Marie Yovanovitch feels freer to speak her mind now that she's retired from the foreign service after 33 years, and the former ambassador to Ukraine is doing just that in a Washington Post op-ed. Yovanovitch, ousted in what her colleagues testified was a "smear campaign" against her by the White House, describes how her parents emigrated from Europe after World War II, placing their hope "in a strong democracy" that she says is now at risk. "I had always thought that our institutions would forever protect us against individual transgressors," she writes. But "this administration, through acts of omission and commission, has undermined our democratic institutions, making the public question the truth and leaving public servants without the support and example of ethical behavior that they need to do their jobs and advance US interests."
The "deeply disturbing" events of the past year show we need to "stand up for our values, defend our institutions, participate in civil society and support a free press," because "it is the right thing to do," she writes in the piece published a day after President Trump's acquittal on two articles of impeachment. Indeed, she says she joined her colleagues in testifying "in the face of administration efforts to silence us" because "it is the American way to speak up about wrongdoing." She urges Americans to not let the act of "standing up to our government" become "a dangerous act." Already "these are turbulent times, perhaps the most challenging that I have witnessed," but "I remain optimistic about our future," Yovanovitch concludes. Together, "we will endure, we will persist and we will prevail." Click for the full piece, or read about her testimony in the impeachment inquiry. (Read more Marie Yovanovitch stories.)