Following the insurrection of January 6, President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, largely on a partisan basis, although a few Republicans did join in supporting the impeachment. An impeachment is essentially the same as an indictment. It must be followed up by a trial to determine whether or not to convict. The trial of President Trump will begin this Tuesday, February 9. It promises, so far, to also be a partisan affair, as senators on both sides of the aisle have indicated their intention to vote a certain way before either side has presented its evidence. They would all be disqualified from a jury on that basis.
It is not only our representatives and senators who are divided on essentially partisan lines. Our country, itself, is deeply divided about how to deal with the legacy of President Trump and how to move forward for the sake of our nation. I fear that the flames of hatred and bitterness that were so clearly on display at the Capital on January 6, and in the days following, will be further inflamed in the next few weeks.
Whatever we believe about President Trump, about his impeachment and his trial, about how the trial should be resolved, we must all agree that America is still in a very dangerous moment in its history. We are discovering whether or not the “center can hold,” as the great poem, The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats, asked after World War II.
There has been a lot of talk about unity in the past few weeks. I am not sure that unity is what we are truly seeking. We Americans have always disagreed with one another over many important issues. That will not end. If we think of unity as uniformity—it will not happen. It has never happened in the past, and it will never happen in the future.
What we desperately need is not unity, but civility. Civility is the ability to disagree strongly but to respect those who are on the other side of the issues and to be able to work with them. I think that American civility can flow, not from agreement on the issues, but agreement on the process. The process is defined by the Constitution of the United States. If we can agree to disagree within the parameters set down by the Constitution, and agree to submit to the process for disagreeing set down there, we can survive this present crisis.
Let us pray, not for primarily for unity, but for civility. Let us pray that we will love our enemies as Jesus has taught us and to recognize those who disagree with us as our brothers and sisters.
God bless America, land that we love!
—Fr. Mike Comer