Many letters have been written to support or oppose the impeachment of President Trump. None have been written on some issues that have arisen as a result of the impeachment hearings that should unite all Americans of all political parties. This letter does that.
First, the secret ballot is a hallmark of not only our electoral process but of all democratic governments. It is a protection against punishing those who did not vote for the party in power. Yet, at least one member of the House of Representatives did question witnesses on whether they voted for President Trump during the course of the impeachment hearings. Further, that member of the House of Representatives then at least implied (and possibly stated) that if the witnesses did not vote for the President then their testimony would be prejudicial and thus should be ignored.
Can any of us imagine a criminal trial where the witnesses could be dismissed as liars because they voted for the wrong politician? Can any of us imagine being punished or losing a job only because they voted for the wrong politician? Yet those are the penalties we are seeing right now for witnesses and government employees who did not vote for President Trump. The problem for all Americans is none of us will vote for the winning candidate all of the time and thus all of us could be punished at times for voting for the losing candidate.
Second, all Americans should first be loyal to our nation. Loyalty to any particular party or politician cannot take precedence over loyalty to our country. If loyalty to a party or person ever becomes more important than loyalty to our nation and its principles of democracy, then we will have a political process that is commonly known as a dictatorship.
Third, we have a tradition of tolerance. Tolerance demands respect for the beliefs of others and a willingness to listen to and understand the beliefs of others. None of us can say the impeachment hearings showed tolerance when members of Congress attacked each other and the witnesses who did not share their political beliefs.
President Trump was correct when he said it was sad day for America when the House of Representatives held impeachment hearings. But it was not sad because the president was being impeached. It was sad because the House of Representatives was disloyal to our nation by not upholding the highest standards of democracy during the impeachment hearings.
Joseph Bahr lives in Waterbury Center.