Thomas Jefferson said that one man with courage is a majority. Many years ago, an officer of an international organization of journalists whispered this pearl of wisdom in my ear moments after I had risen in a board meeting and made a motion to fire the organization’s executive director. I have never forgotten the power of that statement and how the support of that officer made me feel.
Moral courage is principal among the personal virtues being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency in this nightmarish time of Trump. It’s hard to escape noticing that Republicans holding elected office lead the pack in national cowardice. Are there good Republicans? Of course. Is the Republican Party the greatest threat facing America at this moment? I find it difficult to escape that conclusion. If that seems a bit extreme for you, so be it, but please pay attention to the silence and remember it.
The nation is aflutter today over Donald Trump’s latest tantrum in which he suggested that four members of Congress, all women of color, go back to the country from which they came. These countries’ governments, he said, are “a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.” Strong words.
That three of the four targets of his tirade were born in the United States appear to have escaped the tortured mind of Trump, who unwittingly uttered the truth about our American government under his leadership, a rare accomplishment for him.
As offensive as his remarks are, the reactions to them deserve our attention more. Democrats were quick to express their outrage and condemn them, which one would expect. Republicans? A few ventured criticism. The rest? Silence.
Listen for this silence in the face of an American government that is corrupt, inept, a complete and total catastrophe. This is Republican silence. The voice of the Grand Old Party. Call it moral cowardice, if you prefer. Call it politics. Call it what you choose. It’s certainly not courage.
We Americans who yearn for clean, honest, compassionate government, free of corruption, serve our nation and ourselves best by remembering the silence of Republicans in positions of power when we vote. Every time we vote.