on this critical question. That’s exactly what the best of this nation calls for and what humanity itself calls for at this time.
Our country’s history is one marked by unequal power and persistent favoring of some Americans at the expense of others. We make several steps forward only to see regressive values become entrenched and progress toward balancing power backslide. But we push forward, with more enthusiasm and better strategy each time in order to build a nation and a democracy that works for all. Many of Trump’s actions stand in direct opposition to that very principle of American progress. His approaches that are antithetical to humanism abound—from his disregard for the rights of those facing discrimination in our society to his personal financial corruption. Evidence mounts that his primary aim is to collect power and to abuse it for his own benefit. It’s apparent that Trump refuses to uphold the very oath he swore before the world. He is not prioritizing preservation, protection, or defense of the Constitution of the United States. This cannot stand unchallenged.
Humanists have long stood up against fascism and unbridled power, embracing democracy in many ways. Whether we’re advocating for fair representation, equal access to voting, or campaign finance reform, we seek a government that works for all, not for one. Humanism and Its Aspirations, the most recent iteration of our guiding document, promises that “We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process.” That civic duty to participate loses its value when the democratic process itself is corrupted beyond recognition.
When Donald Trump was elected to office, he swore to the American people that he would work for the benefit of this country, and he is subject to the full extent of our democratic process, up to and including impeachment. All who care about the basic tenets of this country must work to protect the integrity of the investigation—and in doing so we must overcome partisanship. To this issue, the co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) said, members of Congress “achieved this remarkable level of unity and consensus to the point that even some Republicans seem to be seriously and soberly considering the gravity of this.”
This joining of allies in the fight for our democracy cannot be left to those in the halls of Congress. Some Christian and Jewish allies have already come together to condemn this attack on America’s foundations, and we invite all others, be they Muslims, Mormons, or Sikhs, be they atheists, agnostics, or freethinkers, to join us. There is unity in the calls for “the light of truth, honesty, and transparency” to shine upon the dark in the People’s House. There is unity in the calls for each and every person, especially our leaders, “to conduct ourselves responsibly and courageously in the service of the greater public good and our democracy.”
The dismissal of American democracy by a would-be dictator isn’t just a terror for those of us within US borders. A United States led by an unchecked despot would be a danger to humanity. With the power of the Executive Office of the President arguably at a high point in American history, the consequences of that concentration are now evident as the Trump administration forbids thousands in need of refuge from reaching our shores, indefinitely and inhumanely detains many who are already here, allows whimsy to dictate foreign policy, and threatens allies and enemies alike. If he is allowed to continue to wield the power of the largest military in the world, one shudders to think of the possibilities.
As human beings, the responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone. This country has the ability to progress toward our highest ideals of democracy and justice. Now, we must do the hard work to achieve that vision. Donald Trump’s impeachment must go forward without delay.