Full disclosure: I am an independent voter, which generally means these days that both my Republican and Democrat friends are often equally frustrated with the way I think (sorry, Sis).

Obviously, our country is experiencing deep schisms in many areas of our collective lives. We are also experiencing a historic impeachment of the president of the United States. If there is ever a time to pay attention to the news, now is that time, folks.

Some of the pundits and political candidates tell us that this is not a kitchen-table issue that voters care about. But what is being debated, what we need to pay attention to beyond all the noise and hollering, is how do we define our system of government under the powers of our Constitution? Americans have fought and died throughout the years to create and defend our Constitution so that we can live the lives we have today, providing us the very opportunity to have those “kitchen tables” in the first place.

This is what confuses me. What are the Republicans arguing in support of, exactly? It is clear from recent testimony and President Trump’s own words that he asked not only Ukraine, but also China, Russia and “whoever else is listening” to help “dig up dirt” on his campaign opponents. You can’t do that as president. It’s against the law. We have an FBI and Justice Department to investigate potential crimes of American citizens. Presidents don’t ask foreign countries to do that for us, because we define our own laws and rights.

It is also proven that President Trump froze military aide to Ukraine until the newly elected President Zelensky announced that he would investigate Trump’s campaign opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Republicans aren’t disputing this fact anymore. The White House position is, “So what. That’s how diplomacy works. Get over it.”

I understand Republicans are trying to protect their president, but in their zeal, they are redefining the powers of the presidency. Are Republicans trying to have us believe they would have supported President Obama freezing aid to Mexico until that president agreed to investigate Mitt Romney and his company, Bain Capital, before the 2012 elections? I can’t imagine! Are Republicans fighting now to give a future Democratic President the right to freeze congressional funds earmarked to build a “wall” on the Mexican border?

Republicans are not disputing the facts and events of what took place regarding President Trump and Ukraine. They are disputing whether Trump’s actions are illegal bribes for personal gain, or are legitimate powers of the presidency of the United States under the laws of our Constitution. The sad thing about where we are now is that if this president is not impeached for his actions regarding Ukraine, then this newly bestowed power will set precedent for all future presidents, essentially giving them the power to ask foreign countries to investigate political opponents, exactly as corrupt governments do around the world.

Independent, Democrat or Republican, I am not willing to compromise our country for some of the possible good that Donald J. Trump might do during this term in office. Such a compromise is making a deal with the devil, exactly what our founding fathers sought to prevent. Our first president, George Washington, established the true precedent that has guided our country for almost 250 years—that above any single individual, in present time, throughout history and far into the future, it is our Constitution that truly “makes America great”! Today it falls upon us to uphold our responsibility and honor of being Americans.

   Maya Burrell is a resident of Ketchum.

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