On Nov. 9, in the wake of the confounding US presidential election results that saw bombastic billionaire/unabashed xenophobe/brazen-faced misogynist Donald J. Trump rise to the highest elected position in the land, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore released what would eventually be a two-day “call to action” list for fellow Democrats and activists to pursue.
Arguably, the most attention-grabbing blurb on Moore’s litany of ideas came on Nov. 10, when he posted about – or rather, predicted – the eventual impeachment of Donald Trump:
“Prepare to impeach Trump. Just as the Republicans were already planning to do with President Hillary from Day One, we must organize the apparatus that will bring charges against him when he violates his oath and breaks the law – and then we must remove him from office.”
Moore went on to justify this particular entry of his yesterday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe“:
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” he said, “this is why we’re not going to have to suffer through four years of Donald J. Trump, because he has no ideology except the ideology of Donald J. Trump. And when you have a narcissist like that, who’s so narcissistic where it’s all about him, he will, maybe unintentionally, break laws. He will break laws because he’s only thinking about what’s best for him.”
Now, I agree that Trump will likely fuck up the minute he steps into the Oval Office somehow. It’s basically a guarantee. But I have qualms with Moore’s fervor to see Trump so quickly impeached. I get his sentiment, his hair-trigger reaction to the appalling outcome of the election, and I agree with other ideas that Moore has, thus far, presented. For example:
- Pressing activists to form an opposition movement.
- Suggesting activists commit civil disobedience, if necessary.
- Reminding supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to tell everyone they meet that she had actually won the popular vote.
But I challenge Moore, as well as others who are now hell-bent on barreling down the “Trump impeachment” path, to please think logically about the potential outcome of this.
Moore in particular needs to step off his “Bernie Bro”-ish straight, white man soapbox and truly consider what the result of an impeached Trump would be…
A President Mike Pence.
I grew up in Indiana – a tough state for queers/minorities/women without an anti-queer/racist/sexist/misogynistic governor… let alone with one.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Here’s a stellar reminder of Mike Pence’s track record on issues pertaining to the marginalized members of the public, as well as the environment, via Mother Jones on Oct. 4, 2016…
- In March, Pence signed a bill into law requiring burial or cremation for aborted fetuses.
- In September, Pence said he’d like to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history.”
- Pence signed a 2015 bill permitting Indiana business owners to cite religious beliefs as a reason to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers.
- As Indiana’s governor, Pence slashed Planned Parenthood funding, arguably contributing to one county’s HIV outbreak.
- During his 12 years as a congressman, Pence voted against nearly every piece of environmental legislation.
- Pence voted to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
- Pence voted for opening the Atlantic up to offshore oil drilling.
- As a congressman, Pence gave a floor speech advocating the teaching of creationism in public schools.
- Pence once wrote an op-ed arguing that “smoking doesn’t kill.”
- Pence has advocated the use of public funds for conversion therapy, a discredited and potentially harmful form of anti-gay therapy.
- Gov. Pence funneled $3.5 million in Indiana’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds, intended for needy families with children, to crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel women against having abortions.
- Gov. Pence refused to comply with Obama administration rules aimed at reducing prison rape.
- As congressman, Pence voted in favor of a bill that would have allowed for the detention of undocumented immigrants seeking hospital treatment.
- Pence co-sponsored a bill in Congress that would have eliminated automatic citizenship for children born on US soil to undocumented parents.
- Pence was one of 31 governors to oppose the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state, declaring that state agencies wouldn’t cover the cost of some social services for Syrian refugees. His behavior earned him a strong rebuke from a panel of three federal judges, including one whom Donald Trump put on his Supreme Court nominee short list.
Now, you may be thinking, “Come on, no one’s really going to impeach Trump. Republicans control Congress!”
To that, I say, please remember: Many GOP politicians actually do not like the President-elect at all.
They do, however, like Mike Pence – whose mainstream traditionalist views on governance were indomitably influenced by modern conservative ideologist Russell Kirk, author of “The Conservative Mind.”
To many members of Congress, Pence is a refreshing breath of “conservative status quo air,” whereas Trump is anything but.
Hell, that’s why Trump “selected” the guy in the first place – to secure the evangelical, less anti-Establishment-minded vote.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Recently, New York Magazine‘s “The Cut” published an article on the outlook of LGBT rights in particular under a president Trump. In short, the forecast looks grim. But one section struck me as especially terrifying. In it, contributor Claire Landsbaum relays a prediction made by Dr. Patrick Egan, an associate professor of politics and public policy at New York University, on what might happen under a Trump/Pence regime.
“An interesting question is,” Egan said, “with Republicans in control of both Houses of Congress and the presidency, will some kind of stronger version of a religious freedom law be introduced in Congress by Republicans and be signed by Trump? My expectation is yes.”
The religious freedom law (the RFRA/the “Hobby Lobby Law”) was a distinct “legacy moment” for Pence in Indiana on March 26, 2015. That’s when he officially signed Indiana Senate Bill 101 into effect, thereby prohibiting state or local governments from “substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion – unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.”
Now Dr. Egan predicts this happening with Trump/Pence in charge across the nation. But the RFRA was Pence’s particular “baby.” So imagine the other issues that could be pushed to the federal forefront under a Pence presidency alone…
- Bills that would see sick, undocumented migrants locked up.
- Legislature that would see the EPA (further) deregulated.
- Bills that would negatively impact, in particular, marginalized populations and their access to healthcare.
The list goes on.
Again, I get it, Michael Moore; I do. I’m both pissed and terrified about America’s future under a president Trump. And I agree we need to fight his regime with all the fervor we can muster. Because he’s certainly not, nor will he ever be, “my president.”
But I swear on my life, neither will Pence.
In fact, if Pence will ever be anything to me or to other members of varied Trump/Pence-marginalized populations in the US, he’ll be our goddamned downfall.
Abby Higgs is the Editor-at-Large for Queen Mob's Teahouse. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Marie Claire, The Rumpus, Salon, The Establishment, VICE, and elsewhere. She would LOVE to read your written thoughts on the U.S. election... or anything else, for that matter. Email her at [email protected]; find her on Twitter @AbbyHiggs.