Wilt Chamberlain’s brilliant career was marred by one, deeply inexplicable decision: He chose a shooting technique that made him one of the worst foul shooters in basketball—even though he had tried a better alternative. Why do smart people do dumb things?
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
-General Douglas MacArthur
The president was acquitted by the Senate, but the American people are smarter.
The vote to acquit President Trump was a dark day for the Senate. Uninterested in hearing from witnesses (and likely scared by what they would say), uncritical of outrageous legal arguments made by the president’s lawyers and apparently unconcerned about the damage Mr. Trump has done to the integrity of America’s elections, a majority of senators insisted on looking the other way and letting him off the hook for a classic impeachable offense: abuse of public office for private gain.
But while the Senate got it wrong, the American people learned what’s right. This impeachment was about much more than the final vote of 100 senators. It was a process, and that process yielded a public education of extraordinary value. While the Senate may emerge from the process weakened, the American people, on the whole, emerge from it strengthened by a sharpened sense of what’s right and what’s wrong for an American president; of what it means for a political party to show moral courage; of what it looks like when dedicated public servants speak truth no matter the consequences; and of the importance of whistle-blowers for ensuring accountability.
The past few months have shown Americans a president who abused the public trust for his personal benefit. Before this process, we suspect, few Americans had dwelled on the question of when it crosses the line for a president to exploit for private political gain the tools of national power placed in his or her hands.
But impeachment has forced Americans to confront it — a question, it turns out, that was central to the framers’ decision to include impeachment in our Constitution. And Americans overwhelmingly reject what Mr. Trump did, with 75 percent saying in December that his Ukraine extortion scheme was wrong (a view that even some Republican senators have endorsed). That’s huge: For all that divides Americans today, this is a dominant consensus on what it means to abuse public office and distort American democracy.
Americans have also seen that, despite the intense pessimism and even disillusionment that many feel about politics, a political party still can show moral courage — regardless of the political costs. The Democrats were told constantly that impeachment would hurt them in November. Mr. Trump himself has boasted that it will, and what’s more he has relished the chance to claim exoneration and to take a victory lap at the same time as Democratic hopefuls began duking it out in earnest in the primaries. The Democrats knew all this, and what’s more, they knew they faced an uphill battle: That’s what the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds Senate majority to convict imposes from the beginning.
But they still did the right thing. They called out impropriety so glaring that it could not be suffered in silence. And they reminded all of us that a political party can pursue what’s right over what’s expedient — and so can a lone politician, as Senator Mitt Romney showed.
Americans saw on vivid display another form of courage: the incredible bravery of public servants who testified before the House of Representatives, the nation and the world — people like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Dr. Fiona Hill. They did so despite the gag orders issued by Mr. Trump to disobey Congress. They did so knowing they’d face death threats. They did so not knowing whether their testimony would yield the president’s impeachment or removal. And they spoke up because they believed in truth as an end in itself.
That’s a reminder, in our disinformation-fueled times, that candor is a value we must recover. And it’s a lesson for the American people that those who serve our government by working long hours for little pay and even less glory aren’t the “deep state” that Mr. Trump denounces but, instead, patriots.
Americans also received a lesson in the critical importance of whistle-blowers in holding our government to account. The role of whistle-blowers is as old as the government itself, dating back to the Continental Congress. But never has their necessity been put on display as clearly as when a courageous whistle-blower filed the complaint that, ultimately, led to the exposure of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine extortion bid.
In this, Americans can see why the United States has been protecting whistle-blowers by law since 1777: Through proper channels, they can provide internal accountability that other actors — like Congress and the press — often can’t achieve, especially when an administration like the current one so relentlessly tries to hide its misdeeds and resist oversight.
Remember also that the investigation into Mr. Trump’s Ukraine extortion scandal isn’t over. Trump’s own lawyers insisted that key witnesses like John Bolton should testify in the House, rather than in the Senate. And Mr. Trump’s entire defense was that the people should decide in November. So be it. The House has a continuing duty, as part of its oversight and legislative functions, to get to the bottom of what happened so that November will be a fully informed choice. Recall that it was Mr. Trump’s central defense that there weren’t witnesses who testified that they saw, firsthand, his extortion of Ukraine. The House now has an opportunity to do so. And it must, according to Mr. Trump’s own arguments, so that the November election can serve the function that Mr. Trump, in warding off impeachment, claimed it should.
President Trump may remain in office for now, but he now serves an American people that’s stronger for the journey our country has just taken. It’s a country energized by a sense of when a president has abused his office; reminded of how a political party can choose morality over political expediency; enlightened by the display of candor from public servants; and educated about the crucial nature of whistle-blowers and thus of the legal protections afforded them.
Regrettably, one political party has resisted acknowledging, let alone embracing, these lessons. That’s a danger to the Republic. And it’s one that Americans now need to address through their public advocacy, their community engagement — and, ultimately, at the voting booth in November.
“All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”
.. Their reward for this public-spirited bravery?
To be smeared as liars.
To be the objects of vicious criticism about their private lives — their marriages, divorces, and bankruptcies.
.. This incident happened almost 40 years ago, goes the outraged refrain. Why are these women only coming forward now?.. Here’s a better question: Why would any other woman, seeing what’s happened in the past week, ever come forward again?“This is exactly why women wait 40 years,” said Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who sued her longtime boss, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment... “It’s weaponizing the fear and shame of sexual-assault victims against themselves,” wrote Seth Mandel, an opinion editor at the conservative New York Post. Even for Breitbart, he said, “this is some low stuff.”.. What did the Breitbart reporters find in Alabama? Virtually nothing, but that didn’t keep the media company (headed by former Trump strategist, perpetual bombthrower and Moore-booster Stephen K. Bannon) from publishing screaming headlines.. “She did not go to them — they called her,” Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, told Breitbart... We were meant to recoil in horror, I guess, at how Post journalists committed treasonous acts of journalism. Yes, they persuaded their sources to go on the record, sometimes by making the case that there is a greater good to be served.“Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.”.. Fox News’s Sean Hannity brought the network’s legal analyst, Mercedes Colwin, on his show to blast women who accuse powerful men, saying that they mostly do it for the money... Then, bringing the trashing full circle, Breitbart offered the Sinclair-owned station a megaphone with this headline: “Alabama ABC Affiliate Can’t Find One Voter Who Believes WaPo Report about Roy Moore in Man-on-the-Street Segment.” (Speaking of journalism basics, it’s almost always pointless to stick a microphone in front of random people who often have only heard the general outlines of a developing story.).. Of course, it’s not The Post’s credibility that’s really under attack here. It’s that of the women themselves, who had the courage to be named, quoted and shown in photographs.
Thomas Merton writes, “Non-violence implies a kind of bravery far different from violence.”  Our dualistic minds see evil as black and white and that the only solution is to eliminate evil. Nonviolence, on the other hand, comes from an awareness that I am also the enemy and my response is part of the whole moral equation. I cannot destroy the other without destroying myself. I must embrace my enemy just as much as I must welcome my own shadow. Both acts take real and lasting courage.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) coined a new term, satyagraha, because “passive resistance” didn’t capture his mission. Satyagraha combines the Sanskrit word sat—that which is, being, or truth—with graha—holding firm to or remaining steadfast in. It is often translated as “truth force” or “soul force.”
.. To create peaceful change, we must begin by remembering who we are in God. Gandhi believed the core of our being is union with God. From this awareness, nonviolence must flow naturally and consistently:
Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being. . . . If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces
.. Regardless of what name we call the divine, Gandhi believed that experiencing God’s loving presence within is central to nonviolence. This was his motivation and sustenance as he fasted for peace, as he embraced the untouchables (whom he called “Children of God”)
“Whatever personal qualities they might have had, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are known to history for one reason: and that is they lead the armies of the Confederate States of America,” said Melvin Ely, a history professor at William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va.
“Washington and Jefferson, for all their flaws, achieved many things in their careers which have proved crucial to the development of the United States as a democratic republic,” he said.
.. While defenders laud the statues as testaments to Southern bravery and memorials to lost lives, detractors consider them inseparable from the violent movement to fracture the U.S. and keep African-Americans in bondage... Many of these local decisions have followed acts of violence. In the aftermath of the Charleston, S.C., mass shooting in 2015, for example, Nikki Haley, the state’s governor at the time, helped lead a move to remove a Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds... Each state gets to display two statues to commemorate notable people. There are about 10 Confederate soldiers and politicians in the Capitol, including a statue of Lee, placed in the Statuary Hall collection by Virginia...Two great-great grandsons of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson urged the mayor and monument commission to remove the statues in a letter Wednesday.
“Last weekend, Charlottesville showed us unequivocally that Confederate statues offer pre-existing iconography for racists,” wrote William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian.
“Confederate monuments like the Jackson statue were never intended as benign symbols,” they wrote. “Rather, they were the clearly articulated artwork of white supremacy.”
French president François Hollande called the attacks cowardly, but if there was one thing the attackers were not (alas, if only they had been), it was cowardly. They were evil, their ideas were deeply stupid, and they were brutal: but a man who knows that he is going to die in committing an act, no matter how atrocious, is not a coward. With the accuracy of a drone, the president homed in on the one vice that the attackers did not manifest. This establishes that bravery is not by itself a virtue, that in order for it to be a virtue it has to be exercised in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.