I am a retired disabled Vietnam veteran. Like my contemporaries, my contributions to my nation are coming to a close. What kind of republic will our generation leave their children and their children’s children? Not the turbulent and resilient republic we inherited which has stood for the past 200-plus years. Not three equal branches of government. But, instead, a president-in-chief rotating between the Republican and Democratic parties. Two of our three branches of government have consolidated their power to govern irrespective of the rule of law … the executive and the Congress. If the judiciary fails, our republic and our way of life will be lost, possibly forever, or fought over with a second civil war for this nation to revive its three equal branches of governing.

A lifelong Democrat, I became an unaffiliated registered voter. This decision to switch was not an easy one. It took the better part of a year to commit such a “treasonous act.” This is just the way each party wants its voters to feel and act. This is to say, we Americans must adhere to party loyalty and to view the opposite party voter as ignorant, un-American, ill-informed and not to be trusted. The voter must refer to opposing party members as the enemy and vote accordingly, not as we are all in this together. We must resist the temptation to allow Democratic and Republican party politics to split us up. We can survive as a nation going forward only by putting country over party. The Democratic and Republican parties are currently the greatest threat to our nation and our freedoms.

These two parties’ actions in Congress for the past half-century have given rise to the “imperial presidency.” They have conceded to the president the power to wage war, declare national emergencies, to make policy and to circumvent the law via executive order. But, most regrettable, the parties have allowed, and in some cases, enabled presidents to act without consequences, which has lowered the dignity and respect of the office of the presidency.

Since the election of Lyndon B. Johnson, every elected president, with an exception of two or three, has been subject to law-breaking or wrongdoing while in office. Richard M. Nixon resigned in disgrace due to Watergate, and rightly so. Ronald Reagan should have been censured for the Iran-Contra bad act. Not any greater punishment, after all, he did fess up. William J. Clinton should have been impeached and removed from office for lying under oath. When he wasn’t, being a party loyalist, I cheered. Besides, what he did in the People’s House with an intern was just plain disgraceful. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney manufactured evidence about weapons of mass destruction to wage war in Iraq. It resulted in thousands of American deaths and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths. Punishment appropriate for both should have been impeachment and removal from office. The current occupant of the Oval Office is a bigoted serial liar.

Mitch McConnell is conspiring to stack the judiciary with party loyalists, and he has given all congressional power under his control to the executive. Nancy Pelosi is surrendering the House power with comments such as, “He’s not worthy of impeaching.”

Our North Carolina elected U.S. congressional representatives must be held accountable to put country over party!

CLIFTON C. ALSTON

Norlina