Democrats must hold each other to the highest standards

Corey Rutkin, Opinions Editor

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On the first night of the new Congress, rookie Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib stood up in public and exclaimed “Let’s impeach the mother****** [Trump].” In the long run, this poor choice of words will not matter. However, if Democrats, and perhaps others, truly hope to diminish the harmful impression this president has had and will continue to have on our country they cannot make the same mistake Ms. Tlaib did.

Impeaching Trump might be the first step, but it won’t be the last. Many of this presidency’s shortcomings will only present after it’s finished. Democrats need to remain calm and collected while expressing their criticism. Trump infuriates Americans in countless ways. One of the most common is his repeated use of offensive and harmful language. Tlaib’s comment wasn’t prejudice or anything truly harmful, but it’s a poor precedent to set for the caucus this session.

Other Democrats have lectured me over and over again, telling me I don’t understand, the Republicans or Trump have done or said so much worse with this or that. It does not matter. There is a proper and professional way to call for impeachment.

I’m nineteen now. I already fear that the damage Trump has inflicted on the presidency, the nation and so many other things will take a majority of the rest of my life to fix. We cannot give an inch to those who hope to invalidate opposition to his many harmful actions.

If asked about it, Democrats in the House and Senate needed to condemn member Tlaib’s comment. They can reiterate her sentiment, but must criticize the form in which she delivered it. If we want to hold the president to the highest standard, Democrats must demand it from themselves and their colleagues.

The result of the second half of Trump’s term will not be binary. There is not a good outcome and a bad outcome. There will be good ways and bad ways to achieve. There are a million different ways Democrats can conduct themselves for the next twenty-three months and there has been no time in recent history that America could benefit more from near perfect behavior.

I understand the frustration many feel. The President says terrible things every week. The press is so overwhelmed by all the different madness, tweets, firings, threats and so forth, that so often Trump’s shockingly inappropriate comments fall out of the headlines too quickly.

This isn’t a news story, it’s a learning opportunity. Tlaib doesn’t need to resign. Her initiatives don’t need to be dismissed. Her choice of words just needs to be better.

Discussions of impeachment and impeachment proceedings themselves should be carried out in one way: using facts and the Constitution to present to the American people that the president is unfit to continue his term. Everything else is just noise. Now is the time to set the example. Now is the time do the diligent, respectable and admiral work.

Press forward responsibly.