By Christine Todd Whitman
November 13, 2019

The time is coming when the members of, first the House, and then potentially the Senate will have totake the most important votes of their lives.

As a former elected official, I know the pressures. I understand the stress. You are serving in order tomake a difference and you can’t make the same difference if you don’t still hold office. If you vote against the desires that you are hearing from your constituents, or what polls seem to indicate, youmight lose that office. I get it.

There are several things, however, that are important to remember: you are probably only hearing from the activists among your constituents and they may not be reflecting the majority of the people you serve. There are also sometimes when you have to lead.

When you took your oath of office, you swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Not your party or yourself, the Constitution.

Impeachment is a solemn responsibility. There can be no greater challenge for our country, or for those facing the decisions. Every member of the House and Senate wants to make a difference and it’s hard to think of how to make that difference without the trapping of your office. What you have to remember is that there are many ways to do effect change and that you each had lives before taking office. You will have lives, and they can be productive ones, after you leave office, however that occurs.

Both the vote on articles of impeachment and the decision to be made in a trial are fraught with potential political mine fields. It’s time now to remember that this process is not about Republicans or Democrats and their power. It’s about the country. It’s about an honest analysis of the facts, of reading all the transcripts, of listening with an open mind to the testimony presented. It’s about remembering the importance of the rule of law. It’s about the future of our country. It’s about the courage to do what you know to be right, whatever that turns out to be. It’s about putting aside party affiliation and loyalty. It’s about, in the end, being proud of the process and your part in it.

Leadership is about doing what you know to be right, no matter the consequences to yourself. Now is the time for that leadership, the country needs it.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash