Two men in this impeachment debacle demonstrated the integrity that is so lost in today’s politics: Doug Jones and Mitt Romney. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democratic Senator, won his seat by a hairsbreadth in a very red state. Mitt Romney, an unquestioned conservative, braved his party’s wrath. Romney and Jones both knew what they were risking but they stood up and said no to this president.
Romney is the first politician in U.S. history to cross party lines to vote to remove a president of his own party. As you weep at the failure of the Senate, rejoice at the strength of character of these two men. Bask in these acts of courage which have always been at a premium in politics.
Our own act of courage is to stay focused on the distant prize. We must understand that the ultimate prize is not even winning an election. It is instead touching the democratic ideals that we have yet to capture since our founding as a nation.
Our ideals are certainly the shining city on a hill, but our history belies any claim to exceptionalism. It is this era that should waken us to that understanding. Each time we refer to history, we see the cruel distance we were from the ideal. Such historical disabuse in itself can be a comfort. We survived before, we can survive now.
Our hope must be that we will come out of this era better than we fell into it. We understand now that voting is not enough to advance our Democracy. Each of us must look into ourselves and determine how much we can stretch ourselves to save not only our Democracy but a very sick planet. Finding our courage is an exciting though scary journey.