“Dad, [that] I’m sitting here today in the US Capitol talking to our elected professionals is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”So said Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman in his impeachment hearing opening remarks.
As a teen in Holocaust ravaged Europe, having lost his entire family, my own dad crawled on his hands and knees into the wintery solitude of the Polish forest where he survived alone for months before joining the Partisans, fighting the Nazis, and eventually coming to America for its freedoms and opportunities; of which he took advantage, becoming a remarkable success and a leading philanthropist.
With the breaking glass of Kristallnacht still echoing through her neighborhood, my mom and her sister escaped to a children’s home in France, survived the war, and boarded a boat for San Francisco where she has spent a lifetime developing and supporting anti-hate educational efforts.
Neither of my parents came to America with the hope that they’d have to watch another freedom seeking, loving, and defending Jewish immigrant, who has represented his country with courage and grace, have his service maligned and impugned in a pathetic attempt to obscure the misdeeds of a blatantly corrupt president who can barely open his mouth without parroting Putin-authored conspiratorial talking points.
I’m sorry my parents had sit in front of their TV today and watch repeated attempts to obscure the truth by partisan sycophants going to bottomless depths to protect a man only interested in serving himself, at the expense of Alex Vindman, a man whose adult life has been spent serving America.
But I’m heartened by the fact that Vindman did himself, his country, and his fellow Jewish children of immigrants — like me — so proud during the hearings.
That a Purple Heart recipient’s greatest act of bravery is speaking the simple truth is a reminder of how far America has been dragged into the cesspool of Trumpism. His unwillingness to release his grip on his ethics is a promising reminder that, slowly but surely, we will pull ourselves out of this sludge.
At the close of his testimony, Vindman was asked why he was confident he could tell his dad not to worry. He answered: “Because this is America. This is the country I’ve served and defended, that all of my brothers have served, and here, right matters.” That’s true. But not without Americans like Alex Vindman.