Many are celebrating the acquittal of Donald Trump in his Senate trial. Others, of course, are lamenting it.
I am more shocked that 57 Senators could vote for a conviction. The only practical result of a conviction would have been to prevent Trump from running in the next election. That would be irrelevant unless the Democrats believed he had a real chance of getting re-elected. In other words, their intent was to subvert the will of the people, to subvert democracy. To deny the entire population the right to vote.
This was an attempted coup.
It was also a blatant assault on freedom of speech. Trump was being tried for something he said, and for campaign rhetoric. Besides the issue of human rights, freedom of speech is necessary, as John Stuart Mill demonstrated, to have a functioning democracy. This is why no representative can be sued for slander, for example, for anything they say on the floor of the House of Commons. It is essential that political speech by elected officials be unrestricted. Unless all views are heard, the people are not being allowed a choice.
This was an attempted coup, shameless and in broad daylight. It was an attempt to overturn the constitution of the United States, and its system of government. The regrettable January 6 incident, whoever was responsible, was not.
And this attempted coup in the Senate came alarmingly close to succeeding. With alarmingly little objection from anyone.