Professor Michael Blake explains why it is important, as a moral condemnation by our society, to impeach President Trump even though the trial will not be finished before the end of Trump’s term of office.
Citizens in a democratic society do not need to agree about political morality. They can recognize their political opponents as entitled to their views – however mistaken each side takes those alternative views to be. Conservatives and liberals have often regarded each other as wrong, but nonetheless members in good standing in their political communities.
There are, however, some points at which a society makes a shared statement that a given sort of practice or act is not politically respectable – and the criminal law is one means by which that statement is made. As Feinberg notes, imprisonment is not simply an unwelcome punishment – it is a symbolic statement that the criminal has done something of which he or she ought to be ashamed.
The criminal – or the impeached – might not actually feel ashamed. The function of the criminal law, however, is to say that he or she ought to feel ashamed, and that those who do that sort of act are outside the realm of normal moral disagreement.
Read the entire article on The Conversation: “Is impeaching President Trump ‘pointless revenge’? Not if it sends a message to future presidents.”