People walk down the Second Street in Coralville during the Great March for Climate Action on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. The Iowa City rally, which began at New Pioneer Coop in Coralville and ended at Pedestrian Mall, was part of a national climate change walk from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. (Justin Wan/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
Many readers will remember 70s rocker Meatloaf’s legendary song, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” Though a lament about unrequited love, the song’s title nevertheless sums up my view of the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Why? While the House chose to impeach the president on two counts, many Americans, including myself, believe a third charge should have been added, at least as — no, even more egregious than the two articles on which the president now will be tried by the Senate.
President Donald Trump has imperiled the safety and well-being of all future generations of Americans by denying and failing to act on the scientifically established imminent and existential threat of human-caused climate change.
This is not in any way to diminish the two crimes for which he has been charged. Clearly, the president did compromise our national security by putting an important ally — Ukraine — at risk for personal political gain. And the president blatantly obstructed the House’s constitutionally established authority to investigate potential crimes committed by the executive branch. By exercising this authority and defending our constitution, the House should be applauded.
My only disappointment is that Trump’s failure to take action to protect Americans from the rapidly unfolding climate emergency was not added to the list of impeachable offenses. It seems almost every day another scientific study is published, not just validating how dangerous climate change is, but revealing that the crisis is unfolding faster than previously predicted.
Of course, Iowa farming families know this all too well. The increasingly frequent and devastating droughts and floods and accompanying economic hardship they face are all too real.
Some may say that it really doesn’t matter that this third article of impeachment was omitted. They’ll rightly point out that the Republican Senate was never going to find the president guilty, regardless of what charges were brought against him. Clearly these Senators are more afraid of evoking Trump’s career-threatening wrath than they are with exercising their responsibility to protect our constitution and our national security.
Still, hearings on the president’s rejection of climate science would have given Democrats a golden opportunity to raise public awareness of the grave threats of the climate crisis for America and the world. Doing so could have helped inspire a rational level of fear and outrage that could have cemented Democratic victories, not just in the presidential election, but in other elections across the country. Such results, in turn, would have greatly increased the likelihood that America would have stepped into its rightful role of leading the world in combating the existential threat posed by the climate crisis. Without such action, the future of our children, grandchildren and all future generations will be filled with unimaginable turmoil and suffering.
Still, as Meatloaf might have observed, “two out of three ain’t bad.” Now, it’s up to ordinary citizens to continue sounding the climate crisis alarm. Won’t you please join us?
[Jonas Magram of Fairfield is a member of Climate Action Iowa.]