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During Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional and difficult final hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) denounced the Democrats’ orchestrated smear campaign and made a dire prediction: “This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap.”
Graham was expressing the fear, echoed by many, that the attacks on Kavanaugh would discourage many qualified individuals from accepting future government nominations. Kavanaugh himself alluded to this in his own statement, noting that the smears and attacks he had experienced over the prior two weeks would dissuade good and decent people with talent and brains from agreeing to work in government.
Those fears seem quite reasonable. No man or woman—let alone their children—should be forced to endure the slanders that Brett Kavanaugh and his family experienced in the past three weeks.
If good and decent people of talent and brains now decide to run and hide in fear of a similar onslaught, it would be disastrous for the United States and for our future. Surrender to that onslaught, giving a victory to the bullies and McCarthyites of the Left who want to end all opposition and dissent, and have been working most intensely for the past decade to undo the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is unthinkable. They cannot be allowed to cement their hold on power.
No, now is not the time to hide. Now is not the time for Americans who believe in the Constitution, in freedom, in the rule of law, in the presumption of innocence, of freedom of speech, of limited government, of due process, of the right to bear arms (rights all delineated clearly in the Bill of Rights) to shirk their responsibilities and hide from the assault of the smear machine of the Left.
Now is the time to stand strong, as Brett Kavanaugh did when faced with smears and slanders based on absurdly unsubstantiated charges that would be laughed out of any court of law.
Now is the time to fight, as Donald Trump has done for the past two years. Faced with a hostile bureaucracy that refuses to recognize he is the legally and duly elected president, and by law has the right and power to reshape that bureaucracy, within the constraints of the laws and budgets that Congress has passed, Trump does not back down.
Now is the time to look these bullies in the eyes, and tell them that we will not be intimidated, that we will stand for what we believe, and we will not bow to their smears and slanders and screaming protesters who know nothing of us, care nothing for us, and are increasingly willing to harm us and our children because we reject their oppressive and overbearing demands.
We are living in perilous times. For the first time in the history of our country a sizeable percentage of the American population has publicly and shamelessly abandoned the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This faction no longer believes in the presumption of innocence, the concept of freedom of speech, or due process of law.
Instead, they believe that those who disagree with them are evil, must be silenced, and prevented from living their lives freely in a free country. They believe that people like us who stand firm against their ideology deserve no civility and must be hounded, their families threatened, their careers destroyed, and their rights denied.
And what if you are a Democrat who still believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights but who also advocates a reasonable use of the government to achieve a just society? Does this mean you look the other way when protesters and elected officials (with whom you share policy preferences) use violence and intimidation to promote your agenda?
If you do, you are complicit in that violence and intimidation, and you demonstrate that your so-called support for the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is a lie.
You should be appalled by the leadership of your party that has advocated this smear campaign, by the protesters screaming and yelling at Republican legislators, by the mobs of violent protesters that have repeatedly attacked men, women, even old people and children, merely because they happen to be wearing a cap or carrying a sign that indicates their support of President Trump or other Republicans.
Your cause is being hijacked by the worst sort of jack-booted, black-masked thugs, and if you do not stand up to them yourselves, you join them, and none of your political goals will be realized. Instead, this country will descend into a hellhole of violence, factional war, and oppression for everyone except for the tiny few who manage to obtain and wield power.
Perhaps Thomas Paine said it best:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
He wrote those words on December 23, 1776, at what has been considered the darkest hour of the American Revolution, with most of the last half of 1776 involving a continuous retreat of the Continental Army under the command of George Washington, and a steady expansion of American territory under British control.
Yet the next day Washington crossed the Delaware with a small army and executed a surprise victory against the British at Trenton. That single victory changed everything. As historian Sir George Otto Trevelyan noted, never had “so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater and more lasting effects upon the history of the world.”
Today is no different. Paine’s words demand of us to have the same courage as Washington and his army at Trenton. For a free people to remain free, we must willingly stand up to those who would use force to oppress us.
In the 1770s, Paine’s call for courage led eventually to victory and independence from Great Britain.
We are faced today with the same call. As in 1776, the time has come for each American to stand tall, and to look these bullies in the eyes and tell them they do not frighten us.
As at Trenton, it won’t take many with courage to turn the tide. However, if all Americans shirk this duty and run away, as Graham and Kavanaugh fear they might, then America and the American dream will die. And it will be no one’s fault but our own.
Photo Credit: Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze/Getty Images