Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Listen to those who speak out

I was heartened last week when I read that James Miller, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, resigned over President Trump’s using the military and a variety of law enforcement agencies to clear his path from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op. It was followed by Admiral Mullen and General Mattis’s critical statements, by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s statement disagreeing with the president’s decision to invoke the Insurrection Act and a decision to send Federal troops back to their bases, and further by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) comment, “We are getting to a point where we can be honest with concerns we might hold internally and have the courage of our convictions to speak up.”
All these leaders took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not a person, even the President of the United States. It is a moral dilemma when cabinet members, members of Congress, or military officers are in the uncomfortable position of remaining faithful to their oath and obeying the demands of an erratic and narcissistic president and commander-in-chief. It has been considered bad form and usually not done for retired or former administration officials to disagree and speak publicly against the policies and actions of a current administration. But these are unusual times, the situation has become unbearable, and we have learned from this president old rules have been thrown out the window. It is my hope that Miller, Mullen, Mattis and Esper’s actions, even Murkowski’s statement, and others who are finally speaking, lend courage to people in positions of influence to speak their conscience and for what they believe to be just, right and in the spirit of the Constitution for all Americans.  
How did we get to this unhappy state? President Trump got elected because many Americans were not satisfied their interests were being represented. Washington had let us down with its bickering partisan politics. Trump represented a shake-up of the status quo. What we got instead was a loose cannon more damaging than the status quo. The question is, can we remove this shoot-from-hip president and replace the current administration with a government — all branches — better than the one we had before?
In all of this keep in mind it is the tragedy of George Floyd’s death — a figurative lynching — that brought us to this moment, a place we have been many times before. Will this be the time it sticks? We’ll see soon enough.
Gardner M. Nason 
Major, U.S. Army, Retired
Lincoln

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