Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
President John F. Kennedy once said, “There is a reason Profiles in Courage is only one volume.” How true! The Profiles in Courage award is given every year to persons in leadership roles who take risks, show courage, abandon partisan actions, and speak the truth to power. President Gerald Ford received the award years after pardoning Richard Nixon. Some objected to this decision, and yet President Ford made the decision believing the nation needed to heal, and having a long, drawn-out trial would work against healing. He believed he would not be elected because of that decision and was right. John McCain received the award in 1999 for his work on campaign finance reform, while most leadership in his party objected.
In the 1960s, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. After signing these bills, he remarked, “There goes the South.” He believed the Democratic party would lose the majority in the south because of his support of civil rights. He was right. Since that time, the south has been the strongest voting block for the Republican party.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney has drawn the attention of the media and both political parties. She has shown courage by putting fidelity to the constitution over party loyalty and partisan politics. She voted twice to impeach former President Trump, for a long list of violations against the constitution and using an abuse of power. She has agreed to serve on the January 6th committee in the house. She clearly stated this was a violent attempted coup on the United States government, ignoring the will of the voting public. She has paid a price for these decisions, being censured by her party and removed from her leadership position among House Republicans and she will face a strong backlash from Republican leadership when she runs for reelection.
I disagree with 90% of Liz Cheney’s positions of critical issues in congress, but I greatly admire her integrity and honesty, and believe she models “profile in courage.” She cannot be bullied or bought. This is what we need in our political arena, regardless of our political persuasion, or stand on any issue. We need principled people to come down on the side of honest decision-making.
As we celebrated Independence Day earlier this week, it is important to reflect on leaders whose courage and integrity brought us through unimaginable crises, from a civil war to 9/11 to the signing of legislation that will bring freedom to many.
This is a good time to thank those in political leadership and church leadership who face loss of position, ridicule, or support. These are the true patriots.