Last week the Herald ran a column by syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg. I agree with the headline "Politics just keep getting uglier," and I'll also go along with his observation that a republic is not about national unity; it's rather about negotiating our differences. Where I completely disagree is with his conclusion that our current political firestorm is nothing to worry about. It's just the losers of the 2016 election registering their disappointment. The problem is that something very important is missing in today's political environment.

When President Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office I considered myself a Republican. I thought Nixon was a pretty good president, and the impeachment threat was strictly political and harmful to the country. However, over time, I gradually reversed my opinion.

I remember the final straw came when I learned of his "enemy's list" and his attempt to use the IRS to harass them with tax audits. I sadly and reluctantly came to realize that Nixon probably deserved impeachment. The thing that persuaded me to change my mind back then is something that I fear has become irrelevant today. It's called the truth. Simply put, a free press presented the facts to the country and I thereby made my decision.

The difference is now is the Republicans consider a "free press" to be "fake news," facts are just a matter of opinion, dissent is unpatriotic, disagreements of any kind are political and therefore non-negotiable, and President Trump is the sole arbitrator of what is or is not the truth.

Excuse me, but this ain't no way to run a republic. Actually, I don't think any representative democracy can survive in this atmosphere.