Witnesses subject to Trumpian vengeance
The Bible tells us:
Vengeance is mine … saith the Lord (Romans 12:19).
Since the impeachment trial has ended and Trump has been acquitted, animosities linger, further denying a nation’s healing. Trump has fired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindmin (top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council) and Gordon Sondland, European Union Ambassador, in retaliation for their testimonies.
CNN reported that:
Vindman had told lawmakers during his November congressional testimony that he reported concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine to the top National Security Council lawyer within hours of the call, and that some of the changes he tried to make to the since-published transcript were left out, though he didn’t say why. Vindman also told lawmakers that later, he was told not to discuss the call with anyone else.
John Haltiwanger and Sonam Sheth, of Business Insider, posted their article, Trump fires impeachment witness Gordon Sondland as EU ambassador, noting:
Sondland confirmed a quid pro quo and implicated Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former national security advisor John Bolton.
[Sondland Testified] “Members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?” Sondland’s opening statement said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Sondland said he pressured Ukraine “at the express direction of the President of the United States.”
Vengeance is a sweet tool
The nation is aghast at Trump’s reaction, but perhaps shouldn’t be. As forewarned by Trump himself, quoting Alfred Hitchcock, he stated in a 2014 tweet:
Revenge is sweet and not fattening.
The poetry of Dylan Thomas springs to mind in his famous lines beseeching his father to linger and not die too soon. He pleads:
Do not go gentle
Into that good night.
Rage, rage against
The dying of the light.
Vengeance is not death and the wrath of Trump will dissipate. Or will it? It’s a good question to consider for the forthcoming election campaign. It’s also good to consider should Trump be defeated at the polls. Will he go gently? Will he go at all? Or will he rage and rage against what the nation thinks is right?
What endurance and resilience are needed?
Nine months from now the ballots should be counted and the presidential winner will be declared. What endurance do we need and what resilience will be required over this span of time?
It’s a legitimate concern as we look now, hope now, that the nation can heal from the rancor and vitriol on full display these past few months. Here’s my worry:
Our form of democracy selects and commissions our nation’s leaders their respective places in Washington, D.C. The intent for this representative democracy is that these people will reflect us – our values, our aspirations, and the solving of our needs. Are we now in some kind of magical looking glass wherein the roles are switched? Will this nation – we the people – now become the reflection of the anger and vengeance displayed by these leaders? Must our question become:
What endurance do we need and what resilience will be required of us after the vote is taken?
We assume that our presidential elections are the fruits of a working and healthy democracy. It isn’t. We set aside 46% of the votes, making them void and without representation, in every presidential election. Trump won the election with merely 20.6% of the registered voters. These are the votes for Trump that were captured and actually represented in the Electoral College. (Clinton was represented by only 16.8% of the registered voters.) So, the question then transforms into:
What endurance do those whose votes are silenced need and what resilience will be required of them after the vote is taken?
Presidential elections are not democratic – but can be
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) is the healthy voting option every state should consider. Erasing the winner-takes-all restriction and allowing all votes to matter, EVV delivers a more democratic result.
Barack Obama gave warning:
Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention. Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.
Leaders must reflect who we are
On the other hand, can we be – will we be – consoled by the observation of Maine’s Senator Collins observation [of Trump]:
… she believes the president has learned a “pretty big lesson” from impeachment and will be “much more cautious” about seeking foreign assistance in the future.
“I believe that the president has learned from this case,” Collins said in an exclusive interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell on Tuesday, before a speech on the Senate floor about her decision. “The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”
Will the admonitions delivered in the Biblical book of Romans sink in? Will Washington vitriol be calmed? Will leaders once again reflect the better natures of their constituents or will we reflect them?
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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team