While Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the United Sates Congress, Representatives Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sometimes stood and sometimes sat, toying with their cell phones. Reputedly, the Colorado and Florida Republicans’ sit-down expressed opposition to spending additional dollars defending Ukraine from Vladimir Putin.
But, it’s not about money! It’s about “character . . . moral excellence and firmness”! “Moral,” in turn, “conforming to a standard of right behavior sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgement.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) (My emphasis.)
Boebert’s and Gaetz’s antics demonstrate a shocking lack of character! By contrast, two leaders, President Zelenskyy and Representative Jamie Raskin, exemplify the finest in Character, in “moral excellence and firmness.”
When Russia’s takeover of Kyiv seemed imminent, Zelenskyy’s life hung in the balance. Offered safe passage out of Ukraine, the President famously responded, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” With that statement, Volodymy Zelenskyy’s words and acts were widely viewed as reminiscent of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s during the “London Blitz.” The Ukraine President’s continued courage, wisdom, and leadership bolster this analogy.
Jamie Raskin, on January 5, 2021, buried his beloved son Tommy. The following day, the Maryland Representative was caught up in Donald Trump’s seditious attempt to overthrow America’s Democracy and, despite losing the election, remain President. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on January 12, named Raskin Lead Manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial before the United States Senate. In July, 2021, the Speaker asked Jamie to serve on the United States House Select Committee On January 6. Over the subsequent year-and-a-half, Constitutional scholar and lawyer Raskin devoted invaluable expertise and prodigious effort to this assignment.
Representatives Lauren Boebert’s and Matt Gaetz’s sad, sophomoric, stunt demonstrated an alarming lack of Character and failure to appreciate the awesome responsibility afforded them by their constituents, indeed by all Americans. We can only hope that their act was an outlier, an aberration not reflecting the Character of the Grand Old Party or the United States Congress.