Yesterday was a big day when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump. And if you had access to any social media platform, Indian Country filled their timelines with comments on the day, the process, the president, and congressional members.
Comments ranged from tribal citizens from, “Finally!” to the humor sarcasm “You’re FIRED!,” and why are many Natives supporting the Democrats in the House.
Some are also confused about the impeachment process, which we saw on our social media platforms. So let’s clear that up first before getting to Indian Country’s feelings online.
So the House passed two articles of impeachment.
The first article, which is “abuse of power” won the vote with 230 to 197. The second article, “obstruction of Congress” was voted 229 yes and 198 no.
As the Washington Post reported, “Only one article needs to be passed to impeach the president.”
Both articles were enacted. So the president is impeached. “Impeach” means to charge the president for “Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” according to the U.S. Senate.
This was the first part of the impeachment process. Now the articles of impeachment are presented to the Senate for a trial, which is the second part of the process.
If the two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict, the president is removed from office.
Speaking of voting. If you haven’t heard or read already, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, voted “present” on the articles of impeachment.
"After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” she said a statement after the vote.
The representative is Samoan. She was born in American Samoan where the Samoans are the Indigenous people of the Samoan Islands. Her district includes many Native Hawaiians.
With that information, you can guess that many Native Hawaiians were unhappy with her vote.
Sen. Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii and who is running to replace Gabbard’s congressional seat, spoke up about her standing in the middle.
“You don't get a participation trophy 🏆 for voting 'present' on one of the most crucial votes taken this Congress. The 2nd District has been left #voiceless once again. This is unacceptable! #doyourjob #HI02,” he said.
He also told USA Today that “her vote is unacceptable” and “It’s disappointing.”
“The two most consequential votes a member of Congress will ever take are to send our troops into harm’s way...and a vote to impeach the president of the United States,” he told USA Today. “That’s not what the taxpayers of Hawaii sent her here for.”
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One Twitter user said, “I am so disappointed and embarrassed she is my congresswoman.”
Gabrielle wrote, “In 2021, Tulsi will no longer be my rep; @kaikahele will. Her 'present' response abdicated any appearance of leadership. She has been a no-show for our district and will only obfuscate democratic policies.”
Another constituent tweeted, “Hawaiians deserve better. You are our ohana. We are yours. You have a seat at the table and she pushed the chair away. Not right.”
A few are taking a more humorous approach to her vote, like the meme below.
Constituents took the time to let her know their thoughts online and on the phone. One constituent wrote on Twitter, “Just called her Washington office. Voice mail full!”
The rest of Indian Country’s thoughts ranged across the spectrum.
Fran Poowegup on Facebook supported the House’s decision.
“Trump did this to himself. He chose to violate the constitution, he disrespected women, children and he violated his oath of office,” she wrote. “The truth will come out. No man is above the law.”
Once the vote was confirmed, Charlie Amaya on Twitter immediately wrote, “Haha, the colonizer’s president was impeached.”
Amaya compared Trump’s situation with Star Wars to lighten the mood.
“Also, I’ve been watching Star Wars the last few days, and like this eerily resembles what happened in Episode II.”
Of course, Natives can’t mention “Star Wars” without Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda only makes the impeachment madness bearable for Amanda Tachine, Navajo, in her tweet below.
And Navajos know to make this more of a joke as Alyssa Charley did in her tweet.
“When Trump has a trial in Senate to be removed from office..,” she wrote. “To the Skinwalkers, do your thing! All eyes on you!”
Instead of “Star Wars,” Cowlitz comedian Joey Clift referenced “Cats” in his impeachment tweets.
Again, Natives’ thoughts of the impeachment range.
Kenneth Klein slammed the president and the Democrats on Facebook.
“Trump is not in any way a choir boy. He’s brash, abrasive and lacks a lot of social polish. But we did not elect him to be our High Priest,” Klein wrote. “What the Democrats are doing is nothing more than dirty politics. I’m not overjoyed with Trump but it seems to me that the Democrats are doing their best to destroy any chance of independents voting for them.”
Some say this whole charade ensures Trumps re-election.
Others, like Teko Alejo, described this entire charade as “a bipartisan circus.”
“That impeachment of Trump by the House was nothing but a bipartisan circus,” Alejo wrote on Facebook. “If the Dems really thought Trump was a threat they wouldn’t have voted for his increased military spending, space war program, and surveillance of the American people.”
He later clarified that, “the circus I am speaking about is not the process one how he was impeached in the House, but how much this issue became all we saw in the corporate news media, how Democrats are hypocrites, voting to impeach on one hand while supporting and sustaining his policies (policies of US imperialism) on the other, many voting for his nominees (like Klobuchar), and how many Liberals buy into the idea that Trump's impeachment will result in fixing the rot that lies deep within this government.”
Related: 'Sovereignty is nonpartisan'
There are many who hold out hope for the president’s removal from office, but some, like Travis Hallam, say it won’t happen.
“While is [Trump] didnt have 1 Republican to vote against him today (He got 3 Democrats to support him), how can you possibly think any will go against him in the Senate. He will be acquitted but the impeachment stands,” Hallam wrote.
Ruth Hopkins, a Dakota and Lakota Sioux writer said this isn’t about bipartisanship.
“It’s gone beyond Democrat vs. Republican. The Trump administration has shown itself to be anti-Native & the longer he stays, the greater the danger posed to Tribal lands, people & sovereignty,” she tweeted.
While tribal citizens are giving their two cents, many of them are wondering where do tribal leaders stand and demand, “We deserve to know.”
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