Since July 2016, the United States has investigated Russian interference in the presidential election. The investigation led by Robert Mueller has indicted 32 people, including those who were directly involved in the Trump campaign and many who were Russian nationals.
Despite the justice that has been achieved, the investigation has garnered negative responses from many Republicans, including President Donald Trump who dismissed his campaign’s connection to Russian interference as “fake news.”
However, these negative reactions to the Russia investigation are inappropriate and quite ironic. Firstly, democratic institutions such as the FBI are apolitical, and therefore, should not be treated as political issues.
These very institutions protect us from domestic and international threats against our democracy, constitution, and safety. Secondly, the Republican party’s failure to support the FBI’s work, regardless of politics, shows that they ultimately value partisanship over democracy.
Although many Republican senators like Graham and Grassley have defended the investigation, there are other Republicans like Devin Nunes who have tried to stall or prevent the Russia investigation from going further.
These critics of the investigation have influenced conservative pundits like Tomi Lahren and Sean Hannity to imply that the investigation is false or not as serious as it is portrayed by the left media.
This sounds all too familiar to the Clinton email investigation that plagued the news outlets for months in 2015 and 2016. The American public was reminded of her investigation by the media and Republicans who did not want her to win the presidency. The Clinton investigation continued unabridged until an informed verdict was made.
However, unlike Devin Nunes, Democrats did not seek to halt the investigation, even though it damaged her presidential campaign and public image.
Although Democrats in Washington were not trying to stall the Clinton investigation, there were many Democrats who were frustrated by its existence. Her supporters claimed it was not a serious issue nor one that pertained to her ability to lead.
However, those Democrats who complained about the Clinton investigation have it all wrong, just like those who believe that the Russia investigation is politically motivated today. Regardless of political parties and agendas, Americans are asked to do one thing: to defend American values of democracy, liberty, and equality.
This demand stems from America’s conception. The founding fathers created a democracy largely because they were frightened by the power of faction and corruption in Great Britain.
For the sake of partisanship, personal gain, or protection from public scrutiny, it is easy to dismiss American ideals. But such institutions and values, as long as they make our politics more difficult, keep the guilty, the reckless, and the greedy accountable for their actions. The FBI can be terribly frustrating in politically tense times, but their work will ultimately pay off by protecting the rights and safety of U.S. citizens.
Trump Republicans are not the pro-freedom and free market conservatives that once existed. Instead, they defend ruthless authoritarian regimes, mistreat undocumented immigrants, and create poor economic policy, among many other things.
More importantly, however, Trump and his complicit Republican politicians are willing to disregard our country in the name of partisanship. Beyond the Trump administration’s policies, this blatant disregard for American values should worry us the most.
The Republican party has become so distant from American values that life-long conservatives are willing to oppose it for the purpose of saving the party and preserving our nation’s values. These “Never Trumpers” like Bill Kristol, Jen Rubin, and David Frum were so outraged by Trump’s indecency and rejection of conservative values that they voted for and are willing to vote for Democrats and third party candidates to take Republicans out of power.
By doing so, they hope to save the Republican party that they once identified with.
Like “Never Trumpers” and liberals, I see a huge problem ahead of us. This new Republican party, currently controlling the house, senate, and executive branch, is willing to sacrifice core American values for the sake of party and evasion of public scrutiny.
We had an opportunity in 2016 to prevent a Trump win, and we failed. We saw Trump threaten our first amendment rights on several occasions while campaigning. Yet, we did not effectively oppose those affronts to our constitution.
After election night on Nov. 8, the majority shared their views through many protests and social media. However, voter participation in 2016 was statistically low. The right to assemble and protest is a privilege and very powerful to show the government and the world how people feel, but votes are far more effective. Ultimately, talk is cheap, especially when we have the power to take politicians out of office with our suffrage rights.
As midterms approach, the American public is offered two options in this election: to vote for a Republican or to vote for someone else. This protest of the current Republican party is necessary for its repair and for the protection of American values and institutions.
This is not necessarily an endorsement for either Democrats or progressivism. However, this is an endorsement for political parties that do not delegitimize our nation’s constitution and democracy.
There are some districts and states with strong libertarian and socialist candidates running for office. We must vote for the best option to prevent republicans from gaining or keeping their power.
Elena Neff CM ’21 is a sophomore, studying government and international relations from Palo Alto, California. She enjoys listening to Sufjan Stevens and drinking pamplemousse La Croix.