'A Christmas Carol' for Lindsey Graham -- impeachment ghosts may come back to haunt him: Opinion

History could judge the senator harshly for choosing party over country.

December 19, 2019, 5:11 AM

This is a time of year where we reflect on our lives, spend time with family and celebrate the holidays by hopefully bringing light and comfort to others. And of course, many of us watch Christmas shows or read stories about the meaning of Christmas. One of my favorites is "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, written in 1843, but still carrying broad truths about life and love and how we relate to our fellow man even to this day.

In the midst of all this, the nation has been consumed by a historic political moment related to the impeachment of President Trump. Yesterday, the president of the United States was impeached by the House of Representatives and those two articles now go to the Senate for a constitutionally mandated trial which will decide whether Trump is convicted and removed from office. Regardless of what happens in the Senate, impeachment has only occurred two other times in our American history.

Let us reflect on the power of this moment. Keep in mind in life and politics the destination reached doesn’t determine the meaning, the moment does. It is the journey or the steps we take in life which give it purpose and meaning, not the final landing point. If you fall in love with someone, it is not ultimately if you get married to that person that determines the truth and meaning of that love, it is the love shared in the moments along the way.

As the articles of impeachment head to the Senate, I would like to tell a story based on Dickens' famous Christmas story and how some senators might want to reflect on the seriousness of the charges and the moment in which they find themselves. Here, I am thinking about Sen. Lindsey Graham, who as a congressman in 1998, pushed for the impeachment of President Clinton, and now has become one of President Trump's biggest defenders.

Maybe over the holidays and before the Senate trial, three ghosts will visit Sen. Graham. The first apparition, the Ghost of Impeachment Past, could take Graham on a journey to his statements and actions in the past about why impeachment was important and the need for Congress to push back on the executive branch. He could see all the times he engaged with what he is the opposite of today. He could relive all those moments of his past regarding these important issues.

Then the Ghost of Impeachment Present could take him to today, where the president has acted in contrast to the demands of our Constitution and see the reality of what is going on. The ghost could show Graham that if he removed the robe of party, he would see the present quite differently than with his red robe holding him close to the president. Graham, a onetime Trump critic who now walks nearly in lockstep with the president, could see where the facts would take him as he awoke to what is happening in front of his eyes.

Finally, the Ghost of Impeachment Future would take the senator’s hand in its bony fingers on an important journey into the future. It would show Graham what might our system of government look like and how might the Constitution be damaged if he continues on his current path. The Ghost would show Graham the possible darkness ahead for our country if the president isn’t held accountable, and the loss of our crucial checks and balances and damage to our institutions.

Dickens told a story of redemption and the truth of what Christmas really means. Let us hope in this moment that our senators can clearly see their constitutional duty, and that unless they put country over party, our democracy might be seriously damaged.

As Jacob Marley warned Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol": “Mankind was my business. The common good was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business.”

Wishing you each a wonderful holiday, and praying our leaders pause in this important moment and reflect on the meaning of it all as each of us must do as well.

Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.

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