I was 11 years old when I first heard my father’s speech, A Time For Choosing. Unbeknownst to me, he had been perfecting it out on the road when he was a spokesperson for General Electric. He was out there to promote a bright electrical future. But America’s future was what he spoke about instead.

The night I first heard what would come to be called The Speech we were in Phoenix, Arizona where my grandparents lived, and an event for Barry Goldwater was being held in a school auditorium. There were adults and kids in Goldwater hats and my father was the featured speaker. Most of the speech was about the dangers of socialism and how big government was eroding our freedom as Americans. I’d heard much of this around the dinner table; I didn’t really understand it and wasn’t particularly interested. Like I said, I was 11. But then my father got to the last paragraph of the speech, and I felt chills go up my spine. There were two reasons for this. One was, I knew without a doubt that our lives were about to change. Whatever happened with Barry Goldwater’s bid for the presidency, my father was no longer going to be an actor, he was headed into politics. The second reason for my chills was that he spoke about the fragility of America, something that had never occurred to me.

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

I had, of course, learned about the Constitution in school. I thought it was an eternally unfrayed rope that would hold this country above turmoil and unexpected floods of civil dissent. I thought of America as unique in the world. Because our Founding Fathers had created for us an exquisitely balanced form of government, we would never be a country that would fall to a dictator, a country where laws were whatever that dictator said they were. Yet my father was saying that a shiny destiny for America was not a given. We could fail, we could plunge into darkness.

I thought about his words yesterday when the United States Senate voted to close out the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump without calling any witnesses or bringing in any documents. This after the senators who openly and publicly said they were not impartial took a solemn oath to be impartial. Senators who lied under oath. I thought about the heartbreaking truth that our country – what my father called “the last best hope of man on earth” – will never be the same.

No matter what you feel about whether or not Donald Trump should be removed from office, if you are not grieving over what happened yesterday,  you need to read the Constitution again and understand that a sham trial with no witnesses, no first hand testimony, is not what the Founding fathers had in mind.

All of us are here on this earth for only a short time. It is, or should be, important that we justify our time here, that we are able to say to future generations that we did all we could to preserve the principles of honor and fairness. My father spoke of a thousand years of darkness. Yesterday, the United States Senate took the first step into a dark future for America.


  1. It was a disgrace to our Constitution and to our Democracy. There is no real democracy if we cannot hold an honest true impeachment with witnesses. This is a dictatorship pure and simple. My father, one of the Founders of the Los Angeles Chapter of the ACLU, would be rolling over in his grave at this travesty of justice. It’s shameful and scary. I’m shocked on many levels at those senators that they are allowing this among other things. The inhumane treatment of our immigrants, denial of climate change, lack of fair healthcare, etc. The list could go on and on. My hope is that despite what happened in this shame of an impeachment, that the American people will rise up and do the right thing by voting on election day to get our Democracy back! This election is too important!

  2. Richard S Hardy says:

    Patti davis.you are very pretty.great writer.you still look the same as you looked in 1979.

  3. Mitch Regal says:

    I am not shocked anymore by what I see. I am just sad. We live in a country now where the rule of law is not important to the electorate. The impeachment “trial” was proof of this.
    A survey was done recently where a majority of respondents said they did not care what type of government was in power so long as they had their job and their comforts. An authoritarian President was fine with them.
    I did some research to see what laws would be broken if a president sold out his or her country. It is not treason if the president and ruling party want to create an authoritarian government.
    I was always angry that the Germans and Japanese would allow this to happen in their countries. I didn’t believe it could happen here. Now I know it can. My father, uncles and everyone else fought did not fight for this in World War Two.
    I believe in the rule of law, I believe in the Constitution. I don’t believe in party over country. For the first time in my life I feel truly lost.

  4. Mitch Regal says:

    I have always believed in the rule of law and the importance of the constitution. After the last three years and especially after this trial I’m not sure that the vast majority of Americans do.
    Recently, a survey was taken . It found that a large portion of Americans didn’t care if we were under an authoritarian government as long as they were getting a paycheck.
    I always resented the fact that people in Germany and Japan allowed themselves to be governed by authoritarians and allowed the results that followed. Now I know it can happen here.
    There are no laws that I can find that prevent a president and party from selling out a country and not following the Constitution. It is treason for the people to overthrow their government, but not for the government and party in power to sell itself out to an authoritarian government.
    This is not what my father, uncles and the rest of the country fought for in World War Two. I’m glad they did not live to see this.
    For the first time, I feel lost in my own country.

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