Saddle up America: Our country doesn’t bow to kings
One of my annual rituals is watching the movie “1776.” It’s a musical that shows the debate of the Second Continental Congress in writing and signing the Declaration of Independence. The declaration told the world that Americans would no longer bow to a king.
It’s a story of our founders, who were honest, brave and daring men. But most of all they were brilliant. They saw into the future and anticipated the pitfalls that our young country would face. Tired of being ruled by a tyrant, King George, they risked their lives and fortunes to create a new way of governing called democracy. Democracy was government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Later, these men wrote our Constitution, which supported a free press to keep politicians honest and three equal branches of government. They anticipated that at some point a criminal would become president. Their remedy was a process called impeachment - which could remove the crook from office. America would be a country of laws, and no one was above the law. Not even a president.
To many Americans, the thought of breaking away from England was insane. No colony had ever separated from its mother country and lived to tell about it. As Benjamin Franklin reminded his co-conspirators before signing the Declaration: “Gentlemen, we must hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately.”
There was a group of Americans who were fence sitters. They were called Tories. They mostly sided with the king, hoping he would crush the rebellion so they could continue their comfortable lifestyles as Englishmen living in America.
Today’s Tories are called Republicans. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Mike Pence, among others, come to mind. These men sacrificed their dignity, reputations, and souls for a man who would be king. King Donald.
These present-day Tories know the difference between right and wrong, and truth and lies. But they’ve chosen party and self-interests over country, and they’ve remained silent through all the chaos, corruption, lying and vulgarity - hoping that their king can crawl out of the cesspool he’s created. The Tories did not fare well in America after the Revolution. Let’s hope voters remember how these Tories acted when our democracy was under attack and vote these cowards out.
We’ve had to defend our democracy many times over the years. Most times it was threatened from the outside with a clearly defined enemy.
But this threat comes from within. President Eisenhower warned us that the greatest threat to our democracy would come from within. This is because when an internal threat appears, the wolf comes dressed in sheep’s clothing - preaching religion, love and patriotism while committing corruption, discrimination and treason.
One of “1776’s” heroes is Caesar Rodney, one of Delaware’s three representatives. While suffering from jaw cancer and asthma, Rodney left his sickbed in Dover to travel 80 miles to Philadelphia on horseback to cast the deciding vote for independence. And his vote changed the world forever. Hail, Caesar.
Next November, we will not be asked to give our lives for democracy, or ride 80 miles on horseback to cast our vote. But we must all saddle up and vote this dangerous would-be-king out of office. Let history show that America made a terrible mistake in 2016 but righted the wrong in 2020.
Our democracy is not guaranteed. It’s under assault right now by King Donald and his gang of Tories. So as you enjoy your 4th of July, take a moment to remember all those who fought and died to protect our democracy for the past 243 years. Abraham Lincoln did as he gave his Gettysburg Address and spoke about another internal assault on our democracy - The Civil War. “This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Saddle up, America, it’s time to remind the world that Americans don’t bow to kings.
Jack Hoban is a resident of Lewes.