The highest office in the land, head of state, commander-in-chief: these are all titles for the seat in the Oval Office in which Donald Trump has resided for almost three years. One of the highest honors and most powerful roles in the U.S. government should be held under microscopic judgment. As the 45th president of the United States, Trump has gotten away with far too much.
So much, in fact, that over 800 former federal prosecutors from both the right and left sides have agreed that, were Trump not the president, he’d be charged with obstruction of justice. It’s time to hold those in power to a much higher standard and continue to encourage those in charge of checking that power to take action against corruption.
Before Trump, Barack Obama is the only other president students at the college level remember with a politically-conscious mind. Although Obama’s eight-year presidency may not have been a picture-perfect success — as no presidency is — there was never as much news about questionable behavior and impeachment rumors as there are in today’s political climate. There’s a big difference between withholding a birth certificate and withholding tax returns.
With so much power in one person’s — consistently men’s — hands, the expectation is that they would be watched and reprimanded for anything that goes against the law or even breaks with the United States’ moral code. Unfortunately, that reprimand can only go as far as the media outlets since it’s nearly impossible to begin the impeachment process. In the history of this nation, only two presidents have been impeached — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — but neither was ultimately removed from office.
It’s comforting to know that this nation has successfully elected a vast majority of upstanding and honorable people to the head of the executive branch. So far, in only three instances have the wrongs of this position been so grave that the government has questioned its leader — the third instance being Richard Nixon’s self-resignation after the Watergate scandal. However, there may be “unchecked obstruction” that has gone under the radar, undetected or simply not acted on.
The prosecutors condemning Trump wrote in their statement that this “unchecked obstruction…allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished” and “puts our whole system of justice at risk.” If the leaders of this country aren’t held accountable for their actions, that sends a message to all of the citizens of the U.S. that laws are to be bent and manipulated to best serve the circumstances. The executive branch is meant to be the enforcer of the law, but its current leader only enforces the law on those he doesn’t like while giving his best buddies a free pass.
Maybe the impeachment process should be made easier, or maybe those with power should just be better people. There’s no clear, easy, quick-fix solution to problems as large as greed and corruption. No matter how many impeachment petitions are signed or crazy headlines there are about Trump’s crimes, nothing will be done until the Democrats and Republicans of the House and Senate take action against Trump’s convictable offenses. The president is not above the law, and its consequences and the nation must hold the chief executive accountable, whether it’s Trump or any president to come.
Ryann Sheehy is a sophomore theater and media arts and design double major. Contact Ryann at firstname.lastname@example.org.