Listen to audio version of this article
GLEN ROCK – The air was quite cold – even a bit icy – but slightly more than a hundred people gathered Tuesday afternoon to support removing Donald Trump as president.
“Impeach and remove,” the crowd chanted at one time during the hour-long event. Signs read “No one is above the law” and “Impeach Trump: Make America Great Again.”
The location was an office building parking lot in this Bergen County town, but it was not your ordinary office building. This was the district headquarters of Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
Gottheimer, whose Fifth District ranges over liberal, moderate and conservative areas, has walked the proverbial tight-rope all year when it comes to impeachment. But Monday night, the congressman said, yes, he will go along with his Democratic colleagues and support impeachment. That – along with the weather – may have held down the crowd, Organizers said about 600 had “signed up” to attend the event.
Just for the record, a Gottheimer staffer inside the office said he couldn’t talk to the press and a spokesman for the congressman in Washington wasn’t available.
A number of speakers exhorted the crowd by ticking off the president’s misdeeds and urging people to “stand up and fight back.”
One speaker, Dana Glazer of Ridgewood, said democracy can die when people do nothing. This is not a new theme, of course, but it may strike some as over-the-top rhetoric.
Still, it dominates the pro-impeachment side of the argument.
Glazer could have mentioned John Stuart Mill, who wrote, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
Instead, he referenced the rise of Nazism in Germany, suggesting that when decent people are apathetic to threats to democracy, truly awful things can happen. Generally speaking, Nazi references often seem misplaced, given the fact the unmitigated horrors of Nazi Germany are – fortunately – hard to duplicate.
I asked one man what I thought was a good question. Is impeachment worth the effort if the Senate doesn’t convict Trump, which seems a certainty, He said, yes, it is, contending that a statement against the president must be made,
David Marain, another speaker, struck a more practical chord.
He asked if any of those in attendance had friends or relatives in “red” states. If so, he urged those who do to ask them to pressure their Republican senators to change their minds on impeachment.
“Anything is possible when we come out like this,” Marain said to the chilled crowd.
He was wearing a New York Giants’ shirt. Another man at the rally was wearing a New York Knicks’ cap.
As you can see, whether it is sports or politics, hope springs eternal.