High Crimes and Misdemeanors
By Patrick F. Cannon
In my recent piece on how we might rid ourselves of President Trump, I see I failed to go into sufficient detail on the criteria for impeachment. As you may know, the Constitution says an office holder – including the President – may be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” As with much of the language of the Constitution, it was left to future generations to define just what that meant. The Founders, it seems to me, have not been sufficiently excoriated for their laziness.
Many commentators have said that “high crimes” should be defined as what we would now call a felony. Now, “misdemeanor” is a word with which we’re familiar. Jaywalking or walking ones dog without a leash might fit the current definition, but surely we wouldn’t impeach a President for such lapses, as much as we might like to. But since the word is used as a reason for impeachment, I’ve given some thought to what might rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
For many years, I wore a suit and tie to work. I can tell you that it could be an onerous task. Manys the morning I appeared fully dressed, only to be told by my darling wife: “you’re not wearing that tie with that suit, are you?” Once again, my color sense betrayed me, but there was one sin against fashion that I never committed – my tie never hung below my belt! Have you noticed that President Trump’s tie always hangs below his belt, sometimes even approaching his crotch! In addition, he almost never appears with his suit coat buttoned. Is it possible he’s grown so paunchy that he can’t button his jacket? Can he not afford to have new suits made that fit? Are these fashion faux pas impeachable offenses? I wonder.
Then there’s his Trump Tower apartment. In a modernish if flashy building, he has chosen to furnish it as if it were in the palace at Versailles, all gold and glitz. Perhaps he sees himself at a latter day Louis the Sixteenth? If so, he should remember what happened to the good king, but then he doesn’t read history, does he? Perhaps all that gold leaf suits his personality, a combination of noveau riche Texas oil man and mafia don.
In Chicago, he chose to emblazon his name on what is an otherwise successful building. I ride the Green Line El into the city occasionally, and when the train makes the curve onto Wabash Avenue, it’s hard to avoid seeing the gigantic “TRUMP” dominating its façade. Its presence encourages one to bury ones nose in a book or peruse the ubiquitous cell phone.
And then there’s the hair. Now, it may be that none of these offenses to good taste rises to the level of impeachment by themselves, but surely their accumulation constitutes at least the “misdemeanors” that the Constitution demands? Please do write to your representatives and senators demanding action. I am given to understand that many can now read simple English, as long as it’s not in a health care bill.
Copyright 2017, Patrick F. Cannon