The first time I read the Declaration of Independence, I became fixated on the last sentence: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
As I read that sentence, it was hard to comprehend the courage of the 56 individuals who signed the document that helped establish one of the greatest nations on the earth
As I re-read that sentence, my mind couldn’t get pass the words “sacred honor.” The signers felt their honor had the same value as their fortunes and their lives. For each other, they were risking their reputation, their morality, their dignity, and their integrity along with their possessions and their lives.
I can’t help but compare these individuals with some of our leaders today. According to the Washington Post Fact Check team, former President, Donald Trump, told over 30,573 lies in the four years of his Presidency
Two House of Representatives members are on an “America First” tour—one is under investigation for possible sex crimes—the other,a Q-Anon supporter and a believer in conspiracy theories. Other elective officials spread falsehoods with no sense of shame.
The false claim that Joe Biden did not win the Presidential nomination legitimately has become known as the “Big Lie” and resulted in our Capitol being violently overrun in an attempt to keep the electoral votes from being certified, This one falsehood alone has sown such doubt in the minds of Americans that six months later groups are following all kinds of conspiracy theories in an attempt to prove the voting system was corrupt, even though numerous audits and court cases have determined it was a fair election.
Those who have spoken out against the “Big Lie’ have been persecuted unmercifully, Mitt Romney, the only Republican Senator brave enough to vote his conscience during Trump’s first Impeachment, was booed by members of his own party at the Utah Republican state convention. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, who refused publicly to support the lie that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen, was pushed out of her position by fellow Republicans.
A few brave others have stood up for the truth, but we should all be scared when only a few people dare stand up for the truth. Yet, it is obvious why so many stay quiet and say nothing. Different views are opposed by mobs screaming and cheering like spectators in a coliseum watching individuals being thrown to the lions. Loud yelling and shouting drowns out rational discussion and becomes a threat to those who disagree. Recently, the Arizona Secretary of State was given security protection after she received death threats because she questioned some of the procedures being used to audit votes cast in the 2020 election (which had already been carefully audited with no fraud found).
The strategy today is to threaten and destroy the reputation and lives of anyone who does not submit to their false views. The attacks are rude, disrespectful, and often ignorant of the facts. Samuel Adams said: “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.”
We are losing good men and women because they are standing alone. The only way our Republic will survive is if courageous and truthful men and women band together and support each other as our founders did. Edmund Burke wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Thomas Jefferson said “In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” People like Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney are standing like a rock but they cannot hold up the building by themselves. We are on the edge of the abyss--it is no time to be fearful for jobs or for backlash.. For the sake of our country, those who believe in sacred honor and our Constitution must step forward because as Calvin Coolidge pointed out, “Character is the only secure foundation of the state.”
We also need to remember what John Adams, one of our founders, emphasized: “…our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
America is watching and so is the whole world.
Patsy Neal, Matthews, North Carolina, has eight books published, won four Freedom Foundation Awards, and is working on a book, “Ourselves, Our Country, Our Freedom.” She holds a master’s degree from the University of Utah, where she also taught health and physical education.