The Article I chose for this blog is about the words of a reporter named Carl Bernstein. He was a reporter who helped uncover some of Nixon’s crimes during Watergate, and he decided to way in on the current situation in the Senate regarding the impeachment hearings. Using some fiery language, he described the Republican held Senate as a “Cult of Trump” and said, “The Senate of the United States, through the Republican leadership and membership, has now joined hands with a tyrant.” Rather radical language has been used to describe Trump since his election in 2016 from ‘literally hitler’ to ‘fascist scum’. The democrats have also been promising impeachment since about the same time, geared on by their base, and this is what has come to fruition in the Congress. Impeachment over alleged abuses of power in dealings with Ukraine has passed the House and now is being discussed on the floor of the Senate. If all charges are proven true, this would show Trump to be a corrupt, repugnant president. The article continues by describing the slim chances of the Senate calling for witnesses and slams Republicans as co conspirators in the President’s crimes. It also describes how the Republicans that Democrats were hoping to get to vote for more witnesses are unlikely to reach across the aisle. In as partisan a process as this impeachment has been, both sides are very unwilling to listen to each other.
However, the word tyrant in this case may be misplaced. In modern vernacular tyrant has come to mean cruel and oppressive uses of government authority, usual to the general population. Trump’s actions in this case are not tyrannical. His dealings with Ukraine are not actively oppressing the American people. Even taking this at the worst face, that it’s a scheme to better his reelection odds, this specific action would not be tyrannical. That kind of corrupt act can support tyranny, but keeping oneself in office is not in and of itself tyranny. Policy aimed at the American people is what could be classified as tyranny. For example, Putin rigging elections in his favor would be considered corrupt, but when he silences dissidents, his actions are tyrannical. Therefore, the action being talked about in the article is not tyrannical.
Now if we were to look at the ancient definition of tyranny, Trump in this case is still not a tyrant. Being a tyrant requires one to interrupt a royal line. A ruling family, monarchs, has to be usurped to fit the classical definition of tyranny. By the ancient definition, there can be both cruel and benevolent tyrants. Kind kings and kind tyrants were only separated by how they got power and by what justification they derived the right to rule. For modern examples, one need look no further than Russia. When Lenin overthrew Tsar Nicholas II he became a classical tyrant. Another example is when William of Orange took the English throne during the Glorious Revolution. He overthrew a monarchy, making him a classical tyrant. This kind of specific overthrow is impossible in a democratic republic, therefore no United States president will ever be a classical tyrant.
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