What are the “West Virginia Values” that our 2nd Congressional District Representative says he is fighting for?
In a recent newsletter, Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., proudly identifies himself as one of the 30-plus Republican representatives who broke into the SCIF room where, he said, “Soviet-style hearings are taking place.” He writes that he is protecting West Virginia values by fighting back against this “sham” impeachment inquiry (now taking place in open hearings), calling it a “backroom process to remove a dually [sic] elected President of the United States.”
Never mind that there isn’t any such term as “Soviet-style.” The Russian word “soviet” simply translates as an elected council, an assembly to advise and shape local law. The original philosophy of communism, before the USSR-era, was based on the collective, the sharing of resources rather than monopolizing them (which happens with a monarchy) or the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” competition for them (which happens with capitalism).
Of course, that socialist Golden Rule didn’t last long, especially once Stalin came to power. Taking the words “Soviet,” “Socialist” and “Republic” entirely out of context, the USSR became a union of fascist totalitarian-style states that seized private property and business, and even entire sovereign countries on its borders. We still associate the authoritative, corrupt and secretive style of the Soviets by how they treated, and still treat, their own citizens, sending opposition candidates, dissidents and independent journalists to Siberian gulags and poisoning their own people, even retired spies living abroad.
The modern Russian Federation does have an impeachment process similar to ours. It has been used three times since 1993 against the same leader. But the last real strong-arm removal of one of their premiers happened with Nikita Khrushchev, a man who criticized Stalin’s “enemy of the people” phrase, once Stalin was safely dead, of course.
In his 1956 “Secret Speech” to the Soviet Congress, Khrushchev said, “Stalin showed in a whole series of cases his intolerance and his abuse of power; he often chose the path of repression not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not committed any crimes against the party or the Soviet Government.” In 1964, Khrushchev’s last mistake was to take a very long vacation to Scandinavia. The Russian people were told that he suddenly “retired due to advanced age and ill health.”
Economically, Russia is still morphing into a “free market” system, even though the central government still owns all the oil and gas. Its new generation of “Russian oligarchs” are eager to make lucrative real estate deals with us, while our “American oligarchs” conveniently overlook Russian intervention into our 2016 general election, not to mention the sanctions placed on them for their incursion into Ukraine.
That’s a difficult reversal for those of us who grew up reading Mad Magazine’s cartoon “Spy vs. Spy” as children and were taught to dive under our desks to protect ourselves from Russian bombs. And now, as adults, we have to protect ourselves from Russian bots infiltrating the computers on our desks, with little intervention from an administration that apparently looks the other way — and has yet to be absolved of colluding with them.
So when Mr. Mooney used the phrase “Soviet-style” to describe our impeachment hearings, it’s possible he was merely referring to the quiet coup that ousted Khrushchev.
But that would hardly describe the process granted to us in the U.S. Constitution, written by our Founding Fathers, that allows for an investigation of a sitting elected leader of our country to be done in public, with bipartisan committee representation, reported on by a free press and debated in casual conversation at every level of the country without fear of retribution.
That’s hardly Soviet-style. That would be more like “American-style.”
Perhaps Mr. Mooney doesn’t recall the words of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham about Bill Clinton in 1999: “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” If honor and integrity were “West Virginia values” worth fighting for, impeachment would have started long ago, led by Alex Mooney of our 2nd Congressional District.
After reminding us that “one of the cornerstones of our judicial system is that you are innocent until proven guilty,” our congressman — without hearing any evidence collected by any committee — has determined guilt and innocence, all by himself. He is the self-appointed judge and jury. The Democrats are guilty, and Trump is innocent. That can only mean that he has reached a verdict before hearing any facts, documentation or testimony.
Now, that definitely sounds like “Soviet-style” to me.