The Atlantic

Impeachment Is a Refusal to Accept the Unacceptable

Taking action against Trump is a rejection of the idea that nothing matters.
Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

In 1838, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech on “the perpetuation of our political institutions“—better known today as the Lyceum Address. Dwelling on the threats facing the American political structure, he argued that the United States was protected from foreign invasion. “At what point, then,” Lincoln asked, “is the approach of danger to be expected?”

“I answer: If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

The description of the United States as a “nation of freemen” three decades before emancipation was a bit of a stretch. But there is wisdom in

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