Listening to Impeachment Hearings: I Worry for Our Children

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A Nation Divided

As I listen to the hearings today, I am more worried than I was before the hearings began. We are, without question, a nation divided and the hearings show in neon lights how different political figures see the events of last Wednesday and the legacy of our President. The quivering voices of some of the elected officials is telling.

There are lots of things about which we can disagree and upon which we can legitimately have differing views. But there are some values which we hold dear as a nation and as individuals. We cannot trample those. Let me be specific.

Context Matters

Here’s what concerns me. Too many of the speakers are forgetting context and asserting the absence of evidence and due process. They decry the speed of the impeachment efforts. These individuals are forgetting how the events of last week happened. The day was for a counting of the electoral votes certified by each state and declaring a winner of the Presidential election.

The insurrection did not occur on any random day; it occurred to stop the counting of the electoral votes. And, what is forgotten is that the effort killed five people (six died); it damaged our Capitol literally and psychically; it threatened the lives of many and injured others. The danger has not gone away. Apologies and words of anti-violence after-the-fact don’t erase what occurred on Wednesday (and before).

Evidence Abounds

So, those who were there on Wednesday are evidence; every elected official escorted to a safe place is evidence; every image is evidence; every word spoken to encourage violence is evidence. There doesn’t need to be added evidence. We have evidence. Plenty of it.

What we lack are answers to how this actually happened. How was it that the police were so slow to respond? Where were the National Guard? The helicopters? The Mounted Police? The arrests of offenders? Did some legislators and police and military join the rioters (not protesters)? What happened to a coordinated effort of our police and military?

Our Children

How can our children of all ages and stages understand what has occurred? I appreciate that they are likely not listening to all or any portion of these impeachment hearings. But don’t underestimate their understanding and awareness of what has and is occurring.

How can children to understand freedom and Democracy? How can they understand how the protesters in the summer were gassed and arrested but somehow, even now, we have far too few arrests based on the violence at the Capitol? How do we resolve disputes peacefully? How can we agree to disagree? How can we prevent or address discrimination?

For many of us, the current events have us disquieted. Some are traumatized. Some are saddened. Some are shocked. Some are in a state of disbelief. Some are hurt, mentally. What a world we are in?

We try to teach our children well. We want them to learn responsibility. We want them to understand that words matter. But nothing that is happening is helping with those goals.

In America

Children can rightly be wondering who are we as a nation. When children see their parents fight physically or use too many drugs or too much alcohol, they lose role models. They normalize behavior that is not normal. They develop a misunderstanding of how quality relationships work.

Millions of people are getting Covid. Hundreds of thousands have died. Then we have vaccines that are not being distributed in a swift and quality manner. Then we have blood on the floors of our Capitol. More people died or were injured.

For me, the clear and present danger is to our children. Yes, the President is in my view a clear and present danger. I worry about the peacefulness of the prospective inauguration. I worry about violence across our nation in the coming days. I think we are presently seeing danger all around us. The clear and present danger that troubles me most is that our children are being harmed in ways that will continue for decades to come. Who can and do they trust? How can and do they know truth from falsity? How do they deal with a nation’s Democratic roots are threatened and violated?

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We need a way to stop the craziness. We need to help our children understand the fundamental values on which our nation was founded: life, liberty and the the pursuit of happiness. Last week, all three were put at risk. Children need to understand that key values can be hard to protect. Doing the right thing is hard too. Doing the right thing is what we want our children to learn and understand. We can help them by being honest and transparent. We can help them by allowing them to process what they are feeling. We need to help them see that words matter. They matter a lot. They truly matter a lot.

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