In this image from video, Bruce Castor, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, speaks after the Senate reached a deal to skip witness testimony during the second impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

By Belinda D. Mpagazehe

I have often wondered how some of our congressmen/women have rationalized their votes not to convict President Trump during the early days of 2020. Was there remorse, I wondered? Was there sorrow…a sense, even, of co-culpability?

I have imagined their regrets and rationalizations as they watched our former president continually make pin-holes, followed by punches; followed by poker-slashes at The Constitution of the United States of America. Writing this encumbers me with a note of dissonance because it was our president who was cannibalizing The Law of the Land—not an outsider. Could President Trump have been a self-serving pawn for Russia and other foreign entities, who seek our demise? Could those who did not convict the first time around be co-dependents as they sought to enable him to derail our democracy for their own self-interest?

While studying the book of Esther, recently, I was struck by some of the similarities of the events that took place then to those we are experiencing now. Esther had been asked to do all that she could in her position as queen to stop the annihilation of a people—her people; her nation. Out of fear for her life, and maybe even for her position she was reluctant to approach the king. She may have been reminded of the treatment of her predecessor, Queen Vashti, and did not want to lose her power and position as Vashti had lost hers. So, she rationalized why it would not be politically expedient for her to take a stand at that time.

If you have read this historical account, you know that she changed her mind. Becoming concerned for her people, she put aside anxiety for her own safety as she interceded for her exiled countrymen. Why did she do this? It was at the urging of her cousin/guardian, Mordecai who said to her

Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal (political) position for such a time as this?”

Esther’s response was to put the deliverance of her people ahead of her own interest. In doing so, she received the courage to do good rather than evil. Doing good is to love others as we love ourselves. Doing evil is to allow lustful and selfish ambitions to blind us to what is the good and right thing to do. Esther chose the good part. She said

I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.

I especially recommend reading or re-reading of this account to members of Congress who are tasked, yet again, as jurors in an impeachment trial for former President Donald J. Trump. Members of Congress, who voted against conviction during his first impeachment trial, have now been given another chance to do what is right before God and for the good of this nation. I do not say for the good of your party, pocketbook, nor, for a pathway to power. Neither, do I say for the former president but for the good of the nation.

Leaders of the United States of America, I implore you not to think that you would receive anything good from voting to acquit Donald Trump for a second time. You may escape retribution by your constituents, but you will be held accountable by your Creator. Think very carefully about who you would rather not offend: God, or god?

Do you really want to kowtow to a person like Trump who, if you do not do every bit of his bidding, would do nothing in the face of danger to save your life? Look at him, even now. He and his lawyers are busy making scapegoats of people he encouraged to break the law. He said he would pay their lawyer fees if they were arrested. Do you think he is now arranging for their legal fees? Allegedly, there are people who are still waiting for payment for jobs that were completed long ago and some more recently. He will have no further use for you after you have brought in this last impeachment coup.

You are given the chance for a “do-over”. Don’t waste it. To do so would be to betray the nation and to deny truth. Can you live with that? Look at the cost our nation incurred because you did not convict him at his first trial. Now is the time to count the cost of your prior inactions. Now is the time to think about how disgusted you would be if you allow it to happen again. If you do not convict this time, you will not get another opportunity. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me”. Surely, there have been times when you were ashamed of having voted to acquit Donald Trump the first time.

Look, no matter what type of defense his team puts together, the very fact that he has bookend impeachments during his one-term tenure is preponderant enough reason that the verdicts should come back “Convicted” and “Disqualified”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you vote, think of these words from our National Anthem

“O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” Then ask yourself, “How long could that banner wave in each succeeding Congress if the members were all as I am?

Belinda D. Mpagazehe

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