Gazette-Mail editorial: Give voters some credit

For the entire Obama presidency, Republicans across the country were able to turn “liberal” into a dirty word. It didn’t mean allowing more people more freedoms and rights, or trying to protect the social safety net for those who need it. The right was able to turn it into a word to label all branded with it as some sort of bogeyman hiding under the bed, coming for Americans’ guns and forcing everyone to attend same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Apparently, the knife-edge on that word has been dulled down after its use in multiple stabbings. West Virginians started to see the word “socialist” pop up in its place last year, as the midterms approached.

Indeed, many programs in the United States that have been around for decades could be considered “socialist.” Social Security has it right there in the title. Seems unlikely anyone receiving those benefits would want them taken away because it’s a dirty word. Same with Medicare and Medicaid, both social programs funded by tax dollars designed to help the elderly and those who are in poverty afford access to basic health care needs.

When politicians pull out the “socialism” tag, they’re actually trying to infer some sort of communism operating under the supervision of a despot or system of rich oligarchs. Don’t believe it? Some have done away with the pretense altogether. West Virginia Republican congressional Reps. Alex Mooney and Carol Miller now call impeachment proceedings against the president “Soviet-style.”

The ploy here is obvious. Evidence, testimony and public opinion are lining up against President Donald Trump concerning his rather overt attempts to dangle military aid to Ukraine in return for an investigation into the Biden family. Miller, Mooney and others cannot defend the president on those grounds, so they have to attack the process. It’s not liberalism, it’s not socialism, it’s fascist communism — “Soviet-style.”

It’d be really nice if Mooney, Miller and others would stop treating their constituents as if they’re complete rubes. Yes, support for Trump in West Virginia is high. Perhaps most West Virginians, against the grain of national public opinion, don’t want to see the president impeached. But they also know impeachment is a process outlined in the U.S. Constitution. A bipartisan committee taking witness testimony behind closed doors before going forward is the same thing that happened with Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Voters in West Virginia remember at least one of those proceedings. Many can recall both.

To placate manufactured Republican outrage (and it is manufactured; Rep. Miller could have sat in on the hearings if she’d wanted, but decided to go along with the door-crashing stunt) the inquiry hearings will now be out in the open. In response, the GOP again immediately moved the marker for what it considers fair. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, essentially admitted in an interview last week it doesn’t matter what happens or how much evidence anyone hears, he and other House Republicans are going to continue to attempt to malign a process literally laid down by the Founding Fathers as un-American.

It’s time to give the voters some credit. They know this is not a “Soviet-style” process. Voters who lived through the Cold War know the actual method for the Soviets was to make political opposition or problematic people disappear. No hearings. No evidence gathering. It was off to a prison camp or under the ground. America’s political process may have wandered from its course, but it’s a long way from that.

Mooney, Miller and all House Republicans should stop trying to scare or trick their constituents with this kind of talk. It’s not only blatantly false, it’s insulting to the intelligence of the people who put them in office. True, impeachment is a rare process, but it’s not so rare the American people don’t know how it works.

Funerals for Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bias, Kenneth - 7 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Carrow, Mildred - 1 p.m., Marmet Memorial Gardens, Marmet.

Coleman, Aaron - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.

Fore, George - 7 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Midkiff, Cleo - 2 p.m., Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Outman, Roxine -  2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Shamblin, Cathy - 7 p.m., Christ Community Church, Scott Depot.