Have You No Decency, Sir?
History will record that a majority of U.S. Senators voted to convict impeached former president Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors. And that 43 Republican Senators voted not to convict him, despite his refusal to accept defeat both in the popular vote and in the Electoral College, his open incitement of insurrection, and his lead role in provoking the mob violence in the Nation’s Capitol on January 6. Members of Congress take an oath of office “to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies.” Roger Marshall of Kansas was one of the Republican Senators who violated his oath of office. I live in Kansas. Roger Marshall does not represent me.“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
Reinhold Niebuhr, Children of Light and Children of Darkness
A recent headline in medpagetoday.comcaught my attention: Op-Ed: Some Doctor-Politicians Defy the Constitution (and Hippocrates). That a certain Kansas “doctor-politician” figured prominently in the piece came as no surprise. He is one of 14 physicians in Congress, 11 of whom are Republicans, including four medical doctors in the Senate, who “stood in lockstep behind Trump”while the deadliest pandemic in a century stalked the land.
One day before taking the oath of office, Roger Marshalljoined a few radical rightwing Republicans in the U.S. Senate attempting to overturn the results of the November 3rdelection. Until then, few Americans outside of Kansas had ever heard of him.
It all started when Senator Josh Hawleyof Missouri join Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks in challenging the Electoral College results. Nebraska Senator Ben Sassecalled it “a dangerous ploy” and former Labor Secretary Robert Reichused the F-word (“fascism”). Others have called it seditious.
Under our existing laws seditioninvolves two or more individuals seeking to overthrow the system by force. The Constitution defines treasonnarrowly: (1) “levying war” against the United States; or (2) “adhering to [the] enemies [of the United States], giving them aid and comfort.” Merriam Webster defines subversionas “a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within.”
TherewardJosh Hawley and Ted Cruz had in mind was the White House—not the Big House. Who knows what dirty little secrets ambitious people in powerful positions endeavor to hide?
Under the current oath of office, members of Congress pledge as follows:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies…and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Since 1884, every member, including Roger Marshall, has taken this oath. As Senator Jerry Moranproclaimed, a vote to overturn “state-certified electoral votes would be to act outside the bounds of the Constitution, which I will not do.” Care to guess who did?
There are, in fact, federal lawsagainst violating the oath of office The penalties include a prison sentence and removal from office.Is Congress are above the law?
During hearings on the anticommunist hysteria sweeping the country (a.k.a., the Red Scare) in the early 1950s, Army special counsel Joseph Welshexpressed the outrage of a nation when he spoke these words: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” It was the final nail in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s self-made political coffin.
Unlike the Red Scare, however, the armed attack on the Nation’s Capitol was direct and violent. It was also premeditated. A day before the horrific events of January 6, words like “insurrection”, “coup”, and “sedition” perhaps sounded hyperbolic; thereafter, they sounded prophetic.
Roger Marshall has shown no remorse for backing a defeated and disgraced president’s flagrant attempt to incite an angry mob and steal an election. Had Trump and the “Sedition Caucus” succeeded they would have done a grave injustice to the nation, the 81,283,48 Americans who voted for the real winners, and all who have fought to protect and defend American democracy since the founding.
Ironically, Roger Marshall was born in El Dorado, the same town where William Allen White, the legendary newspaper editor and leader of the Progressive movement, was raised. And that’s where the similarity ends.