You may have read my Jan. 17 letter to my senators calling on them to do their sworn duty and hear the evidence U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and other House managers presented without prejudice or partisan motives in Donald Trump's impeachment trial. I ended my long epistle on what I believe are sound, Scripture-based, conservative reasons to question Evangelical support of Trump with a solemn pledge of my own:
"This should be a search for the truth, which all Americans can support. I urge you to take up that debate and represent in word and deed the best interests and the will of all Americans."
"If Senate Republicans fail to honor their sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution and find out the truth, I must withdraw my membership in the GOP and work against Republicans in November. I am one small voice, but I will raise that small voice as loudly and frequently as I can to call out hypocrisy and hold our elected leaders accountable for their actions. I believe God will support my cause and strengthen my lone voice through my faith in Jesus Christ and my belief in His Truth."
I tried to withhold my personal judgement in this trial until all arguments were made. As I said in my last column, I thought that the House managers easily won their case. Even some Republican senators, like Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, credited the Democrats with a win on the facts. But I struggled in anticipation of what dawn would bring our republic. Would the GOP senators come to their senses and hold this president accountable?
As comments by GOP senators came out on social media, the message was clear. The Republican Party is now under the complete control of our new national dictator, Donald J. Trump. In the most horrifying display of self-abasement ever seen in the proud history of our country, the United States Senate has proven itself to be spineless cowards. This was a choice they made. And they are blindly leaping to their political deaths like the lemmings they have shown themselves to be.
Now they have to live with it.
The Senate's Bootlicking Subservience
I was particularly interested in reading the comments of my senator from my adopted state of North Carolina, Thom Tillis. Because he is facing re-election in an increasingly "purple" state, I thought he might tread lightly on this issue. Perhaps he might even have read my letter to him and keep an open mind and hear all the evidence fairly as he swore an oath to do.
That turned out to be wishful thinking. Here are Tillis' thoughts from Twitter:
"The American people are over this impeachment sham. They want to move on, and they want the Senate to move on to actions that will help grow the economy and improve their personal welfare. It's time to get back to work."
Tillis continued: "While the liberals running against me want to impeach @realDonaldTrump, I promise to continue to work with him to benefit all North Carolinians. I'm proud to have the President's endorsement, and of everything we are doing together to advance our shared, conservative agenda."
I'm not sure what part of the House impeachment case Sen. Tillis was listening to that could be called a "sham." He obviously has decided his loyalty to a New York con man rather than the U.S. Constitution.
This is the Tarheel State, where courage and determination are greatly valued, as shown by the nickname a proud General Robert E. Lee gave North Carolina troops. The boot-licking subservient position Sen. Tillis as taken to his new fearless leader is not a good look for any senator, but it certainly disgraced the proud and determined independence we expect from our representatives in Congress.
Shame on you! Do your job, Senator. And your job is to do everything in your power to protect the Constitution, not to protect the power of a president in his goal of becoming a tyrant over our republic.
You embarrass yourself by claiming you are being kept from doing the people's business. According to the Congressional Legislative Information System, only 122 of the 518 joint resolutions Congress passed in the past four years have come up for debate on the Senate Floor and been passed into law under "Moscow Mitch" McConnell. And that number has shrunk to a trickle since the Democrats took control of the House in 2018.
Today's GOP No 'Shining City on a Hill'
My question to you, sir, is why haven't you been an outspoken voice against McConnell and done everything you can to force the Senate go about the people's business before now?
Senator, I am confused by what conservative agenda you and the president are foisting on the American people. I earned my conservative bones working for Ronald Reagan. The values I learned from him included limited government and allowing every American a chance to succeed—not the abdication of government to allow corporations and the extremely powerful rich like Trump and his Mar-a-Lago cronies to control the lives of average Americans with impunity.
It was fiscal responsibility, not trillion-dollar annual debts Trump and his traitorous Tea Party defenders like Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows have burdened us and generations to come with. It was a belief in fair and open free trade, not in Trump's protectionism, which Reagan called destructionism in a 1988 speech. It was the belief that our best protection from involvement in foreign wars was not only a strong defense, but in having strong allies working with us—far from Trump's policy of isolationism.
It was a belief that the spread of democracy and our undying support of those people searching for freedom is in our best interest and imperative for all like-minded people—not an affinity for despots and dictators like those world leaders Trump seems most comfortable with. It was the belief in Christian moral values, like good stewardship and respect for our fellow man—not the obsession with power, money, fame and bullying behavior Trump is teaching our children by his example.
It was a belief that America is still "the Grand Experiment." We all should be struggling together to create the shining city on a hill Reagan described and that we all hope and pray will be our legacy to our children and our grandchildren—not the politics of despair and grievance we all hear and experience every time Trump opens his mouth or takes to Twitter.
No, Senator, you are not the crusader for conservative causes you claim to be. You are just another political hack doing everything you can to hold onto power and keep the ease and comfort you found in your know-nothing role in the Senate. The people of North Carolina deserve better. The people of these United States deserve better. A liberal would be a better choice than the false conservative you and your master, Donald Trump, have proven to be.
A pox on both your houses.
I am officially changing my party affiliation from Republican to Independent today, Jan. 31, 2020, a date I am afraid will be remembered in history as the fateful day the GOP sold out the American people to protect the feckless Donald J. Trump in the hope of a few more years in power.
I will do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen. I plan to vote a straight Democratic ticket in 2020 and will do everything I can to see Cal Cunningham defeat you this fall.
You chose partisan politics and power over the best interests of the people of North Carolina.
You chose wrong. There will be a reckoning.
Fred Rand is a graduate of Manchester Academy in Yazoo City, Miss., and the University of Mississippi. He has served as president of several companies in Memphis, Tenn. He writes southern novels under the name James Hunter Stuart. He now lives in Charlotte, N.C.
This essay does not necessarily reflect the views of the Jackson Free Press.