The Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are making a shameful mockery of the unassailable virtue of honesty. It has become a foreign concept.
Rep. Liz Cheney, a true-red Republican, has had the audacity to call a lie a lie. For uttering the truth about the 2020 presidential election, labeling Donald Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election a bold-faced lie and having voted for his impeachment, Cheney faces expulsion from the House Republican leadership. She is to be replaced tomorrow by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Because the majority of Republicans in Congress subscribe to Trump’s false assertions, disputed in the courts and state elections supervisors, Cheney is being shunted aside for rejecting a dishonest party orthodoxy and supporting the election process. Her spineless colleagues continue to court Trump’s favor and by extension support by his base.
If the projected expulsion were not a real possibility, it would seem ridiculous and rancid. Unfortunately, the democracy we all love and treasure is threatened by the constant drumbeat by irresponsible Republicans of fraud in the 2020 election—despite its utter lack of proof.
The folks seeking to oust Liz Cheney care little about the damage they are inflicting on our country. It matters little to these people that some Americans may believe them and question the bedrock of our once exceptional country: our vote and belief it counts.
The congressional sheep, including Rep. Andy Harris, peddle this nonsense to supporters to win elections. Harris and his ilk feed the acknowledged discontent with, and distrust of government to Americans who might follow leaders with vision and integrity.
The theory among Trump and followers is a cynical one: if you tell the same lie over and over, it may seem the truth to the uninformed.
Through the despicable behavior of her misguided colleagues on the right, Cheney seems heroic, a symbol of honesty, even it means a temporary exile and unconscionable shunning.
When sloughing through a swamp with crocodiles hungry for power and money, it is difficult to survive if your intention is to speak the truth and defend the basic tenets of democracy. Why are the other swamp residents so driven by political avarice and praise doled out by the unelected swamp rat?
Cheney is a principled conservative. Her views run counter to mine. Yet, she accepts the undeniable truth: the 2020 election result was unimpeachable, that calling it otherwise is a lie, and that Trump incited a riot against democracy on Jan. 6.
Punished and sent to the corner to do penance, Cheney will not keep quiet. She has a responsible, credible voice. Her expulsion would be foolhardy for a party whose distaste for dissenting views makes it increasingly irrelevant and morally corrupt.
By casting its lot with a person loyal only to himself and devoted to wreaking revenge on party members opposed to his vacuous leadership, the Republican Party is damaging itself and the nation.
As the New York Times columnist, Thomas K. Friedman, wrote last week, “To be a leader in today’s G.O.P., you either have to play dumb or be dumb on the central issue facing our Republic: the integrity of our election. You have to accept everything that Trump has said about the election—without shred of evidence—and ignore everything his own attorney general, F.B.I. director and election director said—based on the evidence—that there was no substantive fraud.
“…There is simply nothing more dangerous for a two-party democracy than to have one party declare that no election where it loses is legitimate, and, therefore, if it loses it will just lie about the results and change the rules (as in pernicious efforts in state legislatures to suppress the vote to ensure future victories.”
I vote for honesty. I vote for principled leadership on either side of the political divide.
I vote against attempts to dismantle our democracy. I vote against fraudulent behavior instigated by an ex-president with no concern about the inviolate foundation of our fractious country.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Liz Cheney wrote, “I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution.”
Simply said, easily understandable, these comments are ageless and incontrovertible. Even for those who might disagree with the congresswoman’s political views.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.