Christopher Hale delivered this letter to Senator Lamar Alexander on Monday, January 27, 2019. You can sign onto the letter below.
As a young child in a Tennessee public school, my fourth grade teacher Ms. Lori Nelms told the class the story of a heroic young governor named Lamar Alexander. We learned how you stood up to a notoriously corrupt governor and his allies, defended truth and the rule of law, and governed our people with goodness and integrity
In high school, my history teacher Mr. Darrick Bowman told me how your mentor the late Senator Howard Baker went against his party and stood up for the nation with a simple question at the Senate Watergate hearings: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”
Senator Alexander, I’m a partisan Democrat, and I say this with absolute confidence on the basis of deep personal experience as your fellow Tennessean: you are a good and honorable man, and you come from a political pedigree of character. From your time as a Vanderbilt undergraduate in the 1960s fighting against segregation to your more recent work to cut health care costs for rural Tennesseans living in poverty, you’ve stood up time and again for justice, decency, and the common good.
As you enter these final months of your legendary public service to the people of Tennessee and the United States, history has called on you again to be quietly subversive in our nation’s never-ending pursuit to create a “more perfect Union.”
To me and millions of Tennesseans, it’s pretty simple: the people of our state and of this nation deserve a fair and impartial impeachment trial of the president of the United States where both sides can call forth relevant witnesses to testify on the Senate floor in order to answer that simple question your mentor asked four decades ago: “what did the President know, and when did he know it?”
Your friend, the late Tennessean author Alex Haley lived by a simple motto: “find the good and praise it.”
With both friends and opponents alike, you’ve fulfilled that noble creed. In the sunset of your political career, I thank you for your good and praiseworthy service to the people of Tennessee, and I ask you one final time to stand up for decency, for truth, and for the common good.