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Letter to the editor
Will divisions allow sobriety into impeachment debate?
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Editor:

With the whistleblower’s accusations regarding the President Trump and Ukraine we are in the too familiar territory of serious accusations and heated denials. The temptation is to head immediately for our partisan bunkers. This should instead be an occasion for a widely shared sadness over what’s befallen us.  And for proceeding soberly, without pre-judgement on any side.

It’s a good time to recall the five proposals that Jon Meacham makes in the concluding chapter of his timely book, “The Soul of America, The Battle for Our Better Angels.” His topics include,  Enter the Arena, Resist Tribalism, Respect Facts and Deploy Reason, Find a Critical Balance, and Keep History in Mind. 

Doing this though calls for a maturity that is still beyond us for the most part.  Sin (ignorance, malice, weakness, and shameful desire) along with grace is ever at work among us. We can’t seem to help ourselves right now. But it should be evident by now that the hyper-partisanship only builds on itself, that the dividedness and consequent dysfunction that we’ve given over to only help set the stage for what’s alleged to have transpired here.

The whistleblower’s accusations are serious: “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U. S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U. S. election.”

 This is supported then by detailed references to questionable actions going back as far as April.  These allegations have to be investigated, and then the American people and their representatives in Congress will have to decide whether the president has crossed a line here.  Whether President Trump’s “just being Trump” is OK.

That this is happening to us now in the context of and in part because of our deep dividedness is where the sadness comes in, this and the fact that this will likely aggravate the wound. Many of us had hoped that the question of impeachment was off the table, that the referendum on President Trump could wait until the next election. 

But because this president can’t seem not to make it all about himself and winning, the country finds itself again having to focus exactly on this question. Can this still be avoided?  Would a widely agreed on censure be a viable alternative?

The deep healing that needs to happen will take time, and some real courage and imagination on our part and on the part of the leaders we elect.  But that can begin again with us now, with some reserve in our response to this current crisis. By thinking and speaking and seeing this through soberly, while keeping what’s good for the country as a whole foremost in our minds and hearts.

Finally, we are in this together.

Steve Bullington    

Adrian, Georgia

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