Political Awareness through the Impeachment Inquiry
Since the beginning of the U.S. government, only three presidents have faced impeachment inquiries: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Out of those presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both were charged with impeachment, while Richard Nixon stepped down from office.
No president has been formally removed from office.
President Donald Trump is the fourth president to face an impeachment inquiry.
The House of Representative Democrats announced Tuesday morning the Articles of Impeachment. President Trump is formally accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The clauses deal with President Trump’s refusal to comply with congress and ignoring multiple subpoenas.
The Senate must hold trials to determine their decision regarding impeachment.
Katie Bauman, social studies teacher, has been leading discussions about the impeachment trials in her Contemporary Issues and Politics and Conflict classes.
Bauman said she views the impeachment inquiry as a teachable moment for her classes.
“This was an opportunity for me to take what was going on in real life and apply it in the classroom,” Bauman said
According to a Messenger poll sent Nov. 26, out of the 200 students who answered, 83 percent said their teachers did not mention the impeachment inquiries in class.
“Some teachers might shy away from it because the topic is so divisive,” Bauman said. “Maybe they don’t know how to have those controversial conversations in their classes.”
In Bauman’s Contemporary Issues and Politics and Conflict classes, she often shows the impeachment hearings live. She said she has students in her classes who are in favor of impeachment and who are against impeachment.
“I try to provide an unbiased look at the impeachment inquiry,” Bauman said.
Bauman emphasized the importance of informed citizenship, especially for MHS students approaching the voting age.
Shruti Punnachalil, senior, thinks the impeachment inquiry is a historical moment. Whether or not the impeachment is approved will set a precedent for the US, Punnachalil said.
“If he doesn’t get impeached, I think it’ll be indicative of how damaging our political sphere’s divisiveness can really get,” Punnachalil said.
Punnachalil also stresses the importance of political awareness. Punnachalil said that people have an obligation to our country and people to care about the government, its policies and how it affects others.
For students who want to become more politically aware, Punnachalil recommends joining politics club, model UN, or speech and debate.
“These clubs are amazing opportunities to be exposed to issues across the world and in our own country,” Punnachalil said. “They give us the agency to make a change.”
Andrew Corrow, sophomore, is a member of politics club.
Corrow, who spends a lot of time reading up on news and politics, said it is important to be conscientious of what is going on in the government.
“You don’t have to be a political junky, you just have to know the basics,” Corrow said. “Because there are so few presidents to ever face impeachment, this is an incredibly historical moment. This is something our grandchildren are going to be asking us about.”
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