“Today the challenge of political courage is greater than ever. Because our daily lives are becoming so saturated with the enormous power of mass communications that any unpopular or unusual course will provoke a storm of protests, “Sen. wrote. John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.
The book describes eight U.S. senators whose “devotion to principle” led them to violate public opinion and party pressure, in some cases to their political absence. For example, John Quincy Adams ’support for the Louisiana Purchase and Embargo Act of 1807, caused him to dislike his party and the Massachusetts state legislature chose someone else to fill his seat in the Senate.
Unfortunately, Kennedy did not feature courageous members in the House like Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett and Montana Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin. Crockett opposed the Indian Removal Act that pushed tribes to leave their historic lands and led to the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children who died while en route to Oklahoma Indian Territory. The action was popular with Crockett’s constituents who stood up to gain access to land and gold mines. They ousted Crockett in the next election.
As soon as Rankin became the first woman to serve in Congress she captured the wrath of her district by voting against U.S. entry into World War I. A newspaper in Helena called her “a dagger in the air. hands of German propagandists, a hoax by the Kaiser, a member of the Hun army in the United States, and a weeping female student. ” He lost the next election.
Kennedy may not have known Maryland Congressman Lawrence Hogan. He was the first Republican on the House Judiciary Committee to side with Democrats against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate era and the only Republican on the committee to vote for all three articles of impeachment. “I lost a lot of friends, supporters and contributions,” Hogan recalled a few years later. He also lost his race.
Like these leaders, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney will be remembered for having the courage to expose the complicity of former President Donald Trump and his allies in the events on Jan. 6. If not for the Committee’s work on Jan. 6, Americans will never know that top. Aides told Trump he lost the election and claims to the contrary had no merit. Trump and his allies tried to persuade and intimidate elected officials, election workers, and potential witnesses to the committee. Trump knows that some of the majority have weapons and don’t care. The former president simply could not accept defeat and pushed the deceptively stolen election narrative until mobs violated the Capitol in an effort to overthrow the election.
Cheney is slandered by GOP members of Congress and officials in the Trump administration who know Trump has been defeated and is still not clear every time a microphone is turned on. They criticize the work of the panel because it shows the depth of their cowardice.
They are not the only politicians longing in the face of mobs. Spinelessness is a moral flaw on both sides of the aisle. When rioters burned down city centers in 2020, Democrats responded with unreasonable pleas, or worse, sought silence. Gov. Jared Polis and other prominent elected officials have yet to denounce the vandals and burn down a Colorado pregnancy resource center and spray a church. Perhaps they will find time after November 8th.
What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Better beat with dignity and try again. Crockett and Rankin later returned to the House of Representatives. Adams became president. Hogan won an election to Prince George’s County Executive Office and lived to see his eldest son become governor in 2015. The impeachment decision cost senior Hogan a lot, his son said at his second inauguration. , “But it got him something more important: a quiet conscience and a noble place in history.”
At the age of cats, be a lion. Go on, Liz Cheney.
Krista L. Kafer is a weekly columnist for the Denver Post. Follow him on Twitter: @kristakafer.
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