Jeanette Strong: A clear and present danger

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“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
In a few days, we will celebrate the 246th birthday of our country. The United States was founded on the idea that all people are created equal, that we all have basic rights, and that no one is above the law. In the last few years, these ideals have been severely tested.
There have always been groups who believe they are superior to others and they can bend the laws to suit their purposes. We saw the culmination of these beliefs on Jan. 6, 2021, when a group of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. They threatened to murder Vice President Mike Pence and others, claiming they had the right to overturn a constitutional procedure. They were fed these beliefs by former President Donald Trump.
Trump has persistently claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He tried to coerce election officials into changing votes; when they refused, some of them received death threats from Trump supporters. A series of congressional hearings are being held to present evidence of what Trump has done and continues to do.
These hearings are proving several things. First, Trump was told repeatedly that he had lost the election fair and square and Joe Biden was the legally-elected president. Those telling him were his own lawyers and other administration officials, chosen by him.
Second, it was proved he knew that his plans to overthrow the election results were illegal and unconstitutional. He was told both of these truths over and over, but his ego refused to accept the facts.
Despite knowing the truth, Trump continued to promote the Big Lie that the election was stolen and Biden isn’t the legitimate president.
One aspect of these hearings stands out clearly. All the witnesses who have testified publicly to the Jan. 6 committee about Trump’s crimes are Republicans. Most were Trump supporters; many had worked in his administration. They understand that what Trump has been telling his followers about the election is a lie and not in the best interest of the American people. These Republicans are standing up for our country.
Americans need to understand how serious these crimes are. Retired Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, a highly respected conservative judge, testified to the Jan. 6 committee that “Donald Trump and his allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy.” (Yahoo News, June 16)
When discussing Trump’s insistence that Pence overturn the election results, Luttig testified that what Trump was asking Pence to do amounted to “constitutional mischief” and posed a grave threat to American democracy. “I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election.”
Luttig described the consequences if Trump had succeeded. “Had the vice president of the United States obeyed the president of the United States, America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.” (Washington Post, June 16)
The Declaration states “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes.” Trump was willing to overturn our government for his own selfish ambition.
We’ve had high gas prices and survived. We’ve had high inflation and survived. We’ve experienced severe economic depression and survived. What we’ve never had is a president who refused to acknowledge the results of a free and fair election and was willing to let his vice president be harmed or even killed, just so the president could maintain power.
What we need are people who are willing to do what the signers of the Declaration did – put our country’s interests above their own ambitions and personal desires. Instead of clinging to power for power’s sake, they should put the needs of the country first.
Too many Americans seem to feel it’s OK to hand over their freedoms and our democracy in exchange for the hope of cheap gas and lower prices. This is quite different from the patriots who ended the Declaration with these words:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
These are the kind of patriots America needs if we are to survive.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at


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