Benicia and Vallejo residents’ thoughts on impeachment vote

[BenIndy Editor: Thanks to Times-Herald reporter John Glidden for including my comment in his report.  – Roger Straw]

Locals mostly positive toward historic vote

By John Glidden, Vallejo Times-Herald, December 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm

As President Donald Trump became just the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, many residents in the local area reacted favorably to Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings.

“We cannot allow a sitting president to usurp the United States Constitution, and use his office as a political weapon,” said Thomas Bilbo, chairman of the Solano Pride Center Board. “Donald Trump has failed the American people by using the power of his office in a way that threatens to destroy our democracy, and the Republican Party seems to be willing to let him do it.”

The House of Representative impeached the president on two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Impeachment proceedings began after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a formal inquiry into the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

“The divisions we’re seeing on Capitol Hill is based on one party using facts to determine actions by our President damaged our democracy and credibility around the world,” added Bilbo, who is also a candidate for the Solano County Democratic Central Committee. “The other party is just blustering and name calling because they are unwilling to look past party politics and see that the validity of the US Constitution is at stake.”

Supportive of the impeachment, local Gretchen Zimmermann said she was still worried for the future of the country.

“Never before in my lifetime have we been so far removed from being able to agree on basic facts. People now feel entitled to believe any version of reality that pleases them,” Zimmermann said prior to the House votes. “I’m not hearing any rational debate from the Republicans in the hearings, only loud declarations of a different version of reality. Orwellian dystopia is here now.”

Zimmermann said she didn’t feel the lead-up to Wednesday’s House votes had the same energy when President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998.

“I’m old enough to remember (President Richard) Nixon, too. I was a kid, but, by this stage of the Nixon impeachment (process), people who paid attention to the evidence raised during the hearings, including Nixon’s supporters, came around to thinking Nixon had done wrong,” she added. “We had the Fairness Doctrine back then. We didn’t have Fox News screaming alternative facts.”

Vallejoan and business owner Ken Ingersoll also spoke about the parallels between the Clinton and Trump impeachments.“I think the impeachment is political theater,” he said. “No different than what the Republicans did to Clinton. Back then, Republicans took their best shot in a good economy, well today, the way I see it, it’s just desserts for them.”

Benician Roger Straw said he wasn’t surprised by Wednesday’s votes.

“Trump’s uncivil, ignorant and malign leadership and lack of leadership has been on display constantly over the last three years, and the clarity of Trump’s actions involving Ukraine and his open contempt of Congress give no other recourse but to impeach,” he said. “Congress and the public have remained vigilant throughout, and stand by the Constitution’s right — and responsibility — to hold no one above the law, including a corrupt president.”

With Trump’s impeachment, a trial in the Senate will take place. Two-thirds of the Senate must be present to agree to remove Trump from office.