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Many reasons why Gabbard’s ‘present’ vote wrong

As much as I like and admire TGI Editor Bill Buley, I have to strongly disagree with his editorial of December 20 defending the decision of U.S. Representative and sometime Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard to vote “present” on the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

I agree that her decision came as no great surprise. Representative Gabbard’s recent history has been well outside the main scope of both Democratic (big D) and democratic (small d) thought, and puts her more in line with Representative Jeff Van Drew, who voted against impeachment and is leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans.

I am not a native-born Hawaiian. My ancestors arrived in these island by plane, not canoe. But I have always attempted in my words and my actions to exemplify the Hawaiian spirit of aloha. I have not always succeeded, but I have tried. I try not to judge those who still support our flawed president. Some days that is quite difficult.

As has been said before: Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. The sworn testimony before the Congressional committees, the transcript of the president’s conversation with the newly elected president of the Ukraine, and President Trump’s own public statements and “Tweets” lead me to a single conclusion: The president used the immense power of his office to seek the assistance of a foreign government to damage a domestic political rival and influence the 2020 U.S. election.

In my more than 70 years I have seen a lot of strange, unusual and downright dirty politics during local and national campaigns, but nothing ever so blatant and illegal as this. Spin it any way you want, but if this is not an impeachable offense, then literally nothing is.

I will not claim that politics have not influenced the impeachment process, which is by definition and historical precedent a significantly political event.

But I do believe that underlying all the rhetoric there lies a solid core of misconduct by the president. Ms. Gabbard acknowledges this fact in her statement.

For her to admit this, yet fail to show the courage to act on that knowledge — hiding behind a “hope for reconciliation” — shows to me a disregard for the damage our flawed chief executive has already done, and continues to do, to our national security, world leadership, political processes and moral position.

Voting for impeachment may have a negative political impact for the Democratic Party in the upcoming 2020 elections. Not attempting to rein in an out-of-control chief executive by exercising their constitutionally required oversight of the executive branch, as the Republican members of Congress have opted to do, would be an even worse choice.

In the long term, Representative Gabbard’s vote will have little impact on the impeachment process. I do suspect her future in the Democratic Party has largely ended.

Unless she jumps to the Republican Party like Representative Jeff Van Drew, or becomes an Independent, it seems unlikely she will continue to have much influence in the future, which in many ways is unfortunate. However, actions have consequences — something all politicians, including our president, sometimes need to remember.


Bill Peterson is a resident of Lihue.
Source: The Garden Island

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