In some Christian quarters, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka, the Mormons aren’t recognized as being “real” Christians.
While I don’t have a martyr in this argument, based on the behavior I witnessed from congressional and Senate Republicans during Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing and trial I know who I don’t consider “real” Christians.
Before the start of the Senate trial, every senator stood up and took an oath before God to be fair jurors in the proceeding, then went out almost to a man and woman and acquitted Donald Trump without hearing from one witness.
The one exception on the Republican side was Utah’s Mitt Romney.
His speech from the floor of the Senate as to why he was voting to remove Donald Trump from the office he currently holds was one of the best displays of faith, and doing what Jesus would do, that I have ever seen in politics.
What he did and how he did it caught me off guard. I really didn’t expect any Republican to stray from the cult of the Donald and oppose Der Leader.
At this point once I’m going to pause and apologize to Sen. Romney for some of the things, I’ve said about him since he challenged my guy Barack in 2012 for the presidency.
When I heard that senators would be taking an oath that mentioned God, I scoffed and said that there should be two oaths — one for Democrats and one for Republicans. That’s because the deity Republicans were taking an oath to wasn’t in heaven, but down the street at the White House or in Florida collecting public funds.
By now, if you cared, you’ve seen or heard Romney’s words of how his decision to vote to remove Trump from office was being guided by his belief in God and his Christian principles.
From the Bottom, where I see things, the eloquence in the seconds of silence when Romney paused to gather himself and collect his thoughts before continuing was a thousand times better than anything Donald Trump has ever said.
It’s been said that great minds think alike. As I was listening to the replay of Romney’s speech that night, I tried to remember the lines from a play I once read about taking an oath before God, and made a mental note to look it up before writing this column.
The next night, talk show host Steven Colbert beat me to the punch when he quoted the passage I was thinking about during his monologue.
But that’s OK — some readers may not watch Colbert’s show.
The passage Colbert and I were thinking of comes from Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons. In it, Sir Thomas More is explaining to his daughter Meg why he has done what his has done.
He looks at her and says, “When a man takes an oath, Meg, he is holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And, if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.”
I found that I like Mitt Romney.
For years on one of my cars I had a bumper sticker that drove Republicans in West Tennessee and western Kentucky crazy when they saw it.
The reason I know it did was due to the number of middle finger waves I would get when they passed me.
The school resource officer at the school I worked at the time I drove the car always got a kick out of telling me that if my bumper was ever damaged, he had a prime suspect. A right-wing coworker had told him that she wanted to rip it off several times.
Upon learning that, I was certain to always park with the bumper facing the door.
On occasion, I’d get a thumbs up from a fellow liberal, but they were few and far between.
It was a simple bumper sticker. It read “The Last Good Republican” and below the words was an image of Abraham Lincoln.
After John McCain refused to go over to the dark side of the Republican Party the way Donald Trump and current GOP members and supporters have, I took a Sharpie and wrote his name under Lincoln’s.
If I still drove that car, I’d go write Mitt Romney’s name under McCain’s.
How about that state of the Union speech Trump gave? Raise your hand if you were surprised at how un-uniting it was.
While it’s normal for a sitting president to announce his legislative vision for the coming year or years, or launch his reelection agenda, until Trump, it wasn’t normal to attack political enemies and the loyal opposition the way he did.
Nor was it normal to award someone a Presidential Medal of Freedom, award a child a charter school admission or surprise a military family with the homecoming of their service member.
But in this age of Trump abnormal is now normal.
Speaking of schools, rarely does a political day go by without The Donald doing, saying or tweeting something that irritates or ticks me off in some way.
During his three and half years in office, he constantly irritates and ticks me off as a human being. There are times when he makes be ashamed to be a member of the same species of mammal as he.
He’s also irritated and ticked me off me as a spouse, a father, a son, a brother, a journalist and a liberal.
But during his state of the Union screed when he adopted the right wing tea party language for public schools and kept referring to them as “failing government schools,” he irritated and ticked me as an educator.
He could have been critical of public schools that are failing students, and at the same time applauded the majority that are doing right by the children in their charge.
But this guy can’t say anything nice abut entities that his base might dislike. It’s a zero-sum game with him, and I hope that’s the number of years he will have in a second term.
Speaking of good men, one of the best ones I’ve ever known passed last week and my journalist flag is flying at half-mast in honor of Mr. Bill Williams — the retired editor and publisher of this newspaper.
I could jokingly say that the reason he was a good man was that he hired me twice to write for his family’s newspaper, but I can’t.
I know he was a good man because of the way I watched him live his life, treat people and lead by example.
I first came to admire him as a writer. After looking at the sports page and the comics in The Post-Intelligencer as a kid, his column was almost always the next thing I read.
When I got to work in the same newsroom with him years later, the admiration grew. But the Mr. Williams I enjoyed getting to know the most was the thespian that lurked just below his mild-mannered exterior.
Over the years I knew him, we probably talked more about movies and plays than we did journalism stuff.
Among my favorite memories of Mr. Williams was the Dr. Seuss Day at Inman years ago while I was student teaching there.
He read “The Cremation of Sam McGee” to my seventh-grade literature class and acted out every verse. I loved it as much as the children did.
I could write a great deal more about him, but I know he’d have a problem with the length of this column.
While he was never personally critical of anything I wrote, there were times when he edited a column then emailed me that I had two columns, and he could split them in half — one for this week and one for next week — if I wanted.
I usually like to end a tribute to someone who has died that I admired with a quote or line from something, but the best thing to end a graph about an old newspaper guy is this:
— 30 —
Thanks for everything Mr. Williams.
Hi, Momma Lois.
TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.