WASHINGTON , Feb. 28, 2016 – There comes a time when an individual, a group, a military outfit or even a nation must make a stand for the cause, whatever that cause might be.
Senate Republicans are known for caving in. Principles are not a part of their foundation. Compromising is their bread and butter. They are not known for standing tall for their cause in the face of adversity.
Yet in the 1860s, the Republican Party made a moral stand. The party pressed reluctant congressional members to abolish slavery in America. They ensured that black s were afforded the right to become full citizens and were able to own property. They also saw to it that blacks were afforded the right to vote.
To a man, republicans stood their ground against racist Democrats who fought every civil rights bill that was ever brought before Congress. They also stood up to moderates within their own political party. And they prevailed. Black America was liberated.
Perhaps the GOP could learn from the Greeks.
The famous Battle of Thermopylae was a fierce battle between the defending Greek city-states (led by Athenian general Themistocles, King Leonidas I of Sparta and Demophilus of Thespiae) and the attacking Persian army of Xerxes I of Persia (now Iran).
The total number of Greek forces numbered from 5,200 to 11,200. The Persians fielded between 70,000 and 300,000. Although outnumbered, the Greek coalition stood their ground against the massive Persian army.
At the time of the threat, the Spartans, the most feared warriors of Greece, were enjoying a festival called Carneia, during which no armed battles were allowed. King Leonidas of Sparta, wanting to keep his promise to the Greek coalition, could only take his personal bodyguard of 300 men, who were not subject to the decisions of the council, to ward off the advancing Persians.
Once they were ready for battle, the Greeks positioned themselves in front of the Phocians’ defensive wall and formed the Greek phalanx, an impenetrable wall of men that rotated continuously so those out of the battle would be brought in and out, keeping the Greeks from tiring.
King Xerxes watched in horror as the Greeks demolished his army without losing many of their own men. Frustrated, he ordered in his elite troops, known as the Immortals, to do battle with the Spartans and their allies. The results were the same. They were slaughtered.
In the end, the Greeks were betrayed by a Greek named Ephialtes, who went to Xerxes hoping for a reward by telling Xerxes about a goat trail in the mountains that would take the Persians around and behind the Greeks.
Knowing they had been betrayed, the Greeks held council. The majority of the Greek forces were released to form a more defensive position several miles behind the frontlines.
Left to fight the Persians were what remained of the 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Greeks stood their ground and fought to the death.
The Greeks did not cut and run or make deals. They stood for their cause.
If that history lesson was too old for the Senate Republicans, they can study Gen. Custer and his infamous last stand. They can look to World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, in which 80,000 American G.I.s were killed, captured or wounded, more than in any battle in U.S. history, by 250,000 advancing Germans.
In each of these examples, men were willing to risk everything, even their lives, for the cause they believed in.
The question now is whether Senate Republicans are willing to make the same stand for their cause.
The sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, an unwavering stalwart of conservative principles, has unleashed a desperate battle. The battle is between conservatives and liberals over the very future of the Supreme Court and the country.
The current president has signaled his intent to name a replacement for Justice Scalia before he leaves office. He is likely to select a left-leaning ideologue who will continue his progressive policies for generations after he leaves office.
If he is successful, should the Senate Republicans cave in, America as we know it would cease to exist.
Two barriers could stop this outcome: The Senate Republicans and the American public. No one is asking Senate Republicans to sacrifice their lives. Conservatives just want them to stand up to this president and stand up for their country.
If ever there was a time in our history for its leaders to stand their ground, it is now.
We have a president who is conducting state affairs as if he has been declared dictator for life. He is allowing illegal aliens to enter this country and implementing lax refugee policies that open the possibility of jihadists posing as refugees to enter our borders.
This is a president who has no problem enforcing the laws he likes. Those he dislikes, he ignores.
He has purposely sowed the seeds of discontent between blacks and whites. He has caused friction between Hispanics and other groups, thanks to his stand on immigration. Instead of creating bridges between the black community and law enforcement, he has stoked the flames of distrust and hatred between the two groups.
As for Republicans and Democrats, the two parties are as polarized as they have ever been.
On foreign policy, he has embraced and supported our enemies while ignoring our traditional allies.
He has also degraded the United States Armed Forces, previously the most capable and most lethal fighting force in history.
And there’s more on the domestic front.
Since taking office in 2009, food stamp rolls under President Barack Obama have risen to more than 48 million people in America, exceeding the population of Spain.
If you add the current number of Americans without a job (9.75 million) to the number of U.S. citizens not in the labor force (92.02 million), you come up with 101.77 million working-age Americans who are unemployed, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When it has suited his needs and agenda, President Obama has used government agencies, such as Homeland Security, the EPA and the IRS, as enforcers to intimidate us and make us conform.
And by naming liberal justices to the Supreme Court, he has used that institution to give legal standing to his policies.
This is why the Republican Senate must stay the course. They must grow a spine and stand up to this man.
This is a grand opportunity for the Republican leadership to stand firm and stand tall. If they do, they will be immortalized much like those brave Greeks and the 1860s Radical Republicans and the brave men and women in today’s military.
As citizens, we challenge every senator to remain obedient to their word and the oath he or she took to protect and preserve what we cherish so deeply, the United States Constitution, our Bill of Rights and our way of life.
2016 is truly the year Republicans, conservatives, independents and the undecided must band together and beat back the progressive/socialist takeover of our country. It is truly a now or never proposition.
Let us not forget that those who died for this country did not die for the cause of socialism or communism.
Sure, the left will cry foul and call the Republicans obstructionists and utter more profane expressions to inaccurately characterize their principled stand. But in the eyes of the people who truly matter, they will be regarded as great leaders and true patriots to be admired for all time.
Perhaps the Senate Republicans can take a lesson from a group of young boys.
In 1899, the streets of New York City were filled with the voices of the newsboys, or “newsies,” as they were known. These young boys were mostly poor orphans and runaways, some as young as 7 years old.
They slept on the cold streets of New York with no place to go and no families to turn to. They supported themselves by selling newspapers on the crowded corners of New York.
There were two major New York newspapers at the time, the New York World and the New York Journal. They were owned by the two most powerful men in New York, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.
These youngsters played a crucial role in getting the papers into circulation. They had to be persuasive because they were not afforded a refund on the papers they failed to sell. If they did not sell enough papers, they didn’t eat.
It was tough on them, no doubt.
At some point, the two newspaper barons raised the price they charged the boys for the papers they sold. Highly upset, the boys banned together and went on a city-wide strike. They even tied up the Brooklyn Bridge for three days.
Nearly 5,000 of them stood in solidarity until Hearst and Pulitzer capitulated and agreed to their demands.
Surely, if a group of pre-pubescent boys have big enough kahunas to stand up to these two very wealthy and powerful newspaper barons and win, the Republican Senate can stand up to a former community agitator and shield the country from his Supreme Court nominees.
Honestly, how hard can that be?