This week, Donald Trump has said he will start on a retaliation campaign against people who testified under oath in the House of Representatives’ impeachment hearing. His early targets include United States Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who eloquently and honorably testified to what he saw and heard in the course of his official duties as a national security adviser in the White House. Every single official who testified in the House impeachment hearings did so with honor and eloquence, and at great personal risk. Now, Mr. Trump has vowed retaliation against all of these people for their constitutionally protected speech. Mr. Trump is enforcing the oldest dirty law enforcement secret — the Code of Silence. Adherents to the Code of Silence demand that when you see wrong, you say nothing about it.
The Code of Silence is one of the reasons law enforcement misconduct remains a nationwide problem, because when officers see misconduct, they refuse to intervene to stop it or to speak the truth about it. Honorable people who break the Code of Silence to speak the truth about violations of the law they witness must be thanked, not threatened. We owe them our gratitude, not grievances, and our respect, not retribution. Only when we honor and thank and protect officials who break the Code of Silence can Lt. Col. Vindman’s assurance to his father, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth,” become a reality. It is our duty as Americans to make sure that every single person who breaks the Code of Silence and exposes government, including law enforcement, misconduct, is fine for telling the truth.
— Julia Sherwin