Before the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican Senators that they could vote their conscience. But did McConnell and other Republicans really vote their conscience? Let's take a look at the definition of the word.
Conscience: The knowledge of faculty by which we judge of the goodness or wickedness of ourselves.
Ref: A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson, A. M. London, 1755
Conscience: Internal, or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them.
Conscience: The internal acknowledgement or recognition of the moral quality of one's motives or actions; the sense of right or wrong as regards things for which one is responsible; the faculty or principle which pronounces upon the moral quality of one's actions or motives, approving the right and condemning the wrong.
Ref: A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles edited by James A. H. Murray, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889.
Note: This dictionary was originally printed in fascicles (parts) from 1884 to 1928. It was reissued as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in 1933.
Conscience: The faculty of recognizing the distinction between right and wrong in regard to one's one conduct. Conformity to one's own sense of right conduct.
Ref: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language edited by William Morris, New York: American Heritage Publishing Co. 1969
Down through the years, from Johnson's Dictionary, to Webster's Dictionary, to the OED, and then to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of the word conscience has not changed much. But what has changed is that the word conscience has become meaningless to Republican politicians and voters who still follow Donald Trump.
Mitch McConnell and 43 other Republican Senators clearly did not vote their conscience in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. After the voting was concluded, and Donald Trump was ruled not guilty of incitement of insurrection, McConnell stood on the Senate floor and said, "Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day." Practically and morally responsible....
Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans are practically and morally responsible for letting Donald Trump get away with murder. They are practically and morally responsible for letting Trump get away with an insurrection against the United States of America!
Is it because of the Trump Clause?
In the current legal system, there is such a thing as the conscience clause: a clause in a law that relieves persons whose conscientious or religious scruples forbid compliance.
In the current political system, there appears to be such a thing as a Trump Clause: a clause that relieves Republicans from condemning the actions of Donald Trump.
What is sad and even scarier is that the word conscience has become a meaningless word to millions of Republican voters as well. The phrase, Let your conscience be your guide, no longer has any meaning to them. And they are willing to vote for him again. They believe in the Trump Clause: Trump can do no wrong.