By Quin Hillyer;
To run for president, on short notice, without the institutional backing of a major party, and against the sneers of purveyors of conventional wisdom, would not be an easy thing to do.
But to consign the American electorate to a choice between two candidates of the dangerously low character and judgment of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, when any reasonable path exists to stop them, would be hideous.
Trump is morally, experientially, temperamentally, attitudinally, intellectually and philosophically unfit for the Oval Office. Clinton is profligately corrupt, manifestly incompetent, habitually untruthful, and – ideologically – disqualifyingly hard left despite years of ham-handed attempts to appear somewhat more mainstream.
To run as an independent and defeat them would be daunting, but eminently doable, as a growing number of analysts now are explaining. Potential candidates considering a run have been shown firm evidence that a strong framework already exists for ballot access, substantial initial financing, organizational assistance, and political savvy, such that an independent candidacy could launch into an immediately competitive position.
Granted, it is certainly true that family considerations, health challenges, and other legitimate concerns are not just good, but acceptable reasons to forgo a run. No potential candidate can be faulted for prayerfully bowing out if such hurdles are too high.
Nonetheless, if somebody does have the means and the opportunity to run and to make a credible race of it, and thus offer hope to many tens of millions of Americans who literally see a binary Trump-Clinton choice as a mortal danger to the nation’s future, then he would be a hero of heroes if he enters the fray. Whether he wins (which, again, is quite doable) or loses, no temporary criticism could possibly match the eternal honor with which wise and decent historians will portray his bid.
There are tens of millions of Americans appalled by the thought of a man (Trump) in the Oval Office who accuses an opponent’s father of involvement with the JFK assassination, who belittles the heroism of Vietnam POWs, who peddles the vicious falsehood that President George W. Bush knowingly and deliberately lied to insert our nation into war in Iraq, who advocates deliberate deathly targeting of innocent women and children who happen to be related to terrorists, who mocks the physical infirmity of a disabled man, and who has spent an entire career trampling the “Ordinary Joe.” We think both that man and Hillary Clinton are menaces to society who will leave utterly unprotected the traditional American ideals of personal liberty protected by a strictly limited government.
With Justice Scalia having died and the Supreme Court in the balance, we trust neither a hard leftist nor an unstable authoritarian to protect that liberty. Indeed, we believe that at this moment the Constitution itself hangs by a thread.
What we need, to borrow a Biblical image, is a “man who will stand” in the gap, offering to protect that liberty. The verse is Ezekiel 22:30 (New International Version): “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land.”
In 1968, retiring U.S. Sen. Frank Carlson of Kansas gave what became a semi-famous speech based on that theme, entitled: “Wanted: a Man – a Man Who Will Stand.” After significant exposition of the idea, he recited this litany:
The world today is looking for:
Men who are not for sale;
Men who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to the heart’s core;
Men with consciences steady from the needle to the pole;
Men who will stand for the right if the heavens totter and the Earth reels;
Men who can tell the truth and look the world right in the eye;
Men who neither brag nor run;
Men who neither flag nor flinch;
Men who can have courage without shouting it;
Men in whom the courage of everlasting life runs still, deep, and strong;
Men who know their message and tell it;
Men who know their place and fill it;
Men who know their business and attend to it;
Men who will not lie, shirk, or dodge….
God is looking for men… who have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. God, give us men.
In this case, may God give us just one man (or woman with Thatcherite strength), for a time such as this. We need someone – to borrow yet more poetry, this from Tennyson – who, standing athwart a Trumpian “mock-heroic gigantesque,” exhibits “some sense of duty, something of a faith,/ some reverence for the laws ourselves have made…. Some civic manhood, firm against the crowd.”
With such a man, one willing to risk five months for a rough campaign for the sake of salvaging a great nation for the ages, we can do this thing. We can win the race. We can heal the country and set it on a safer course. We can do heroic things. As Ronald Reagan told us, of course we can do them, because, “after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”
Yes, indeed, we are. And we will.