By Briana Brady, Opinion Editor–

I have followed the impeachment trial proceedings closely, and I have been unsurprised, but overall, I’ve felt disheartened. When President Trump was elected, I held tight the hope I had that our country’s democratic institutions, which have endured past impeachments, wars, and other tumultuous times, would ensure the continued stability and security of the nation. However, that hope has disseminated significantly over the three years Trump has thus far been in office.

The country has watched as he has tweeted out threats that escalate national security crises and attacked both members of Congress and private citizens on Twitter as well as other public platforms. We have witnessed the repulsive Congressional conduct regarding the Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation hearings, we have heard countless instances of Senators like Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, Doug Collins, and others try to justify Trump’s actions as well as their own support of them in belligerent and derogatory language.

Now, we have seen partisan politics not only prevent the full truth from emerging as it pertains to Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine, but we have seen GOP senators be unwilling to take a stand against the President and call for—at the very least—a full Senate trial, including witnesses.

I can’t help but think of the ways in which this moment in history will be remembered by our posterity: a time in which our elected officials proved unwilling to prioritize the preservation of institutions of government and the Congressional privilege to oversee the power of the President over their own allegiances. I think specifically to last Sunday, when Senator Tom Cotton on Face the Nation avoided pointed questions about his justification for voting to block witnesses from testifying at the Senate Trial, as so many other Senators have done in interviews, tweets, posts, etc.

Not only do I watch interviews like these and imagine evaluating replays in the future as we consider the damage done to our democratic institutions in this process, but as we prepare to enter the heart of what will assuredly be a ruthless Presidential primary, I try not to get discouraged at the reality facing our country. But this election is critical. Surely, the American people understand the magnitude of the implications facing us in this choice ahead: either this country validates the behaviors, morals, and policies we are currently experiencing, or we take a stand. We take a stand for fairness, leadership, and integrity, and against hate, degradation, and exclusion.  While disheartened, I’m not discouraged. I have faith in America.

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