With each vote Tuesday, with each unchanged tally, with each public mark of two political parties voting in their own lockstep about perhaps the most serious charges ever leveled against a president of the United States, it was as if I heard a bell toll. The echoes sweep from Capitol Hill across a nation divided and unsure.
With each bell strike comes another moment of cumulative reckoning. The carefully prepared and detailed presentations of the House managers, bolstered by reams of serious evidence, stand in stark contrast to the President’s defenders who have no facts with which to mount their case. They are playing an inside game, with the complicity, to date, of the entirety of the Republican caucus. But the bell strikes again, and the names are called. These votes, on fairness, justice, and the integrity of our democracy cannot be taken back when the winds of political expediency have shifted. These are statements of values and honor that will last a lifetime.
What about the politics of all this? What about the polls? What does it mean for swing state swing voters? To all that I say, frankly, I don’t give a damn. We were not a nation founded by tepid and cautious men who focus-grouped their actions. No, we are a nation based on big, bold statements of principle. We have not always lived up to those ideals, far from it. But our heroes today are the women and men who spoke with the most forceful moral courage. And they were not always popular at the time.
President Trump is on trial. The Senate is on trial. The Republican Party is on trial. Our nation is on trial. We, the citizens, are the jury.
The bell tolls again, and again. It will toll many more times. Who will listen? Who will rise to the moment?
We have a cover-up. The senators who are voting against documents, those who wish to hide witnesses, those who wish to whistle past the truth they surely know, have made their bargain with their conscience. The question is where the conscience of the nation will fall.