There comes a time when partisan politics irrevocably conflicts with the truth and obstructs the single most important goal of a functioning democracy: namely, to move forward the process by which the greater good for the greatest number of people is advanced. This week, the American people and Congress had the opportunity to listen to Special Counsel Robert Mueller defend a two-year investigation into whether or not our system of governance has been compromised by foreign government interference and has undergone a level of corruption to warrant consideration of an impeachment process against the president. For those of us in our 60s, the echoes of Watergate still resonate in our memories and for most the impeachment process validated that indeed high crimes and misdemeanors had been committed and forced Nixon from office. While painful, it showed that the system could actually work.
Today, the country is painfully divided over a similar conundrum as to whether or not transgressions committed by the Trump Administration warrant an impeachment inquiry. Hopefully, Mueller will definitively answer whether or not such a process meets the crucial test here, but even if he does not, the American people need to hear what he has to say. It will be painful either way and likely will severely test our commitment to one of the most fundamental tenets of American democracy, which is preeminence of the rule of law.
Last week, the Malibu Democratic Club (MDC) Executive Board voted, by a tally of 6-1, to support a motion that I made to advance the initiation of an impeachment inquiry. This, to be perfectly clear, does not mean impeachment. Rather, it reflects the need to use all the tools necessary to examine whether or not the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors, which in itself is purposely vague and totally within the jurisdiction of congress, requires consideration. It is a position that does not come without political risks, but we believe it is the right thing to do.
Regardless of political persuasion or raw political emotions, the MDC Board signaled the importance of doing the right thing and pursuing an investigation that unearths the facts and—hopefully, as close to possible, the truth—of what actually happened. I have no idea how many citizens have actually read the special counsel’s report but I have and I sincerely believe that it provides a roadmap for Congress to explore further more than a handful of potential obstruction of justice violations and, furthermore, it neither reaches the conclusion that there was no collusion nor does it exonerate the president. In fact, it clearly states that the president is not exonerated. This requires further exploration.
Shrouded in the mist of such confusion, it is simply the duty of all those who wish to get to the bottom of the case and seek to know the truth about whether or not our democratic system is capable of self-examination and actually functioning for we, the people, to pursue every avenue available. Hence, the difficult process of an impeachment inquiry is not only warranted but required.
These are difficult times and I suspect there is an anxiety level in the public at large that is near a boiling point. Assuming innocence only begs the question as to what purpose is served by not fully exposing the truth. The most important function for all concerned is to do the best we can to satisfy a rigorous investigation of all the relevant testimony and evidence and reach a definitive conclusion, to every extent practicable. This is certainly the standard we would wish for ourselves if accused of a crime and it must reinforce the maxim that no person is above the law.
So, let us put our respective partisan allegiances on the shelf and support a process that attempts to reveal our dedication to this grand representative democratic experiment that for nearly 250 years has been the envy of the world. Not perfect, by any means, but to quote Winston Churchill, “No-one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise... indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
By supporting a full investigative process, let’s show the world that we are capable of self-reflection and critical self-examination and that, regardless of the outcome, we are invested in the prospect that integrity, honesty and the truth are the solemn objectives of this great nation.