With Our Democracy In The Balance, We March For Truth

We demand that Congress and the Department of Justice do their jobs.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Photo via wikimedia.org

Why You Need To Join Americans In 100+ Cities On June 3rd To Demand Answers On Russia

I am not a reporter or journalist. I am not a politician, nor do I aspire to be. I’m a regular guy, with a regular family, working in a pretty typical job in an American city. I’ve largely kept my head down in life, though I’ve always tried to contribute to my community in a positive way. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. In other words, I’m a typical American. And on June 3rd, I’ll join thousands of other typical Americans in over 100 cities across this great country as we March for Truth, in defense of our democracy. You should, too.

My Midwestern parents taught me that to love America, you don’t have to love or even respect those in power. You don’t have to love the laws that are passed, or the system that passes them. Instead, a lasting love of country arises from having deep reverence for our founding principles of truth, justice, liberty and equality as enshrined in the Constitution. America is not a static thing, they said, but an experiment in democratic governance and self-rule that constantly puts these principles to the test.

This grand experiment in American democracy is facing one of its greatest challenges: during the Presidential election of 2016, a foreign power infiltrated and interfered in the foundational process that defines our democracy: the implementation of free and fair elections. On top of that, millions of patriotic Americans believe that the sitting President of the United States colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to commit that infiltration and sway the election. Given mounting reports that members of Trump’s campaign were engaging in secret meetings with Russians during and after the election, and statements by Trump that indicate he attempted to obstruct the ongoing investigation into these matters, you can hardly blame the citizenry for having serious questions.

On June 3rd, Americans will gather to scream out with a common voice: we, the people, demand and deserve answers. The goals for the March for Truth are specific and reasonable:

  • An independent commission must be established to investigate the election hacking, and Congressional investigations must be properly resourced and pursued free of partisan interests;
  • Congress must require Donald Trump to release his tax returns to clarify his business interests and obligations to any foreign entity;
  • As much information as possible must be made available to the public, and as soon as possible;
  • If crimes were committed or if collusion is discovered, it must be prosecuted.

Notice that organizers aren’t demanding impeachment. Or removal for office. Or tar-and-feathering. Because this is a nation of laws and due process. We instead demand that Congress and the Department of Justice do their jobs to assertively uncover facts and share them with the American people. We demand information. We demand truth. We demand justice.

Here are some reasons that I’m joining the March, and why you should, too:

Because We Love Our Country

We woke up on January 21st with knots in our stomachs, and they haven’t gone away. Yes, the new administration’s policies are abhorrent. The EPA is getting stripped away. The Trump budget is a horror show for the most vulnerable Americans. Immigrants are being targeted. AHCA is a disaster. But the knots in our stomachs originate from something deeper than specific policy differences - they have to do with the very definition of America that we’ve internalized, which is now bumping up against the reality of this administration. They have to do with our deeply ingrained American values.

To us, Trump and his administration officials are dirty. There’s something amiss. As more information comes out about highly suspect interactions and business entanglements between the Trump team and the foreign state that attacked our democracy, the knot gets bigger. It’s wrong. It’s un-American. We can all sense it, and it’s difficult to be patient while we wait for answers. It is critical that the American public make it very clear: we want the truth about this administration’s ties to the Putin regime.

So we march on behalf of American values.

Because Special Counsel Robert Mueller Needs To Know That We Expect The Truth

Bob Mueller has a long, hard task ahead of him. Though the special counsel has broad authority, there are ways for the President and/or Congress to get in the way. This investigation needs to stand, unimpeded, and let the facts take Mueller and his team where they may. The more the public shows support for independent investigation, the harder it will be for politicians to obstruct. A strong show of public support can also embolden people inside the administration to act from their sense of patriotism and document suspect activity (as James Comey did), which could ultimately aid in the investigation. These are critical issues of national security, and we need investigators, insiders and career civil servants to do the right thing on behalf of truth and justice.

So we march to in support of the ongoing investigation.

“We must pressure Congress to do everything it can to bring sunlight to this situation.”

Because We Need An Independent Commission, Too

As highly endorsed as Mueller is, we can’t get overly excited about his appointment. A Special Counsel has a narrow task: investigate, determine if there are any prosecutable offenses, and if so, bring charges. While justice does indeed need to be served if collusion can be proven, America has a broader problem: regardless of the question of collusion, America was caught with its pants down when Russia executed its operation to influence our election using information warfare, and it is not within the Special Counsel’s scope to develop or deliver recommendations about how to avoid a repeat of this debacle in 2018 or 2020. Our pants are still down. Do you want a repeat of 2016? Me neither.

Outside of the work of the DOJ, Congress has an important oversight role here. Until now, Congressional Republicans have slow-walked intelligence committee investigations - an act of extreme partisanship and political cowardice. The committee work is not properly resourced, and staffers don’t have the time or expertise to pursue the facts or make recommendations.

Formation of an independent, 9/11-style commission is clearly the best option moving forward. A bipartisan, expert commission would complement Mueller’s efforts, but with a forward-looking mission: instead of putting effort into prosecution (which is the purview of DOJ, not Congress), the commission could focus on the integrity of our elections. What happened? What could we have done differently? What safeguards do we need for future elections? This is critical and worth demanding.

So we march for electoral integrity.

Because We Need To Follow The Money

The fact that Donald Trump has still not released his tax returns is a scandal unto itself. He will never disclose them of his own volition, that much is clear. The Ways and Means Committee of the House has the power to review his returns, but the GOP has voted down Rep. Bill Pascrell’s efforts to do so. If the strange connections between Trump and Putin are due to financial entanglements or debts owed to Russia, then the American public needs to know. Period. We must pressure Congress to do everything it can to bring sunlight to this situation.

So we march for disclosure.

Because Our True Allies Need To Know That Trump Doesn’t Speak For All Of America

Trump has complemented and praised autocrats and dictators around the world - including Vladimir Putin. Then last week he went to Europe and scolded our long-time allies. After the NATO summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel summed it up like this: “The times in which we could rely fully on others - they are somewhat over.” Trump’s movement away from NATO plays precisely into the strategic playbook of Putin, who has always seen NATO as a threat. And our allies know it. It is critical for them to see visuals of tens of thousands of Americans rejecting the administration’s affinity for Russia, so that they know America is not lost, that our democracy is still alive and well, and that we still believe our alliances belong with western democracies over autocratic regimes.

So we march in solidarity.

So We March For Truth

Through its first 230 years, the principles of truth, justice, liberty and equality have guided America’s citizenry through extremely turbulent times. Here, we are tested again by an administration and GOP that refuse to disclose information, who stonewall investigations, and who ignore and dismiss the country’s reasonable concerns. We need the truth. Apparently, we can’t expect it to come out on it’s own. So we have to demand it. Together. Join us on June 3rd as we March for Truth!

Before You Go

Popular in the Community