Political backbone is in short supply
Perhaps now it finally can be understood why John F. Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" is so slim – it barely can be used as a paperweight.
The grand American tradition of politician-as-windsock was on full display last week, as 126 Republican members of Congress signed what amounts to a chainmail letter supporting the Texas attorney general's ludicrous lawsuit demanding that the 2020 presidential election results be declared null and void in four other states.
The 126 signed it knowing full well the Supreme Court would swat it down like LeBron James blocking Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Championship.
On Nov. 3, President Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden by more than 7 million popular votes, as well as losing the Electoral College, 306-232, a result that was officially sealed and confirmed Dec. 14.
Nonetheless, Trump remains on the warpath, still refusing to concede, still hustling a fact-free elixir, and still demanding that the nation's federal judges and state election officials toss out the law with the bathwater.
Meanwhile, the Trumpian triumvirate of Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis has vowed to "release the Kraken," but it's been more the case of a dead squid washing ashore. Among Powell's many accusations has been the charge that Trump's loss was the handiwork of a deep swamp, conspiratorial cast of mustache twirlers that includes everyone from the CIA to Olivia Pope to John Wilkes Booth.
Adhering to the Constitution shouldn't be treated as a political risk, but it always has been. There was nothing in the original Constitution that prevented women from voting, yet it took an amendment, one ratified 100 years ago thanks to a single vote cast by a 22-year-old, first-time state representative in Tennessee.
Today, Harry T. Burn would need the protection of federal marshals.
Doing that which is right at personal cost for the greater good is the whole premise of "Profiles in Courage," which can be read in a single evening. It's that short.
Has our sense of right and wrong become so distorted that people who insist on abiding by the law are now the troublemakers?
Is the fear of the president's base so strong that people are willing to burn down the village in order to save themselves? The notion that the law is only valid when it goes your way, and should be ignored or even destroyed when it doesn't, is preschooler, hissy-fit politics.
Retiring Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell, who also resigned his GOP affiliation, recently warned his former party:
"If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and 'stop the steal' rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was 'the most secure in American history,' our nation will be damaged."
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.