We, the people, will decide how our nation heals.

When criminally charged, the defendant is constitutionally entitled to a fair trial by their peers. Trials are based on forensically documented facts, and the jury’s decision is to be based on whether actions by the accused violated the law. This foundation of our legal system is a right belonging to all whole persons of the U.S.

Today, Feb. 9, the Senate begins its trial of President Trump’s second impeachment, and the former president is entitled to a trial with integrity. We have suffered a previous impeachment trial in which the majority party voted to not allow documented facts and witnesses testimony. We see efforts by senators to reprimand members of their party for voting their conscious, which congressional members are sworn to do. Unfortunately, most senators have already decided how they will vote which not only denies Trump a fair trial but also the American people and our democratic republic. There is no fairness without truth.

The question of what determines the fate of our country is not whether or not Trump is guilty; but rather, how we, as individuals and cumulative as U.S. citizens, choose to heal the divisions that prevent unity in our communities.

We, the American public, will decide whether we choose to respectfully engage in conversation over the issues which face this country or continue down the divisive path outlined by words ending in --ism. The only path to endure the suffering that we will encounter is to choose to follow the Golden Rule.

Bryan Bates, Flagstaff

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