Among the poems by Shakespeare and Walt Whitman I memorized in high school was Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in which he summoned the nation to prevail against Southern insurrectionists who would divide us in two.
Since then I've discovered other core principles of our nation articulated by President Lincoln. Among them: "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution."
Consider for a moment the insurrectionist of Jan. 6, who sought to pervert our country and historical traditions as surely as did the Confederate generals and soldiers of 1863 and the Nazi armies of 1944 in the Ardennes.
Now 82, I have disabused myself of the illusions that state and federal legislators would agree with President Lincoln's dictum as across the nation they toil in Texas, Georgia, Florida and here in Missouri to pervert our Constitution.
Who within Lincoln's party today is willing to condemn not only the Jan. 6 coup attempt but also Michael Flynn, who said in response to an audience inquiry, "I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here?" To which Flynn, responded, "No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason."
"We the People" are enjoined when at the ballot box "(T)o overthrow the people who would "pervert the Constitution" and given the example of the Republican-led legislatures across the country, they are toiling and conspiring to pervert it.
Michael Flynn said out loud why former President Trump organized, motivated and launched his MAGA army against our constitutional democracy. Furthermore, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell know but they choose together with their caucuses "to pervert the Constitution." Why? What do they know? What are they hiding?
"In sum, right-wing nationalists," harnessed and reined by Trump, "are ruthless in their pursuit of power and willingness to undermine the building blocks of democratic rule." (Washington Post, June 1) Indeed the "arsenal of democracy" (President Franklin Roosevelt, Dec. 29, 1940) hangs on a very thin thread.
"At the end of the day, if you" (Kyrsten Sinema D. Az) "don't vote to protect voting rights and save our democracy by breaking the Jim Crow filibuster, it should be your last vote as a United States senator. No exceptions." (Grant Woods, former Arizona attorney general, June 3)