Periodically, I write a post that begs for the title “Tears of Shame”, or some variation of that. Since 2016, there have been eight such posts … tonight makes nine.
Healthy debate, civil discourse … I’m all for both of those. If I make a statement, you have an opposing point of view, then fine … let’s each present our views and see if we can find a middle ground. Even if we cannot find that middle ground, we will have each gained a better understanding of why we think the way we do. This is good for a friendship, it is good for opposing factions within a nation, and it is good for international relations – much better than lobbing bombs. This is how civilized society remains civilized.
However, when two people disagree and one of those people has neither facts nor sound basis for his views, then his only way of expressing himself is likely to be personal attacks and lies. It is a tactic that, unfortunately, works well for some people, though it has ended many a friendship. It is also a very unprofessional way to conduct the business of government.
The republican response to the witness testimony in the ongoing impeachment hearings is an example of such. Testimony after testimony by credible witnesses, career civil service employees and others, has put the republicans at a loss. They have zero truthful or valid explanations for the actions by Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Giuliani and others. So … they attack. Who do they attack? Everybody. Adam Schiff, whose job is to conduct these hearings in a professional manner and get to the truth. They attack the media. They attack “Democrats” in general.
But, the worst of their attacks are not only vicious, unfounded and brutal … but they have put human lives, the lives of people who have dedicated their entire career to the service of this nation, in danger. Their attacks on these people, in my opinion, raises the victims of their attacks to an even higher level of esteem, and frankly the attacks make the republicans doing the attacking look like the fools they are. They also bring down the reputation of the entire Republican Party, where I assume there are some good people. (sarcasm intended)
These attacks would be laughable except for the current climate of hate and divisiveness in this nation – a climate that has been largely created by none other than Donald Trump. But, they are not laughable, for in this nation we have 40% of the adult population who still support Donald Trump, who do not care about facts, but rather believe whatever Trump and his cronies over at Fox ‘News’ tell them to believe. And they own guns. Some of them own lots of guns. Please note that I am not saying all republicans are bloody idiots that are going to go out and shoot one of these witnesses for speaking against their beloved leader. Not at all. However, there is a portion that would consider it their patriotic duty. You know it and I know it.
A point in case is Alexander Vindman, who testified on Tuesday that he became so concerned during a July 25 phone call in which President Trump asked Ukraine’s president for help with political investigations that he reported his alarm to a superior. Immediately, Fox ‘News’ personas Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson jumped on the attack wagon.On Ingraham’s show, The Ingraham Angle, it was suggested by her guest John Yoo, with no evidence whatsoever, that Colonel Vindman was guilty of ‘espionage’, a felony punishable by death. It should be noted here that Colonel Vindman received a Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq. He is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who was 3 years old when his family fled to the United States. Even some republicans were incensed by this, including Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, and Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who called Mr. Yoo’s accusation “shameful”.
Senator Ron Johnson, a republican from Wisconsin wrote …
“I believe a significant number of bureaucrats . . . resent [Trump’s] unorthodox style and his intrusion on their ‘turf’. They react by leaking to the press and participating in the ongoing effort to sabotage his policies and, if possible, remove him from office. It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”
On CNN’s New Day, republican Sean Duffy, a former representative from Wisconsin also called Vindman’s loyalty into question …
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy. He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.”
Tucker Carlson has an even more elaborate conspiracy theory, claiming that the Ukraine has repeatedly asked Vindman to take over their entire military!
And then, Vindman began getting threats against himself and his family. The U.S. military stands guard and ready to move Colonel Vindman and his family to a secure location on a nearby military base if it is felt that there is an imminent danger. Other witnesses have also reported getting anonymous threats. Because they believe that their duty is to the country, not the ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office. Because they told the truth.
An attorney for Colonel Vindman, David Pressman, has sent Fox News a letter requesting a public retraction of the comment on Laura Ingraham’s show that suggested Vindman was guilty of espionage. However, even if Fox retracts and apologizes, it is far too little, too late. Words, once spoken, can never be unheard.
I would ask my republican friends, if in fact I had any left, if this is the legacy they wish to leave, if this is the nation they believe in, and if they are proud of the people, from Donald Trump on down the line, who have so terribly abused those who were willing to tell an uncomfortable truth in order to try to preserve the integrity of this nation. I, for one, am not proud. If I were asked by a stranger tomorrow my country of origin, I think I would rattle off the name of the first country I could think of … Sardinia … Cambodia … Sri Lanka.