Duty. Honor, Country. This was a phrase that I became very acquainted with while a member of the US Armed Forces. Not in the sense that it has been perverted in today’s world of right-wing neo-fascists, white supremacists, or MAGA heads, but in the sense that we as individuals have the duty to think beyond our own selfish needs, and that we have a responsibility in society to work for the common good. Within the Army realm, it meant that my fellow soldier’s welfare was equal to my own, and I actively worked to support them. As a soldier, we have a responsibility to defend the weak and to defend the country that gave us this sacred task. Defend the defenseless and to protect our nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. Honor demanded that even in our fears we stand and do the tasks demanded of us. Honor meant speaking our mind even if it were to be received unfavorably. It requires courage in the face of overwhelming odds and be faithful to the oaths we made in front of our country and our creator. While our country has never been perfect and has many sins to atone for, we are to stand in defense of that country and to hopefully help us as a nation achieve that lofty goal so envisioned by our nation’s founders. We have indeed a long way to go, but the idea of Duty, Honor, and Country could and should help us as we mature and indeed come to the place where the common welfare of all is paramount in all of our comings and goings.
The Senate recently concluded its trial of the former president and while unsurprising in its outcome clearly demonstrates that the current batch of Republican Senators in no way represent the values of Duty, Honor, and Country. The at the time Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, postponed the impeachment trial until after the inauguration, then cravenly voted, along with 42 other Republicans that the former president could not be convicted since he was no longer in office. Then he demonstrated the full depth of his hypocrisy by savaging his once ally on the floor of the Senate. He and his colleagues voted to acquit based on a so-called technicality knowing the man was guilty as charged. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of guilt, they let a criminal back on the streets so to speak.
This vote was at its best partisan politics that placed party over country. At worst, it was a full throated support of a person who represents the worst in all of us, betrayed their oaths taken, brought dishonor upon the Senate, and embraced authoritarian rule. They all knew his guilt and they just didn’t care. They showed a lack of courage that should be an embarrassment to the constituencies that put these people in office. They shirked their duty by not taking this trial seriously. There were some that missed portions of the trial, knowing the import of it and just ignoring their responsibilities as representatives of the people. They did not give due diligence to the task at hand. Some openly mocked the proceedings, such as Sens. Rand Paul and Josh Hawley, by doodling on pads and throwing their legs on the table considering these weighty proceedings as a waste of their time.
If we are to survive this grand experiment in democracy, these people and the causes they represent must be repudiated. At least some of them should be censured. Some should at least be criminally charged with aiding and abetting a known criminal. We the people should send a message loud and clear to those who would abuse the power with which we have given them, that these actions will not stand, will not be allowed, and that there will be accountability.
Rev. EF Romans