So, we have to ask the question: Who among us, especially in the current iteration of the Republican Party, will hold firm on the side of the voters and the rule of law against Trump’s assault on the fundamentals of our system of government?
In many ways, we face another inflection point — the kind of moment when our individual and collective actions determine in what direction we will travel, what type of society we will inhabit, what kind of country we will be. It’s in those instances when a leader’s character can be revealed and a people’s fate can be sealed. It’s in those decisions that we discover who stood on the right side of progress and who failed to uphold our best interests and values.
These moments are littered throughout our history books. Who fought with then-Gen. George Washington for independence and revolution over despotism and autocracy. Who stood with President Abraham Lincoln for the union and freedom over secession and slavery. Who joined the allies to preserve democracy and human rights against Nazi horrors and fascist violence. Who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis for civil rights, resisting the forces arrayed against human dignity.
The examples go on. And we face another such point right now: Congress is meeting to certify the Electoral College results January 6, marking the final stop on the road to Biden’s inauguration. No matter what Trump and others try to claim, nothing will change the outcome.
But the perceived political cost of crossing Trump forces us to consider again: This week, who will stand for what’s right over what’s expedient? Who will choose country over party and law over partisanship?
These leaders held true to the ocath they swore as lawyers and as public servants: to uphold the Constitution and defend the very heart of our republic.
This shouldn’t be anything special. But in this day and age, their actions are. And these leaders show us what it means to stay true to our nation’s — and their own — character. If we wish to see our values and our way of life survive beyond this unsteady interlude, we need more voices to follow in these footsteps. We need to see that level of dignity and honesty on the floor of Congress. Anything less is a betrayal of our democracy.
This is a time to step up to the plate. It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last. But it speaks to who we are — and can be — as a people.
Just think back to the origins of our modern system. When the founders concluded the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a group of citizens standing outside saw Benjamin Franklin, the elder statesman of early America, emerge from the deliberations and asked: What sort of government would we see? What would our future hold?
Our democracy isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. It requires constant attention and care. And now is another moment to keep our republic intact — to sustain our magnificent experiment, led by elected representatives ready to preserve the promise of our Constitution.