We must applaud political courage

Earlier this week, two Republican Senators, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, said the briefing by the White House on the assassination of the Iranian Soleimani, was not just poor, but the worst of briefings. I applaud their political courage to push back on the president for less than satisfactory explanation. I have called each Senator to share my thank you as an Independent and former Republican voter.

I had the same type of kudos for the parade of diplomats and other public servants who testified under oath and at great risk to the House Intelligence committee about their concerns over the shadow diplomacy being used by the president in Ukraine to strong arm action for his personal benefit. I watched these witnesses speak under oath about how we should be doing our best to nurture and protect the young democracy in Ukraine. On the flip side, I saw a president, not under oath, berate these public servants for being less than truthful, without really addressing the need to protect the interests of Ukraine.

Political courage seems to be in short supply these days. At the same time the two Senators were sharing their concerns, a US Congressman was being questioned for the release of a doctored photograph. The intent of the photograph which showed the preceding president shaking hands with the current Irani president, whom he has never physically met, seems to be less than meritorious. Yet, when questioned, the Congressman was flippant and disdainful of the reporter.

Unlike the two Senators’ political courage, the act and the response by the Congressman is poor form. We need our legislators to be among our better Angels, not our worst demons. With it so easy to disinform these days, we need our legislators to avoid such temptation, and to condemn it even when it is done on their behalf. We all must be truth seekers.

I am reminded of the late Senator John McCain, when running for president in 2008, correcting a woman when she attacked the character of Barack Obama. He told her that Obama was a fine person, but he and Obama just disagreed on issues and policies. I miss the Senator and his political (and military courage). We need to emulate him and the recent actions of Senator Lee and Paul.


8 thoughts on “We must applaud political courage

  1. Thank you, Keith, for this fine and well-reasoned post. In the past week, emotions have run high, ignorance and vengeance seem to be the buzzwords of the day, and we are pulled in 20 different directions … what to believe, what to discredit? Your post was rather a breathe of fresh air … much appreciated. “Integrity” seems to be a word that is largely absent in the current administration, don’t you think? Anyway, to cut to the chase … I agree and I applaud those men and women who are courageous enough to stand for what they believe is right, even if it goes against the wishes of the bully-in chief.

  2. Note to Readers: I posted this message on the websites of about 25+ Senators and my Congressman. If you like the message, please feel free to adapt and use. I also called the two Senators to offer my thanks for being courageous and the Congressman in question to share my disappointment urging him to come clean and do better. With respect to him, I told the staffer to be sure to tell the Congressman I now know his name and it is for this issue, which is not a good thing.

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