Opinion: Romney’s profile in courage

If “Profiles in Courage,” had been written today, there would be nine senators profiled rather than eight.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney would be a member of that elite group, which includes great statesmen such as John Quincy Adams and Sam Houston, who were men with the moral courage to defy the opinions of their party to do what they believed to be right and suffered severe criticism.

When Romney voted in favor of impeachment on the first article of impeachment of President Donald Trump, he knew there would be grave consequences: “I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and, in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced,” Romney said. “I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

Romney is correct. He and others have experienced retribution from Trump and his supporters. The President and his party are doing their best to silence all who exercised their right to freedom of speech, by speaking during the impeachment investigation.

Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, was recalled on Friday, Feb. 7. Earlier that day, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a purple heart recipient, and his twin brother were both removed from their posts at the National Security Council.

It is as though Trump and many of his supporters have decided that our First Amendment protection of freedom of speech should be struck from our Constitution.

We are seeing this type of suppression in our home state. On Feb. 7, State Rep. Phil Lyman announced that he had filed a resolution to censure Romney. This move to punish those that exercise their right to freedom of speech undermines the very core of our democracy.

To consider opposition as dangerous and something that must be squashed is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To persecute the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.

In the words of our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

Thank you, Senator Romney, for your moral courage and for reminding the American people of the importance of our First Amendment.

McGann, chair of the Grand County Council, writes as a private citizen and not on behalf of the council.