Las Vegas Sun

July 21, 2019

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Where I Stand:

High praise for an anonymous act of courage

I have a confession to make about the anonymous op-ed writer in The New York Times.

You know who I am talking about: The person who wrote the highly unusual and downright scary piece about President Donald Trump and the “resistance” movement that has encamped in the White House. It speaks of “the root of the problem” being the president’s amorality. And the writer justifies his and others’ actions because, “We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

The writer talks about a collective fear inside the people’s White House on Pennsylvania Avenue (sounds like a good name for Bob Woodward’s new book) of what could be America’s lot if President Trump is allowed to roam freely and act impulsively on the worst of his angels rather than those with a greater moral clarity.

My confession is simple and to the point.

I did not write that brilliant piece of perspective, which every American should read regardless of whether they voted for or will vote again for President Trump.

However, I wish I had written it.

To me, even though the piece was published anonymously, it was an act of some courage and patriotism because it makes clear the lie that some Americans continue to believe — and that is that Trump actually knows what he is doing at all times. He doesn’t.

I say “some” courage because a real patriot should have been compelled to say and do something much sooner. But, the world isn’t perfect so we have no reason to expect our patriots to be perfect either. And better late than never — before Trump completely loses it — is better than not at all.

It is not lost on me that the Trump echo chamber wants people to believe that only a disloyal and cowardly person would write such a pointed prescription for disaster as that which the Times published this past week. Those people are wrong. Completely.

Our country’s story is replete with accounts of singular acts of courage throughout our more than 240-year history. Some of it took place on the battlefield, some in the courtroom, some in the hallowed halls of Congress and some emanating from the Oval Office itself.

Never, however, have we witnessed the kind of act of conscience that the anonymous writer has exhibited last week. There are those who scream that he should have stepped forward and signed his name. In most circumstances they would be right.

However, in the Trump White House and given the charges leveled about the lack of balance, civility and morality that exists in Donald’s world, the idea that the writer would be immediately fired and therefore unable to prevent the president from doing his worst sends shudders down the spine of every American who understands the delicate balance of friends and foes that makes up the world in which we live.

The writer’s name will become known with time — it always does — and when that happens it is my hope that we can look back at a Trump presidency and thank our stars that, whoever this patriot is, he stuck around so that he could make Trump a success rather than America a failure for the first time in history.

Yes, I wish I were in a position to have written that op-ed because that would demonstrate a degree of courage that none of us know we have until the whistle blows, but each of us would like to believe we possess.

And the person who should be most happy is the one person who doesn’t have the capacity to comprehend what a selfless act the writer — and maybe dozens of would-be writers — is committing. And that person, of course, is Trump himself ,who may be saved the eternal infamy of being the last or, at least, the worst president of a democratic United States.

A Republican-controlled Senate should also be grateful that there are people inside the White House who are committed — as an act of loyalty to country — to keep the president’s worst impulses at bay because it is a certainty that the senators have neither the stomach nor the spine to do the job themselves.

If senators admit they have a paranoid president on their hands, they have an obligation to stop him — not hide their heads in the sand and hope he gets better on his own. That is no way to check unbridled and unhinged executive power, and that is no way to balance that which is out of whack.

This is the part where Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller should be speaking up. Wait for it, wait for it. Wait. Wait.

I understand that there is a minority of Americans who will overlook the obvious dangers pointed out in that op-ed piece. As citizens it is their right to remain as ignorant to the facts as they choose.

But, given all the choices — and with our democracy possibly hanging in the balance — anonymous is much better than the deafening silence we hear from those who should be screaming about now.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.