The Constitution is more important than political calculation

I believe voters’ choices in the November 2020 elections will depend on their Representatives’ and Senators’ impeachment votes being based on patriotism and defense of the constitution, not on their calculation of their re-election chances. Our freedom can’t survive an imperial executive with no oversight by the other two branches of our democracy. We should fear what President Trump will do with no restraints from the legislative branch. The judicial branch and then the military may be next.

For the future of our constitutional democracy, and for an informed judgement of the American people, the Senate impeachment trial must be an impartial presentation of facts, documents and witnesses that may both support and indict Trump. A rush to acquit based on preconceived party loyalty would exacerbate the excessive partisanship that has so damaged our country and respect for its governance. We need no less than a full trial.

For the November 2020 election, voters should consider whether their Congresspeople served our democracy with impartial judgement or served just their personal re-election prospects out of blind loyalty.

Donald Lewis


Acknowledging a grim history

I write in response to a Dec. 11 letter in the BDN. When that writer refers to “topple the statues of some of the great American men,” I must assume they are referring to those who led the rebellion against our Constitutional form of government in the 1860s, for the primary purpose of preserving slavery. Men on my mother’s side served in that Civil War, and some were among the Union troop s who died to preserve our nation. Many of those referenced statues were erected in the 20th Century, in part to intimidate Americans of African heritage and reinforce discriminatory and racist “Jim Crow” laws. This is not “great” in the eyes of many modern Americans.

The writer apparently prefers the fabricated Columbus Day, sadly honoring a man who kidnapped and killed many original inhabitants of this hemisphere. When men and women on my father’s side fled Europe’s endless wars as religious refugees (and pacifists), settling in the Hudson Valley in the mid-1650s, bounties were being offered to kill Native Americans. Over 200 years later, $100 bounties were still being offered for human scalps. I have a clipping from an Arizona paper noting, “Here is a chance for enterprising hunters to make a fortune.”

In that every aspect of U.S. society — the resources that drive our economy, the land on which our homes are built, the water we get to drink — is based on conquest and genocide, it would seem the establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day is almost literally the least we can do to acknowledge these grim historical facts.

Bo Yerxa


Principle requires impeachment

Michael Cianchette’s OpEd about impeachment in the BDN on Saturday didn’t recognize impeachment’s purpose. He offers three outcomes in the Senate, two of which are unlikely, and the obvious one: impeachment without removal. Cianchette claims the obvious outcome is simply partisan and so we shouldn’t impeach. And Sen. Mitch McConnell indicated, in public, that Republicans have already decided that outcome. That impeachment is politically bad for the Democrats is likely, but principle requires it.

The reason that an impeachment, even without removal, is so important is to impress on our current White House occupant, and all future occupants, that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress will not be tolerated. Trump using our taxpayer dollars to apparently strong arm a foreign government to give him a personal political favor and harm his expected political opponent is not something that can be ignored without damaging our constitutional republic. Blocking evidence and witnesses from testifying is at war with Congress’s constitutional oversight responsibility. If we ignore this abuse of power, then future presidents will be free to abuse their office without expectation of repercussion.

Let’s hope that Trump doesn’t again race to abuse his office once the Senate impeachment trial is over. Then let us end his stranglehold on our country next November.

Deborah Ferrell