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Profile in Courage

Mitt Won’t Bend the (Rom)knee

These political times feel hopelessly craven, lacking in decency and decorum, and otherwise terrible.

So, now especially, we should be deeply appreciative when someone stands up and does the right thing for a reason that has largely fallen by the wayside due to neglect and outright contempt.

Mitt Romney did the right thing because it was the right thing to do.

With little to gain and much to lose, Mitt Romney voted to convict Donald Trump of abusing the power of the presidency. Romney had a million ways to spin his way out of this and avoid the slings and arrows of a rabid party gone mad. But he chose not to. And for that, he deserves the earnest praise of Democrats and the eternal gratitude of decent Republicans.

Make no mistake. The repercussions will be fierce; and both immediate and enduring. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of on and offline political hate, you can’t imagine what Mitt Romney just exposed himself to. And he knows that all to well. As he stated on the Senate floor: “I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

Romney knows the cost. And he’s willing to pay that cost. And we should repay his courage with admiration and gratitude. And with any luck, others in his party will one day decide to pay it forward.

But for now, most will pay lip service to the cult they’ve adopted. The president’s namesake began slinging mud moments after Romney made his decision: “He’s now officially a member of the resistance and should be expelled from the GOP.” I’d argue that he may have just saved the GOP, but such messages of support are unlikely to break through the noise generated by faux-patriotic sycophants and their army of hate bots.

It ironic that we’d lose Kirk Douglas on a day when Mitt Romney stood up and said, “I’m Spartacus” and the rest of his party sat on their hands. But at least we had a single Spartacus at a moment in American history when we so sorely needed one.

But history has a long memory. In the end, Mitt Romney will be remembered for the courage of his convictions. John Bolton will be remembered for the promotion of his book. The Senate GOP enablers will be remembered for being precisely what they are.

We’ve become a divided, jaded, and hateful country of citizens who are afraid, unable, or unwilling to praise those with whom we mostly disagree. I mostly disagree with the person I’m writing this about, often vehemently. But like him, I love my country. Because of that, I offer my unreserved, heartfelt praise for Mitt Romney. He sacrificed any chance of becoming president, and a lot more, to do the right thing. That’s more than most people have ever given up for anything. I thank him.

Dave Pell Writes NextDraft: The Day’s Most Fascinating News.

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.

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