My Impeachable Offenses

I can’t say my impeachment came as a total surprise. It’s been in the air. Those around me had grumbled about my most flamboyant or frequently recurring failures. My inability to apply rules consistently or to follow through on executive orders. Underenforcement of policies, they said.

There were the things I promised I would do or just repeatedly said I would do and then didn’t. Rules I established for my constituency, which is to say the family members I live with, and then as can happen, barely enforced, sometimes with blatant favoritism.

It was I, for example, who issued the decree about making one’s bed. No one, I said, should leave the house without making the bed first. It’s important, I explained, to set good habits. The underlying principle was entirely aboveboard and had even been endorsed by a four-star admiral of the U.S. Navy and best-selling author as “a little thing that can change your life” and “maybe the world.” Adm. William McRaven’s commands were undoubtedly carried through without delay or excuses.

But me? I could say “Don’t forget to make your bed!” several times in a single morning and occasionally into the afternoon — it didn’t make a whit of difference. Did my kids forget? They did. But the fault lay with me, creator of the rule. It was on me to inspect the beds, to re-articulate the rules and if necessary, to ensure consequences were put in place in response to lapses.

Instead, sometimes I “didn’t feel like” going upstairs to see if my daughter had complied. I made excuses for one or another of my sons because I understood that they were busy and that the opportunity cost of making the bed might be arriving at school without a charged-up Chromebook. Kids came and went out of the house, crossing the border without even a cursory fling of the bedspread.

Was this a “willful and systemic refusal” to enforce on my part? Did I, in fact, obstruct efforts to hold me accountable?

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