How to be an informed voter during the upcoming impeachment debate | Opinion

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 5: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Mattis said this week that the U.S. and allies are "holding the line" against the Taliban in Afghanistan as forecasts of a significant offensive by the militants remain unfulfilled. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

By John A. Tures

If you were expecting some fire and brimstone speech calling for the President Donald Trump’s removal from office, or a full-throated defense of the president like his ideological allies are doing, you’re going to come away disappointed here.

Instead, I’d like to talk to you about what you might do before you write a letter to the editor, contact your national representatives and senators; sign petitions; discuss the matter with family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers at a public meeting.

And you should really do all of that.

But first, you should really read the evidence.  Don’t listen to anyone’s spin on it, whether it’s MSNBC, Fox News, or especially some internet operation that’s quasi-credible at best. Read the report. Read or watch the testimony of the key figures.  In other words, do your homework.

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My mom shared with me some cassette tapes when I was young that she made of the Watergate hearings when she was doing housework, and chasing after me and my brother, so she could listen to them later while we were napping, or she was painting, and so my dad could hear them when he got off his shift.  It is what people used to do for information before everything went online. I bet you can do just as much.

Second of all, you need to study what law is being discussed that the president is accused of breaking, whether you love or hate Trump, or don’t have a strong opinion on him either way. Read it yourself.

Third, you need to contact your elected official. If you want to be taken seriously (and I’ve had a job reading emails and letters to a politician, so I know), write in the manner that shows you’ve done your homework, and have reached a sobering conclusion. And only email your local representatives.

Fourth, you need to recognize that calling for impeachment hearings is not the same as voting for impeachment.  And ignore any politician who says he or she hasn’t bothered to read the evidence, and is voting for impeachment, or not voting for impeachment.

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This matter is serious enough to merit a hearing, but one who votes for having an impeachment hearing is not the same as one who votes to impeach. This unfortunate event is worthy of a Congressional investigation.

Fifth, you should remove all labels of the characters, all ideologies, and look at the conclusions of the hearings.  Would you vote for impeachment if a past president of the other party had done the exact same thing?  If you aren’t looking at it from that perspective, you’re being biased.

You’re a citizen of the United States of America, and believe it or not, this is your job.

Right now, democracy is on trial worldwide. There are politicians, elites, populists, and even a number from academia, all on differing sides of the political spectrum, who think the idea of a constitutional republic that empowers citizens is “quaint,” outdated, unable to handle modern problems, especially because its citizens are not up to the task of doing what I’ve outlined for you.

They think people are ignorant, only swayed by media images, incapable of reading such documents, and coming to rational conclusions, with a short attention span that will be easily diverted, and that we would be better off if someone or some group “led” them on every issue.

Prove them wrong.  Let’s show them what government of, by and for the people means.

John A. Tures is a political science professor at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. His work appears frequently on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Readers may email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @JohnTures2. 

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