Letter from Mike D’Ambrosio, associate professor of music, addressed to Sens. Paul, McConnell and Rep. Comey
Many voters who chose Trump wanted and expected him to tear down the Washington establishment and start anew, but did they expect him to tear down the fabric of our democracy in the process? As your constituent, at the very least I expect you to stand up for the truth, for evidence, for reasoning, for transparency and for logic. Without these, our system is just as vulnerable to attack from the inside as it is from terrorism or any other “evil” our president can dream up.
Though I am certainly a Democrat, I have always believed that both parties need the other in order to steer the ship straight over the long arc of time. I will not like most of the Republican policies, but I understand and can accept that the pendulum will shift back and forth. Those policies might make me angry, but they rarely make me afraid. So where does all the fear come? I know the new immigration policies cause fear for a lot of people in this country right now, but I believe that underneath it all most Americans are afraid of statements like this:
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” (11/27/16 tweet).
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (3/4/17 tweet).
These are serious charges! If true, either of these would have a huge effect on how Americans perceive everything about their government. There should be investigations and deliberations by thoughtful and intelligent people before anyone else hears about it, in order to verify that these allegations are in fact true. But that’s not the way things are unfolding, are they? Unverified claims are being sent directly to the masses by the president of the United States before any actual evidence has been presented (other than shoddy reporting by questionable news sources). In fact, these baseless statements should all be ignored. But when that same information gets tweeted out to 26 million people who will believe it no matter what, it becomes impossible to ignore. This is not a partisan complaint – such behavior should never be deemed acceptable in this country. Maybe many of the people reading Trump’s tweets will claim that he is in fact the one saving democracy, but they seem to trust his words blindly above all – above anybody whose job it is to find and report the actual truth or above those considered experts in their field. Those unverified tweets, accurate or not, are reshaping the way people perceive their government and it is already eroding public trust and the power of government to make a positive difference in the lives of its people.
Should our teachers stop requiring their students to back up their statements with reasoning and evidence? Should they stop having students cite their sources? We cannot hold our president, or any other public servant, to a lower standard than we might hold a high school freshman. After all, the next bold tweet could be about Congress…or about you. How will you defend yourself without facts and truth? How can any of us? If these statements undercutting our democracy and perception of our American government do not make you afraid, then you need to take a closer look.
Democrats, if they aren’t already, will certainly be pursuing impeachment sometime during the course of this year. Before dismissing that as politics as usual, consider how unusual the past two months have been. There is a difference between pushing for smaller government and throwing out the whole thing. And with one outrageous statement after another, does anyone in Washington even have time to govern anymore? Maybe that is the point. Either way, this is a more dangerous time than many people realize. There will be a time when not just Democrats, but everyone in Washington will need to accept the inevitable: that an administration under President Donald Trump has the capacity to erode the institution of the United States government beyond repair. Everyone will lose, no matter how they voted in November.
President Mike Pence’s policies will most certainly make me angry but much less afraid for the future of our democracy. All eyes are now on the grownups in Washington. As your constituent, at the very least I expect you to stand up for the truth, for evidence, for reasoning, for transparency and for logic. Without these, all is lost.