Opinions

On impeachment, Alaskans are paying attention

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was recently quoted in The Hill, a congressional news website, saying, “Alaskans are not paying much attention to the House impeachment drama.”

When 155 Alaska lawyers have signed onto a constitutional letter authored by former Attorney General Charles E. Cole and former Chief Justice Walter L. Carpeneti, that constitutes Alaskans paying attention to impeachment. These prominent Alaskans state that “core values and principles — the rule of law, institutional checks and balances, truthfulness to the public and the integrity of our justice system — are under attack.”

The gravitas of this moment in history is not lost on these Alaskans as they conclude, “The values and principles threatened here transcend politics, policy difference and any politician’s self-interest. They’re the bedrock of our American, constitutional, democratic form of government.”

In addition to the lawyers being engaged, there are women paying attention too. I see all the notices from a group known as the Resisters. Then there is the power of art to show paying attention to impeachment, as the “Squid Pro Quo” art by my brother, Ray Troll can attest.

It’s great to have his humor during these stressful times that we’re all paying attention to.

Sen. Murkowski, out of respect for the juror role she’ll play when the trial happens in the Senate, intends to remain quiet about impeachment. This makes sense and, given President Trump’s propensity for intimidation, it’s a smart move. But in the end, Sen. Murkowski could likely play a pivotal ‘truth bearer’ role in the upcoming Senate trial. According to mainstream media accounts, Sen. Murkowski is seen as one of three Republicans open to the truth. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah are the other two.

There should be so many more Republicans willing to put country above party, but alas the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln, nor of statesmen like Sen. John McCain. The Republican Party is the party of Trump, the “Me” president. More than a year ago, former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, a Republican, said in an interview with Fareed Zakaria’s “GPS”: “My favorite three words in our Constitution are the first three words: ‘We the People.' But recently, it’s become ‘Me the president’ as opposed to ‘We the People.’ And you see things that should not be happening.”

It should not be happening that a president could possibly put his personal interest above our national security interest. It should not be feasible, but it is. It should not be likely that Sen. Murkowski is only one of three Republicans not defending the president, but she is. This singular position for her should not be happening. But it is. Consequently, when the impeachment trial starts in the Senate, she will soon be in the unique position of serving as a truth protector of the U.S. Constitution.

As I’m sure she understands, there is no greater public honor than to serve the fundamentals of our democracy. However, in these divisive, politically charged times, the process will be difficult and likely nasty.

Winston Churchill once said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” In today’s parlance his words would translate to: "Although the truth is often labeled fake news, it is incontrovertible. Spin may attack it, tweets may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” May Sen. Murkowski have the strength to speak up for truth when, in the end, there it is.

After all, we Alaskans are paying attention.

Kate Troll, a longtime Alaskan, has morethan 22 years experience in coastal management, fisheries and energy policy and is a former executive director for United Fishermen of Alaska and the Alaska Conservation Voters. She’s been elected to local office twice, written two books and resides in Douglas.

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