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I had to do a lot of driving yesterday, part of our relocating to Asheville from Raleigh (9 hrs back&forth!), and did a good deal of listening to the radio. NPR is one of the stations I listen to a good deal, while some of their stuff has a liberal slant, a lot of it is very good programming. And it's good to hear more than one side of things.
Well, they had on Alan Dershowitz to talk about why Trump should not be impeached, which I thought was good reporting. They also had another distinguished professor who takes a somewhat different point of view, to make an actual balanced presentation. That's what I consider to be good, professional media practice.
But here's the sad part. Dershowitz is and always has been a true classic Liberal. He has defended assorted nasty people he didn't like at all, some he held in contempt, communists, radicals, fanatics, etc. Because he believes in the principle of everyone equal before the law and entitled to rights like Free Speech, however odious, and presumption of innocence until the weight of evidence proves guilt. He objected to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, while not approving in any way of Bill's history with women. He didn't vote for Trump, finds him deeply objectionable, dislikes many of his policies, and has been very up front about his opposition to his behavior as President.
BUT... he reads the Constitution and the meaning of the Founders to be very clear that a real crime must be proven, not just incompetence or obnoxiousness, for impeachment to proceed. So far no real crime has been proven, and it turns out that mere collusion with a foreign government by a politician does not fall within the federal definitions of a crime, EVEN IF IT WERE PROVEN. Which of course it has not been, after a year and a half of turning over every stone anyone can find.
The other professor simply reads the Constitution differently, so that any kind of transgression that Congress thinks is bad enough qualifies as a crime. However, he did agree with Dershowitz that until a report comes in that proves somehow that Trump colluded with the Russians, suborned perjury, hid or destroyed evidence, etc, that impeachment cannot be tried. (He clearly hopes that the Mueller report will demonstrate any of those things so impeachment could begin.)
It was a very reasonable discussion. Here's the sad part.
All kinds of inputs came into the program objecting strongly to their giving Dershowitiz any kind of hearing at all. He was castigated there, and of course in many other places, as a traitor, sellout, and worse, that should not be allowed to speak anywhere in public. This is how hateful people have become on the Left, that a 79 year old man of enormous distinction as a lifelong passionate Liberal is instantly not just disagreed with, not just disapproved of, but is hated and must not be allowed to be heard. Simply because his principles compel him to not just go along with the burning groupthink of extremists, I cannot think of any clearer evidence of the emotional extremism that has taken over far too many people today, which betrays the basic principles of not just Liberal thought, but American thought. That anyone can say they are a Liberal and yet act this way is a fantastic demonstration of how twisted one's thoughts can become. And how dangerous.