White Supremacy and the failure to impeach

How the white supremacy ingrained in the foundations of this country makes the state incapable of countering its power.

Content warning: Police violence and killings

The impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump lasted just five days, and in the end, the Senate voted to acquit him on the charge of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. 

In his article “Senate Votes To Acquit Donald Trump On Impeachment Charge Of Inciting Capitol Siege,” Ted Johnson briefly outlines the proceedings. 

“The Senate voted 57-43 to convict Trump, short of the 67 votes needed. Seven Republicans joined with 48 Democrats and two independents in favor of conviction. This is the second time that Trump has been acquitted of impeachment charges. On Jan. 13, he became the first president to be impeached twice.” 

Johnson goes on to explain that “a conviction would have prevented Trump from running for federal office again.” Despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s claim that Trump’s actions were “a disgraceful dereliction of duty” and that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for “provoking the events of the day,” the possibility of Trump one day holding office again seemed to be of little concern to McConnell along with the other Republicans that failed to convict. 

Many Republicans argue that it would be unconstitutional to convict former President Trump on the basis that he is no longer a sitting president. McConnell later claimed that “Impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice,” going on to say that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office.” And finally, making the bold claim that “He didn’t get away with anything yet.” 

These claims fall flat as republicans intentionally put off the trial that could have taken place before the inauguration of President Joseph Biden. With this, they left themselves this loophole as an explanation of their failure to convict. It is the responsibility of the senate to hold the president to account, and these arguments about timing and constitutionality are little more than excuses to avoid dealing with the issue of white supremacy in this country and the ways that the president they supported emboldened that supremacy. 

From a sitting president openly calling for violence and claiming fraud in order to gain more power, to the group of people that openly organized this action online and identified themselves breaking into the state capital and assaulting police officers. The failure to convict former president Donald Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the capital is just one more example of the rampant, unchecked white supremacy of this country. The sense of entitlement from the former president and his supporters that day was made clear in their tactics. 

These are not the tactics of people who think the deck is stacked against them, these are the actions of people that know this system was built for their benefit. Wholeheartedly believing that they will walk away from this with their lives unchanged. 

And for the most part this is what we have seen. Police officers flew home and went back to brutalizing communities, and the other unknown participants have also gone back to their daily lives. While a few officers were put on leave and will face internal investigations into the allegations, most people who took part have yet to face any sort of backlash or investigation of any kind. 

While we should never encourage or seek state violence against anyone, the importance here is in recognizing the double standards and their root in white supremacy. Those that uphold the power structure that built this nation are allowed to walk freely and continue to do so, while those who seek to undermine that power structure to create a more equitable system for people of all backgrounds will face the brunt of state power and violence in order to silence them and undermine their efforts. 

Meanwhile, Seattle police officers involved in the insurrection either remain on the force or are off on paid leave and the people of Seattle continue to face brutality at the hands of The Seattle Police Department. With people still being arrested for demanding justice for Black lives — we have already seen multiple arrests this year for things as minimal as drawing with sidewalk chalk. And outside of the Black Lives Matter movement, police have shot and killed at least two people after being called to the scene to complete a wellness check on an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. 

We continue to see the injustices of this country being perpetuated and the system of white supremacy being enforced. The failure to convict the former President of the United States for not only upholding the same ingrained white supremacy as all presidents do, but also for emboldening violent white supremacist action is something that cannot be ignored. 

This has shown just how deeply ingrained white supremacy is in our country, and how because of that the state is incapable of countering that supremacy from within.