Peter Bergerson, a Florida Gulf Coast University professor of political science, is already thinking about how he will teach future generations about the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“Discuss the president’s side of the argument and present the Democrat’s side of the argument,” Peter said. “And then we would discuss back and forth and perhaps I might take a vote.”
Like Peter, current students are wondering how they will tell their kids about this time in our history. As the professor said, it has happened only four times in “240-some years.”
“Yeah politics,” said Dylan R., an FGCU sophomore. “It’s nasty now. Like they’re dividing the whole country worse than it is.”
On Wednesday afternoon, following a four-month battle, the Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump on charges related to a pressure campaign against Ukraine to announce an investigation into a political rival. There was a 53-47 vote nearly along party lines, which fell short of the 67 needed to convict the president.
In a tweet following the acquittal, Trump declared “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax” while announcing he will make a public statement about the outcome on Thursday.
While others are trying to make sense of the proceedings, considering many of the students grew up under former President Barack Obama and they only have that administration to compare the impeachment proceedings.
“You just grow up and, oh, suddenly he’s getting impeached, oh all these things are happening, oh, there’s all this fake news,” said Miranda Tavtigian, a senior at FGCU. “It’s like, whoa, I don’t, wait, when did this start happening?”
There is a mutual agreement that future generations should make up their minds after hearing the context and arguments from both sides.
“If they didn’t live in the time, they don’t know exactly what was going on,” said Derek Y., a junior at FGCU. “It is important to explain what both sides are saying.”
The political divisiveness in the country now is similar to what Peter remembers experiencing during former President Richard Nixon’s impeachment trial. That is also something Peter said he teaches students about before talking about Trump’s impeachment trial.