Dear Democracy

Dear Democracy,

We had a good run.

You were there for me 24/7 during my 60 years as a United States citizen. You didn’t ask much of me except to show up to vote every couple of years, which, of course, I did. And frankly, beyond the whole voting thing, I did not give you a lot of thought. I just figured you would always be there. OK, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I took you for granted.

You were really A-M-A-Z-I-N-G back in the day! You took great care of my grandparents, and my great aunts and uncles when they showed up at the turn of the last century. When they first arrived they could not have been much to look at….no fancy college degrees and a really strange language. But somehow you saw through all that; you saw their potential when no one else did. They built successful careers and founded businesses, paid their taxes, learned English, and sent their children to college. They voted.

I’m not saying you were always perfect. Oh, you had some real doozies! Remember the Dred Scott decision in 1857 when the Supreme Court held that African Americans could not be considered citizens, because, well, they weren’t white men. And then there was that time you were MIA when American citizens of Japanese descent were dragged out of their homes and put into camps during WWII. But, to your credit, you eventually fessed up to your mistakes and improved. In fact, for most of my life you were like a good wine…always getting better with age.

Maybe I didn’t do my part to protect you because I always assumed that the President and Congress would. I know how lame that sounds now. But I actually believed, at the end of the day, the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the United States Senate who swore, under oath, “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” would put you first. I assumed that when individual senators learned that 75% of Americans polled said that they wanted to hear from witnesses that would have been enough to counteract the call from the accused to prohibit witnesses. I thought that because the Constitution required the Senate to hold a trial—which we have always assumed meant making up one’s mind AFTER hearing from witnesses–that an actual trial would occur. Democracy, I thought that, if push came to shove, and you were really in danger, that Republican Senators would step up and choose you over their jobs. But today I learned I was wrong. We needed four Republican Senators to have the gumption of a Rosa Parks, the backbone of an Abraham Lincoln, the bravery of a Martin Luther King. Instead, we had just two.

Democracy, I want to make one thing clear just so that there is no confusion. If, after listening to witnesses and the evidence, and acting as impartial jurors honoring their oath, the Senate had found justifiable cause to vote to dismiss the charges against the President of the United States that would have been OK. In a Democracy, we respect the decision of impartial juries who have heard testimony from witnesses.

Democracy, I’m sorry if this sounds like a post-mortem. The truth is, I’m hoping that you are just on a little break preparing for a great comeback. If that is the case, know this: I will never take you for granted again.

Your forever fan,

Via my friend Wendy Jaffe with some tweaking.

Originally published on February 1, 2020 on Facebook using this sharable post:

Cliff Kurtzman
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