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The following is an opinion piece / editorial appearing on “The Washington Post” web site (https://www.washingtonpost.com/).
It was written by: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Alexander Vindman and is titled: “Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters.
The specific link to the editorial is:   https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/01/alexander-vindman-retiring-oped/
No ownership by me or this site is claimed, implied or intended.
After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian.  I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.
This experience has been painful, but I am not alone in this ignominious fate.  The circumstances of my departure might have been more public, yet they are little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.
A year ago, having served the nation in uniform in positions of critical importance, I was on the cusp of a career-topping promotion to colonel.  A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president’s conduct and the president’s efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.
At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment.  Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving.
Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents.  Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished.  The president recklessly downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as it swept through our country.  The economic collapse that followed highlighted the growing income disparities in our society.  Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings.
There is another way.
During my testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, I reassured my father, who experienced Soviet authoritarianism firsthand, saying, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”  Despite Trump’s retaliation, I stand by that conviction.  Even as I experience the low of ending my military career, I have also experienced the loving support of tens of thousands of Americans.  Theirs is a chorus of hope that drowns out the spurious attacks of a disreputable man and his sycophants.
Since the struggle for our nation’s independence, America has been a union of purpose: a union born from the belief that although each individual is the pilot of their own destiny, when we come together, we change the world.  We are stronger as a woven rope than as unbound threads.
America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice and protect the nation.  It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act.
Despite some personal turmoil, I remain hopeful for the future for both my family and for our nation.  Impeachment exposed Trump’s corruption, but the confluence of a pandemic, a financial crisis and the stoking of societal divisions has roused the soul of the American people.  A groundswell is building that will issue a mandate to reject hate and bigotry and a return to the ideals that set the United States apart from the rest of the world.  I look forward to contributing to that effort.
In retirement from the Army, I will continue to defend my nation.  I will demand accountability of our leadership and call for leaders of moral courage and public servants of integrity.  I will speak about the attacks on our national security.  I will advocate for policies and strategies that will keep our nation safe and strong against internal and external threats.  I will promote public service and exalt the contribution that service brings to all areas of society.
The 23-year-old me who was commissioned in December 1998 could never have imagined the opportunities and experiences I have had.  I joined the military to serve the country that sheltered my family’s escape from authoritarianism, and yet the privilege has been all mine.
When I was asked why I had the confidence to tell my father not to worry about my testimony, my response was, “Congressman, because this is America.  This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served, and here, right matters.”
To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream.  I believe that in America, right matters.  I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.
  —    Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.)
Lt. Col. Vindman was a career U.S. Army officer who served on the National Security Council as the director for Eastern European, Caucasus and Russian affairs, as the Russia political-military affairs officer for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The above opinion piece / editorial is titled: “Coming forward ended my career.  I still believe doing what’s right matters.
It appears at “The Washington Post” web site (https://www.washingtonpost.com/).
The specific link to the editorial is:   https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/01/alexander-vindman-retiring-oped/
This reprint appears without the knowledge or consent of the Washington Post for purely public information purposes.  No ownership by me or this site is claimed, implied or intended.
If you are financially able to subscribe or support the Washington Post or any local or national news media, please do so.  A free press is one of the few things left protecting our democracy and freedoms.
[I personally consider Lt. Col. Vindman to be a genuine American hero and I am grateful to “The Washington Post” for sharing this important viewpoint with Americans and with the world.  —  KMAB]
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You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.
     ––    Ray Bradbury
[You don’t have to revoke FCC licenses to destroy the Fourth Estate (a free press).  Just get people to believe legitimate news organizations are “Fake News”.    —    KMAB]
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Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.
    —    Senator John McCain
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It is only those who do not understand our people, who believe that our national life is entirely absorbed by material motives.  We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things that we want very much more.  We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization.  The chief ideal of the American people is idealism.  I cannot repeat too often that America is a nation of idealists.  That is the only motive to which they ever give any strong and lasting reaction.
     —    President Calvin Coolidge
From:  Address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors
17 January 1925
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Perhaps #DumbDonald should learn to read:
Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)
1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
And to quote Thomas Jefferson:
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
President Trump (and his administration) have lied over a thousand times since his inauguration.  It has gotten to the point where until proven otherwise, I just assume EVERYTHING he says is either a partial truth or an outright lie.  Sad…
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The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state.  But it has not.  On the contrary, the small effect of those tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments.  The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here.  I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army.  They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves.  The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution.  To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty.  The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people.  The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.  But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.  I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments.  Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where.  Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep.  I do not exaggerate.  This is a true picture of Europe.  Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention.  Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them.  If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves.  It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
   —    Thomas Jefferson
Letter to Edward Carrington
16 Jan. 1787
[All emphasis, italics, bolding and underlining were added by me and do not appear in the original.   —   KMAB]
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