I have been hearing a lot about treason lately. It’s all the rage. Everyone is doing it, from members of the Security Council to the highest office of the land, the President of the United States. But what is treason, and are the people being accused actually guilty? And let’s be honest, isn’t treason a good reason to get impeached?
The Constitution of the United States of America declares in Article III Section 3:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
Interestingly enough, treason is the only crime defined by the Constitution. The founding fathers were specific about the definition of treason to avoid convicting people of simply speaking out against the government. That’s called freedom of speech. We get to complain, criticize, and basically bitch and moan about the president, senators and congresspersons that we elect, and any laws they enact.
As Americans, what we can’t do is go beyond speech into action. We can’t wage war against America, and we can’t act to help other countries destroy the United States.
Don’t confuse treason with dissent. The framers of the Constitution wanted to be very clear that dissent is NOT treason. Dissent is having an opinion that differs from those in power. Dissent is speaking up, marching in Washington, expressing outrage, writing a blog, publishing news articles, and creating artwork, film, and television shows that parody the president and his dysfunctional inner circle. That is wholly American. Making fun of and criticizing the government is as American as apple pie.
You know what else isn’t treason? Talking to Russia. Even giving them the country’s secrets. That’s called espionage. We have to be careful with our definitions. It’s actually pretty hard to be accused and convicted of treason. Even if our current government were found to be colluding with Russia, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets, the likely charges would consist of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and not treason. Unless of course, we somehow found ourselves at war with Russia. If we were at war with Russia and they were considered one of the “enemies” of America and individuals within the government were found to be giving them “comfort and aid,” then that would be treason.
Treason can get someone impeached, but so can other offenses.
The Constitution of the United States declares in Article II Section 4:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
If it were true that government officials were providing secrets, accepting bribes, or basically colluding with outside governments in a way that is an abuse of public trust and a misuse of power, that would be considered “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and it would be an impeachable offense.
The writers of the Constitution likely kept the details of an impeachable offense a bit vague. As if saying to the Senate (which is charged with the impeachment of a president), you get to decide based on your gut feeling that the president is not acting in accordance with the values of the United States of America.
Power is first granted by the people to their leaders, and it is up to the leadership to keep all branches of the government in check. The definition of treason is made clear, but it is up to the leadership of the day to recognize and convict those in power of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
So take heart, there’s more than one way to impeach an aristo-cat as long as those in the role of governmental leadership have the courage to stand up for and defend the ideals of the United States of America against tyranny from within.Follow the Deconstructing Doctor on her own blog at https://deconstructingdoctor.com