Blue vs. Gray. Blue vs. Red. Civil war once again. And just as threatening to our democracy.

Right now, our nation is so politically polarized that it is hardly an exaggeration to speak of civil war. Positions are entrenched and battle strategies drawn. And neither side will surrender until the greater power prevails. The question is, will it be truth? Will it be the integrity of our democracy?

Concern for truth has not been front and center in the deliberations of our leadership. And that ethical failure has allowed President Trump to speak and act without accountability, now bordering on impunity. We will see.

Disregard the standard of truth and facts become pliable, mutual reasoning gets suspended and conclusions premeditated. Disregard truth and democracy atrophies, taking with it many casualties of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.

One man, however untethered to truth, himself, is no threat to a nation if its people are not enabling him. But we have elected such a man. What does that say about us? That our moral senses have lost their bearing, as well?

Our freedom, civility and well-being rely on our commitment to truth, without which, confusion, disorder and dissolution result. An orientation to truth guides our quests, transcends our ego and creates common ground for the common good. Doing whatever we want, sooner or later, gets a reality check and unpleasant correction.

With the impeachment process, a major battle is now being waged. It may not result in the president’s removal from office. It would then fall to us, “the People,” to do what our representatives have been unable to do. The outcome of the next presidential election will depend upon our commitment to that which transcends political loyalties and self-interest — truth. America’s “Greatness” as a flourishing democracy and our unity as a people is absolutely dependent on that standard and our faithfulness to it.

John Hardman-Zimmerman lives in Poultney.

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