An uncomfortable parallel with the USSR.

Near the end of his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee on November 19, 2019, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman said:

In Russia, my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions. And offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.

I’m grateful to my father’s — for my father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free and — free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.

Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected professionals — talking to our elected professionals is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.

On Friday, February 7, 2020, Vindman was removed from his position.  His life may not be in danger, but he was wrong to say that he would be fine for telling the truth.  

If the United States of America wants to pride itself for its record on freedom and justice, such actions are unacceptable.  If the United States wants to maintain its Constitution, such political retaliation against honest public servants is unacceptable.  

The number of people willing to condone such behavior—especially among those who identify as Republicans—represents a gross disregard for the ideals set forth by the United States.

The US has not always lived up to its highest ideals, but at least it paid lip service to them.  This act, and many others condoned and approved by GOP voters in the last few years, abandons any pretense of the values preached by previous generations of Republicans. Where is the shining city on a hill that was a Reagan-era rallying cry?  Where is the principle of honesty? The notion of putting service above self? 

Vindman told the truth. There is no indication that his testimony was in any way false. How can an honest person stand to see him punished for telling the truth?