A Third-World View of America's Impeachment Process
The United States of America is the pinnacle of democracy in the world. Throughout the years, third-world countries fighting for democracy have always looked to the stars and stripes for inspiration and help. It is for this reason that America's democratic processes and politics have always had a ripple effect on third-world politics. Third-world democracies use the democratic model of America's system of governance as a reference model that protects their fragile democratic institutional systems. When a third-world system of democratic governance is crumbling or showing a willingness to yield to forces of authoritarian, dictatorship or communism, the United States of America becomes the last line of defense. It can not be overemphasized how the health of America's democracy correlates with the health of world democracies. In fact, to say the death of America's democracy as a direct consequence of the death of third-world democracies is an understatement.
One American democratic process that is currently on the global stage is the impeachment process. First, it is important to note that America's democracy is not dying, the same way a person showing signs of sickness is not a prelude to death, but a sign to indicate they need medical help to be healed. Second, this is not the first impeachment process in America, Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had their fair share of this democratic process. So what makes the impeachment of Donald Trump an interesting one?
The current impeachment process is interesting; regardless of which side of the American political spectrum one belongs to, it is agreed that the process has exposed the fragile elements of America's democratic institutions of governance which can be abused for political mileage. Republicans and Democrats claim the abuses are perpetuated by the other side. Both sides claim to have enough evidence to prove that the other side has acted in bad faith, and against the interests of the American public. The cases and evidence from both sides have been displayed in public domains in an attempt to prove how transparent one side is over the other. This has created a court of public opinion, in which either side is fighting to convince the American public that whatever evidence is presented from the other side is not as it seems, that your eyes and ears are deceiving you. Messaging in public domains have become less about substance and more about scripted tapes that are repeated over and over. This has muddied the waters of communication; how people view true and false statements depends on where that true or false statement is coming from. The American democratic institutions that are supposed to provide insight and directions to aid in navigating out of these muddied waters have also been dragged nose-deep into these waters.
What Is a Banana Republic?
This is a definition of a Banana Republic, this is what third-world democracies look like. When Americans view third-world democracies, they often wonder how they got to that hopeless situation of being unable to fight corruption in governments, having leaders that look out for their selfish political survival interests, election manipulations, loss of civility in political discussions. This phenomenon is somewhat new to Americans, but it's nothing new to most parts of the world. It gives Americans a better appreciation of how difficult it is to hold on to fragile democratic institutions that hold a country together if a country is divided on party lines. If a governance system is broken, it cant be fixed by the very elements and architects of its collapse, it means it is time for an uprising or a revolution, and that is exactly what you see in third-world countries.
The impeachment case against Donald Trump has been a test on how strong and independent the democratic institutions of America are. It has exposed loopholes that leaders can use to navigate their way around a process designed to prevent them from wrongly utilizing democratic resources for self-preservation and not preservation of country. The ease at which strong democratic institutions of America were dragged into partisan mud fights was clear for the whole world to see. This has detrimental effects on already weak democracies in third-world countries. Leaders in these countries have always looked for weaknesses in the structures of democratic institutions that allowed them to hold on to power under the disguise of a democratic process and the will of the people. The inspiration from strong and independent democratic institutions of America have always served as a beacon of light that has kept the impulses of these leaders in check, but the light is fading.
What Does This Mean for Democracy?
So, is the impeachment of Donald Trump good or bad for the world democracies—and most importantly, third-world democracies?
The case against Trump's impeachment is that his conduct is not an impeachable offence, but rather an attempt to remove a duly elected democratic president from office because the other side would not acknowledge he won the election fairly. It is important to note that, it as much a democratic process to vote for a preferred leader in the same way as it is a democratic process to impeach a leader. Both processes are democratic and not an attack on democracy. If Trump's conduct is worthy of impeachment, then it is important to allow a democratic process to play out. This also sends a message that the leaders of the free world are held to the highest possible standard of conduct and the rest of the world should follow suit.
If Trump's conduct is not worthy of impeachment but rather a ploy to remove a duly elected president from office, this also sends a dangerous message to the rest of the world on two fronts. First, it lowers the standards of conduct for leaders of the free world, and consequently the already-low standards of conduct from leaders in third-world countries becomes lower. Secondly, it also sends a message that democratic processes like impeachment can be weaponized and used to remove a duly elected president, this degrades a powerful tool of democracy and allows corrupt third-world leaders to label the impeachment process an attack on their legitimate presidency.
In the same way that Americans view the impeachment process differently, other parts of the world are also affected differently. It is therefore important to be consistent with values and standards we set and adhere to with regards to democratic processes and institutions. Inconsistencies in democratic processes create lack of trust in institutions that are designed to protect the very foundations of democracy and the whole system breaks down. Importantly, if a strong United States democracy stands as a model for others to follow, its democratic systems are supposed to be built on strong and consistent foundations that young and new democracies in third-world countries can follow.
Is Donald Trump Worthy Of Impeachment?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 AL