America today is not the America I grew up in. It is not the America whose flawed but aspirational history I studied in school. It is not the America whose founding principles I knew and understood. It is not the America I served for seven years as a Marine pilot.
Today, America is a country whose leadership choses to ignore science, a country where facts no longer matter, and a country where the truth is under attack. It is an America where elected and appointed officials have allowed the President to engage in outrageous, dangerous, and morally reprehensible behavior without the courage to challenge or censure him. They have ignored facts, behavior, and consequences in the defense of the indefensible.
Under earlier Republican administrations this could never have happened. The party stood for principles of small government, fiscal frugality, strong national defense, and global stability. Today, those principles are nowhere in evidence, because these representatives have sacrificed their honor and integrity to defend a despotic bully who cares for nothing but himself and his clan. In an unforeseeable abdication of their responsibility, Republican leadership has chosen loyalty to Trump over loyalty to the American people. The reason for their changing loyalty is an epidemic of viral cowardice, a superbug that repels the conventional remedy of truthful open inquiry and public disclosure. As a consequence, the absence of an antidote has allowed the superbug to attack and undermine the institutions and personal protections that have made this democracy the gold standard among nations.
In the three years of his presidency, Mr. Trump has, with the complicity of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, without serious Republican objection…
- Prevented the Senate from addressing the threat of foreign (especially Russian) interference in American elections – despite the consensus of 17 American intelligence agencies and the findings of the Mueller Report that Russia was a significant actor attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
- Withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accords in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is threatened by a global climate crisis. 194 nations, including Russia and North Korea, are signatories. Syria, Nicaragua, and the United States are the only non-signers.
- Withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran nuclear treaty leaving France, Germany, UK, Russia, and China unsupported by the US and allowing Iran to rebuild its nuclear capability.
- Withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty with Russia allowing the resumption of a nuclear arms race between the two countries that already possess the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
- Withdrawn Special Forces in support of the Kurdish militia opposing ISIS thereby giving permission to Turkey to drive the Kurds from their homes and Russia to become the dominant foreign power in Syria.
- Rolled back environmental regulations, decreasing the acreage of protected Federal lands and allowing the expansion of fossil fuel and other extractive industries.
- Gutted the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and brought a federal lawsuit asking it to be declared unconstitutional thereby eliminating protections against predatory consumer finance practices.
- Brought a lawsuit to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional which would deny coverage to the 20 million newly covered ACA insured.
- Imposed draconian restrictions on foreign immigration – a decrease in the number of tourist visas, a decrease in the number of H1B work visas, a decrease in the total number of visas, limitations on asylum seekers, and a blocking tactic to restrict asylum seeking migrants from applying at the border
- Failed to bring HR-8, a bipartisan firearms background check bill, to a Senate vote in a year that has seen 38 mass school shootings.
- Failed to acknowledge the constitutional wrongdoing a president who withheld congressionally authorized military support for Ukraine in order to obtain an investigation into a domestic political rival.
- Engaged in shadow diplomacy in Ukraine using Rudi Giuliani, an untrained campaign donor-diplomat, and two profiteering thugs to manipulate a foreign head of state into granting a personal political favor and thereby bypass normal State Department channels and protocols.
- Disparaged, demeaned, and fired non-partisan American intelligence, law enforcement, and foreign service officers who dared speak candidly about how he is undermining their institutions and smeared their reputations.
- Violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in order to profit personally by continuing to operate his businesses while in office.
Democrats in the House of Representatives are currently engaged in an impeachment inquiry, seeking to establish whether Mr. Trump engaged in activities that violated his sacred trust that would warrant his removal from office. Republicans have opposed the inquiry with a defense that relies on procedural objections. They have criticized the testimony of non-partisan witnesses because they claim it’s hearsay evidence and inadmissible in a criminal trial.
There is ample evidence of wrongdoing in this case and every first-year law student knows there are significant exceptions to the hearsay rule, but there is another simpler answer to their objections – bring forward the people with firsthand knowledge. Bring forward the people who participated in the alleged wrongdoing. Interrogate Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Rudi Giuliani, Gordon Sondland, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman. Let the principals testify and provide the documents that support or refute the disputed testimony. So far, the administration has blocked the production of documents and ordered administration officials not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Nevertheless, several career officials have testified in defiance of the order. We now know a good portion of the truth, but if we want the whole truth let’s hear from the others.
When scientists want to counteract a virus they investigate, analyze, strategize and experiment to find a remedy. Superbugs are difficult. Pathogens become resistant and adapt to previously effective remedies. The American people need to resist and adapt to the Republican’s defense. Cowardice is a virus and the antidote is courage. Let’s demand it of our elected leaders. Let’s ask them to challenge White House obstructionism and restore bipartisanship in defense of our democracy. Shine a light on the president’s actions and behaviors. Bring forward his best defense and let us decide if he has violated the Constitutional standards our Founders put in place.
In 1950, seven Republican Senators broke with the party and spoke out against Senator Joseph McCarthy’s bullying anti-communist crusade. In a “Declaration of Conscience” the seven, led by Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, declared “As an American, I am shocked at the way Republicans and Democrats alike are playing directly into the Communist design of “confuse, divide and conquer.” As an American, I don’t want a Democratic administration “whitewash” or “cover-up” any more than I want a Republican smear or witch hunt”. Let’s hear it for MCS – no whitewash and no witch hunt. Let’s find out the truth by attacking the cowardice virus.