When I turned 18, I registered as a Republican without giving it much thought. My dad had always told me we were “fiscal conservatives” who valued the Constitution. Somewhere I’d also picked up the idea that it was the party of moral authority. I carried that idea with me up until the 2016 presidential election. I simply could not wrap my head around voting for someone who could flippantly mention sexually assaulting someone, name-call his opponents, and paint entire demographics of people with a broad brush. Despite my abhorrence for Donald Trump’s morals, I was hopeful that as president of the United States of America, he would treat the office sincerely and with integrity.
When the initial whistleblower complaint reached the media, I admit I found myself in denial again. Surely a sitting president wouldn’t misuse his authority in such an egregious way as to deny aid to Ukraine for personal campaign favors. As a former auditor, I take whistleblower complaints very seriously. By sheer coincidence I was in D.C. when the news was breaking, and I had the opportunity to express to staffers of both my senators and my congressman the importance of investigating the whistleblower complaint. The senators’ staffs affirmed the importance of a fair investigative process. My congressman’s staff member respectfully listened, but then expressed his strong opinion that the complaint and potential investigation were the vain efforts of Democrats to oust a Republican president.
Since when is ethical government a partisan issue? Is it only a concern when it is an offense from the opposing party? I have followed the impeachment inquiry and the report released this week. The evidence that the president abused his power and then obstructed the inquiry is incredibly compelling. The inquiry did not consist of slanted evidence with hyper-partisan witnesses. The witnesses were people of character, dedicated to their country. Reiterating my professional background as an auditor, I also have to point out that their testimonies corroborated both each other’s and the tangible evidence such as call notes and phone records. The president himself refused to testify, withheld evidence, and instructed key witnesses not to testify. All of this adds up to the fact that partisanship should have no place in the decision to impeach the president.
I plead with Republican members of Congress across the country, but especially in the state of Arizona – try to see the impeachment inquiry through non-partisan eyes. Failure to do so sets an alarming moral and legal precedent for the future when a Republican is no longer occupying the Oval Office. Failure to impeach the president because of partisan myopia will surely result in tragic long-term consequences, including corrupted standards of democracy and a disregard for the rule of law. Is that worth the short-term political gain?
Two auditors can view a set of financial records and reach different conclusions. I realize that not every member of Congress will draw the same conclusion I have from the impeachment inquiry – that would be unreasonable. But it is not unreasonable to request that those conclusions result from genuine study and analysis of the evidence without a partisan prejudice. I urge Arizona’s representation, including Senator McSally, to do what is best for the country, not just the Republican Party. Now is the time that we must put country over party, for the sake of the nation’s future.
Christie Black, a Phoenix area resident.