The View From Rattlesnake Ridge
Ruminations from an Unabashed Optimist, an Environmental Patriot and a Radical Centrist
By WAYNE D. KING
As the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump proceeds, the public polling numbers in support of calling witnesses tick up daily with more than 75% of Americans now expressing a desire that the Senate call witnesses, John Bolton among them, to testify.
Much of the attention has been focused on the three or four Republican Senators who have acted most independently in the face of Donald Trump’s behavior.
Yet there is one Senator, a loyalist of sorts, who has a great deal at stake in the face of the great questions facing the country in this impeachment battle: Lamar Alexander.
Senator Lamar Alexander has had a long and distinguished career in the United States Senate, as Secretary of Education under George H. W. Bush and as Governor of Tennessee. When he retires at the end of this term by all rights he should be able to sit back and collect accolades, with justifiable pride in his service to the United States of America.
But all that he has achieved, all of the years of service, hang in the balance right now because of one man. Lamar Alexander’s legacy hangs in the balance because of Donald Trump.
You see, Alexander is blessed and cursed with being from the state one of the 20th century’s political icons, Howard Baker, called home.
Baker, too, had a very distinguished career but few could tell you of the specifics of that career because Baker’s role in the impeachment, or more accurately the resignation, of Richard Nixon completely subsumes the public’s memory.
For more than five years, Howard Baker was a loyal supporter of Richard Nixon but when the facts began to emerge regarding Watergate, Baker began to question whether his ultimate loyalty was to the President or the Presidency; to the party or the constitution. It was then that Howard Baker uttered his now-famous phrase “what did the president know, and when did he know it?”
Today it is almost impossible to find Americans who will admit to voting for Nixon. Hindsight and the secrecy of the ballot box allow them the luxury. 20 years from today, most Americans will deny supporting President Trump. But, unlike those Americans, Lamar Alexander will cast his votes over the next few weeks in the light of day and his choices will not only follow him for the rest of his life but will follow his children and grandchildren as well.
Years from now Alexander’s family will gather around Thanksgiving tables and Christmas dinners and invariably remember their famous predecessor: father, uncle, grandfather, great grandfather.
Perhaps, they will talk about his groundbreaking ideas and legislation in public education.
Quite likely, they will talk about how he stood up to climate change deniers and put forth a far-reaching plan to spur needed research into sustainable energy resources and storage capacity.
Maybe, someone will marvel at the fact that Lamar Alexander was an intern to Senator Howard Baker who played a pivotal role in saving the country from a prolonged impeachment battle over the presidency of Richard M Nixon.
The question will arise, what did he do when the Republic was threatened by the actions of Donald Trump? If the answer to that is that he was cowed by the same fears that others were. Donald Trump will have destroyed the legacy of a great man.
Only one man can prevent that from happening. Lamar Alexander.
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About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three-term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor, though he is now a registered Independent; he is also the former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now host of two Podcasts – The Radical Centrist (www.theradicalcentrist.us) and NH Secrets, Legends and Lore (www.nhsecrets.blogspot.com). His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel “Sacred Trust” a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline all available on Amazon.com. He now lives in Thornton, New Hampshire at the base of Welch Mountain where he proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing . You can help spread the word by following and supporting him at www.Patreon.com/TheRadicalCentrist .