Trump Impeachment

Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, left, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent arrive to testify during an impeachment hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019 in Washington.

As I witness the impeachment hearings I appeal to all citizens. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re Democrat or Republican, or if you call yourself liberal or conservative. What matter’s now is, are you committed to government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Does the thoughtful vote of each individual matter to you, or are you willing to let rich corporations, PACs and other leaders and nations with no respect for democracy deluge the airways and internet with lies and smears that decide your vote for you?

I have serious doubts if our democracy will survive and if we have the wisdom and will to save our planet for future generations.

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Is this one nation under God with freedom and justice for all, or a gathering of individuals committed only to their own person gain no matter the consequences? Do most of us care enough about the future of our country and planet to seriously address the multiple crises we have created for ourselves? All the experts tell us that our current lifestyle is destroying the earth and its resources, yet we elect leaders who deny it all and encourage personal greed over sharing of resources.

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When Benjamin Franklin was asked by citizens what sort of government the delegates at the Continental Congress created, he answered: “A Republic if you can keep it.” He meant democracy takes work: the people of a democratic republic must take part in and support the government in order for it to succeed. That is the question our times present to us: will we keep the democracy we have been entrusted with or will we turn it over to the highest bidder, the loudest voice, the sowers of fear and division rather than those who have the vision and commitment to devote their lives to serving our country and planet? When I go to the polls, I have to ask myself, am I voting for someone who is a public servant or someone who is self-serving?

So my passion makes me ask myself and you what John F Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” I add: Ask not what our planet can do for us — ask what you can do to save our planet from exploitation and destruction. There is a great deal of rhetoric today about protecting our rights, but I hear very little talk about the importance of exercising our responsibilities as citizens of this country and this planet. At the basic minimum we each can exercise our right to vote responsibly.

Jim O'Neill