Many of the people I know have not spent the hours I have in the last two weeks listening to the impeachment hearings. But I have been glued to the TV, watching history unfold, and whatever the outcome, have been surprised to find that it gives me hope.
Many of the people I know have not spent the hours I have in the last two weeks listening to the impeachment hearings.
I understand their reasons: they are busy at work; they find them tedious, with repetition of questions and answers and the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the stories told; they object to the bullying, the rhetoric, the flagrant disrespect shown among members of Congress; and they object to the tiresome, split-screen effect of watching two narratives of the same events.
But I have been glued to the TV, watching history unfold, and whatever the outcome, have been surprised to find that it gives me hope.
I have watched men and women of integrity put their reputations, their jobs, their careers on the line to tell the truth. I have had the chance to consider whether I believe them or not. And, for the most part, I do. I admire their courage in defying orders not to cooperate. Their very showing up means something to me. I am drawn to the very decency their presence brings to these hearings.
Several months ago, I wrote a My Turn column stating the PTSD-like effect living in Trump USA has evoked in me, stirring up memories of an authoritarian father whose rule was absolute and whose judgment, particularly when under the influence, was reckless and damaging. He seemed to have no accountability, and our job was to quietly live our lives 'on the outside' as if everything was fine; we had no problems; our family was good, laudable, even, and all was well.
Three years later, politics in our country have only worsened. But now, with impeachment hearings, people with nothing to gain and everything to lose are stepping forward and telling their truth. They saw wrongdoing, and they reported it. Ambassador Yovanovitch was recalled for resisting strong-arm tactics by the President's men to coerce a public announcement that Ukraine was going to investigate the Bidens' involvement in the 2016 elections. His desire was fabricating negative publicity, regardless of how false it was, that Joe Biden was complicit in some corruption in Ukraine, just enough fodder to erode voter confidence in Trump's leading rival.
One after another, patriotic men and women in our foreign service testified to the same version of events. The three amigos were appeasing Trump's demand for dirt on the Bidens before scheduling the sought-after Oval Office meeting with the President of the US. This ceremonious meeting would have cemented United States approval of Zelensky's leadership and Ukraine's close ties with the US, an important show of solidarity for Russia to take note of, as well as our allies.
$400 million in military aid was held up, even though Congress authorized it, to make Zelensky knuckle under. The newly elected president of Ukraine didn't want to get involved in our domestic political process. That kind of corruption was exactly what Ukraine was trying to remedy in their own country. That's what our foreign service was trying to help them do, to strengthen their institutions and assist them in their desire to self-govern with dignity. Russia had already invaded Crimea; Putin wants nothing less than for Ukraine to fall, to fall in line and become, once again, a part of his empire. Ukraine needs us and the European Union to resist Putin. We need them to resist. But Trump wants to please Putin. Putin helped him win one election; he can help him win again.
I don't know how the Senate will vote in the trial that is coming. I have no idea if Trump will ever have a reckoning or be called to account for his deeds. I pray that he will.
Regardless, every time I heard Ms. Yovanovitch, Ms. Hill, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Holmes, Lt. Col. Vindman, Ms. Cooper, and the others speak, my heart warmed. My breath deepened. My shoulders relaxed. People with courage and integrity tell the truth, regardless of what the men in charge demand. As a child, I could not. I did not see anyone challenge the abusive parents I knew in my neighborhood. Everyone looked away.
These patriots are not looking away. They are witnessing to the truth of what they experienced, what they saw, what they heard, what they know. And I am proud of them and grateful to them.
Eileen Wiard is a resident of Ranchos de Taos.
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