Hope for a peaceful transition

There were lots of accusations flying and a lot of name-calling last week when President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer-in-chief Michael Cohen testified before the Congress House Oversight Committee.

Cohen called Trump a liar. He said Trump was deeply involved in hush payments to cover-up sexual misconduct. He said Trump lied about business interests and lied to reporters about stolen Democratic emails.

Republicans on the committee asked why Cohen should be believed. But what has Cohen to gain at this point by lying?

It’s very unlikely that Trump, after hearing Cohen’s gut-wrenching and painful-to-watch accusations, would pardon his former attorney.

Cohen, in his own words, said he lost everything. “My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything: my family’s happiness, friendships, my law license, my company, my livelihood, my honor, my reputation and, soon, my freedom.”

With all of that in mind, think about some of Cohen’s final words: “Indeed, given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

The peaceful transition of power is something that marks the very democracy of the United States. The transition of power in the United States in 1800 shows that political parties that deeply mistrust each other can accept the outcome of an election.

That’s not the case worldwide.

Think of Venezuela today and we see what happens in a country where a contentious transition of power – heck, a lack of transfer –  wrecks an already broken country. Nicolâs Maduro, former president who refuses to give up power, will not relinquish control to Juan Guaido.

The country has been plunged into a political crisis as Guaido talks about trying to get back into the country after fleeing for his life. Will he be able to return and take control? At this point no one can say, because there was no transfer of power, much less a peaceful one.

It is a political miracle, in a way, that when the U.S. House of Representatives in January changed from being held by Republicans and to Democrats being in charge, there were no bullets fired. The outcome of the election was accepted, and the transition made.

That’s the American way.

When Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra beat Republican Will Conley for that seat, the change came without a lot of rancor.

One day one side has the power; the next the other side steps into the high seat.

When we think about the upcoming Presidential election, it is scary to think about what Cohen said – that he fears what Trump will do regarding a peaceful transition of power.

We don’t know if Trump will be the Republican Party nominee. We don’t know which of the plethora of Democratic candidates will be chosen.

But whatever happens, we want a peaceful transition.

Let’s hope that Cohen is wrong about his fears.

Let’s pray that any future transition is peaceable.

Because if that doesn’t happen, then the United States could easily fall into political instability, and we would no longer be a leader in the Democratic world.

That’s a fear that everyone should have.

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