Dear Senators Graham and Scott,
Four hundred years ago, Galileo looked through his telescope at the moons of Jupiter and figured out that the Earth revolves around the sun. The Inquisition tried to suppress him, because they knew the evidence he had gathered would persuade people.
Legend has it that on the way out of his trial, Galileo muttered, “And yet it moves.” You can pretend all you want that the universe revolves around you, but that does not alter the truth.
The Age of Reason was launched.
Reason is the rock foundation of our City on a Hill. That’s why scientists around the world come to our universities. That’s why everyone aspires to our courts of justice. When allowed to operate free of prejudice, those forums sift what is true from what is fake.
And that’s why our democracy has inspired nations around the globe.
One hundred years ago, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. first explained that mass democracies are free markets of political ideas. Don’t let the government suppress dissent, he argued, even in time of war. Only a free marketplace can sift good policies from bad.
Ten years ago, Citizens United v FEC reaffirmed this notion. We let corporations flood the airwaves with their propaganda, because we believe that the free market can find out the truth better than the government can.
For the same reason, we wall off the President from the Department of Justice. He can’t use prosecutions to settle political scores. We guard the sanctity of the State Department. Especially beyond our borders, America must come first. Party politics can’t be in it.
These are not planks in a Democratic or Republican manifesto. They are American creed, and they ensure that our elections are free elections.
The See-No-Evil Defense
Representative Nunes and Jordan claimed that Ambassador Yovanovitch; State Department officials Hale, Kent, and Taylor; Lt. Colonel Vindmen; Ambassador Sondland; the Defense Department’s Laura Cooper; special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker; the NSC’s Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison; and the diplomat David Holmes were part of a vast, deep-state conspiracy of Never-Trumpers.
So long as you refused to look at evidence—which, to your shame, both of you did—you could pretend that Schiff’s and Pelosi’s animosity were all that mattered. Because Democrats hate Trump, their charges must be false.
John Bolton has sunk that fantasy island into the ocean. Now, no one can claim to be a reasonable human being and maintain that the phone call was “perfect.” Not even Alan Dershowitz can say that anymore.
Trump sought the aid of a foreign government to rig to rig the 2020 election. He didn’t even use his own money to do it—he used the public treasury. And he tried to harass an American citizen with a bad-faith prosecution. The entire country knows he did it.
So all the distracting rhetoric and hysterical outrage—from both sides—has melted into air. The fog of culture war has melted. The issue now is crystal clear.
What should a Senator do when a President tries to rig an election?
Mulvaney’s candid recanted admission is a siren song: strong-arming a foreign government into “investigating” your political rival is in “the ordinary course of foreign policy[.] . . . Get over it.”
You must not take that view. If we drift down Mulvaney’s “ordinary course,” we’re headed for a waterfall, and when we get over that we’ll find ourselves in a banana republic.
You must take the patriotic step of calling foul—if not by conviction than by sanction. You will suffer the wrath of Trump, but you will protect the free market of ideas. Oliver Wendell Holmes will smile on you. Our grandchildren will praise you.
Joseph Kelly is writing a book on the “marketplace of ideas” in the United States. He is a fellow of the Center for Public Choice and Market Process at the College of Charleston. He is also the co-chair of the West Ashley Democrats.