Reader Opinion: Rise out of darkness


Describing one of the outcomes of the Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton 1804 duel, the eminent historian Joseph Ellis, writing in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (2000), addressed the importance of “honor” in the early years of the developing American “nation of laws.”

“Honor mattered [then] because character mattered. And character mattered because the fate of the American experiment with republican government still required virtuous leaders to survive. Eventually, the United States might develop into a nation of laws and established institutions capable of surviving corrupt or incompetent public officials. But it was not there yet. [The United States] still required honorable and virtuous leaders to endure [the corrupt and incompetent public officials of 1804].”

After the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government we have, a republic or a monarchy? And he said: “A republic, if you can keep it.” Under Trump as president, we have lost much of our Republic, our leading light “nation of laws and established institutions,” to Trump’s corruption and incompetency, creation of a United States of fear, retaliatory acts for politically virtuous behavior, promiscuous flingings aside of oath-based responsibilities owed to the Republic, innumerable, psychotic elevations of self over the interests of the Republic, and vicious, repetitive abandonments of truth enabled by complicit accomplices of a spineless, oath-challenged political party.

It is 1804, again, now a descending “Night in America.” The Republic must again create and support the “honorable and virtuous leaders” desperately needed “to endure” the corruption and incompetency of Trump and his accomplices, dismantlers of America’s vaunted “checks and balances,” peddlers of paranoia, disbelievers in critical expertise, until America’s November elections restore the Republic to a “nation of laws and established institutions,” a brilliant new Republic arising out of the sulfurous darkness left by Trump’s miasmic corruption and incompetence.

John Erickson



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