Jan 28, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – He is not an easy man to like. As a ferocious partisan politician, he just went down like a stone in the estimation of many more. Besides Republicans, there were few who loved his lockstep movements with the now torpedoed president. He had this flair for dogged political gamesmanship, astute power broking, and countless scorched earth tactics that left adversaries coming up short and hating all he represented. Yet during the tumultuous first full week of Congress in 2021, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), rose to his fullest height and played his most memorable role in a most storied career in United States politics.
It just goes to show that all is not lost, that there are still a few good, if not very good men, in the American political firmament, and with whom it would be an honour to fight alongside in the foxholes, especially when enemy fire is raging relentlessly overhead. It is the kind of man and political presence that we could use in this country. For when the chips are down, and even if it means that one has to buck the odds and trend and break ranks with one’s own president and go against one’s own party, then it is done.
Men from the shadows of Watergate, who turned against President Richard Nixon, because he left them no choice, if they were to retain any semblance of personal honour and political integrity. And when all is said and done, there is that peculiar code where personal word and integrity count above all else in the august chambers of the U.S. Congress. If a man has been found to be vacillating with his colleagues, he is done. It is as short and simple as that; and when Nixon was found to be lying to them, it was all over for men like Larry Hogan and Caldwell Butler and Howard Baker. Senator Barry Goldwater, archconservative from Arizona, had the thankless task of informing his president that he had lost all support among Republicans in Congress.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader, was found recently on the horns of a dilemma lacking any exit points. The Electoral College certification process had to occur smoothly, efficiently, and credibly. There could be no interference allowed to taint this final process in America’s elections system. Outside the Senate chambers, a physically intimidating mob was hunting for any game in town, the electronic mob was baying at the moon, and the president was demanding more than the severest of loyalty tests of Senator McConnell. He was demanding blood and honour, both of which McConnell just could not, would not, give. Not for any president or party or situation that would question his integrity for all of posterity.
An article from the editors of the National Review, dated January 7 and titled, “Mitch McConnell’s Finest Hour” captured the somber, but unflinching mood, and the purposeful leadership of the senator from Kentucky: “He steered his caucus towards fulfilling its duty, explained himself in a thoughtful, cogent, and deeply felt speech, and then after the proceedings were disrupted by a pro-Trump mob, stirringly expressed his disgust and commitment to Congress completing its work.” We continue with another excerpt from the same article: the senator stated that his vote to accept the elections result was “the most important” that he had cast in his 36 years of political service.
Senator McConnell reminded his colleagues that they must all “muster the patriotic courage that our fore bearers showed not only in victory, but in defeat.” And he pointed out that the Senate “has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance.” When America needs them the most, they are found somehow, not in overflowing droves, but in a sufficiency of numbers to lead the way and make a difference. It was at this hour of his country’s most urgent need that Mitch McConnell stepped out of the shadows into the raw sunlight and took the heat. This is the way this is going to be, and no other, so help me God!
That is the American Way that has been so forlornly missing for a while now. It came full circle with Mitch McConnell’s last grandest stand. We salute him. Guyanese political leaders could learn from him and imitate him, for which action this country could be a much better place in which to live.
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