I can understand our collective need to protect the integrity of our nation’s president, but not when the president is a certified habitual liar, and certainly not when he blocks an investigation into his crimes. Donald Trump is ripping the United States apart.

You, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for this endless revolving door of attorneys on the legal team defending this president.

• It would be crazy for him to openly obstruct justice by firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller. But then, we know Donald Trump is unstable.

• We didn’t think he would actually pull out of the global climate change agreement, but he did, separating this country from the entire world.

• We didn’t think he would hand massive tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy while reducing benefits for the poor, middle class and immigrants, but he did.

• We didn’t think he was wacky enough to slash the size of our national parks, then open them to mining and oil industries, but he did.

• We didn’t think he would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal despite all advice to the contrary, but he did.

When McCarthyism became a hysterical stain on our democracy in the 1950s, it destroyed the lives of good people everywhere by creating all manner of fear and suspicion. But eventually people of conscience became fed up and stepped forward en masse to call out the Republican senator from Wisconsin, who demonized liberals with the help of Richard Nixon and attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn went on to become Donald Trump’s mentor, teaching him to attack anyone in his path who disagrees with him.

It’s time to step up and speak out. Silence is complicity, tantamount to selling this country outright.

It is our civic duty to vote, to expose wrongdoing, to hold our leaders and controlling special interests accountable, to come together in town halls and in the streets to remove from power those who use fear and threats to divide the United States.

This is the first U.S. president who actually belongs behind bars. If you call yourself an American, step forward and vanquish this president and his party’s system of oppression from our hearts and homes.

Pepper Provenzano

Pepper Provenzano was an editor at The Salt Lake Tribune from 1980-2000. He lives and writes in Utah and Arizona.