Commentary, Local Commentary

Editorial: Pledging Our Allegiance

The most gripping live TV since the waning days of the Golden Girls and New York Knicks’ glory has been scheduled for its next episode this coming Tuesday morning. Without knowing more than the name of the principal witness and the fact that she’s a former Trump White House insider, the hearing will again be “must see” TV. These hearings have morphed from incredibly revealing and engaging crime dramas, rivaling the best of CSIs, Rockford Files and even some X-Files, into something more. They have become almost like a modern version of morality plays, pitting evidences of systemic (if not cosmic) lying, cheating, betrayal of our entire nation and the grossest treason in a century and a half against the principled, staunch refusal of ordinary citizens to stoop to all that.

Witnesses like the now famous Cassidy Hutchinson, top aide to the president’s chief of staff, have been juxtaposed to Trump’s sad cast of characterless characters who’ve soiled themselves, like Gen. Michael Flynn, in sworn depositions played before the committee by “taking the fifth” (a veritable admission of guilt) rather than answer a straightforward question about whether or not he believes in a peaceful transfer of power among U.S. presidents. Tuesday’s new episode promises not to disappoint. It is the hearings’ feature as 21st century morality play, however, which is its most enduring and salvatory effect on our national culture.

Teachers, parents, policy makers and the general citizenry should not miss out on the importance of these hearings from that standpoint. It is a glorious testament to the difference between good and evil, and watching them demolishes those relativist arguments that deny such entities, such concepts as good and evil, are valid in our modern culture. Good, and with it all the virtues of democracy, these hearings have demonstrated in spades, has to do with personal integrity and character. Our editor’s dad was brutish in a number of ways, but his one core commitment, that a person’s “word is his bond,” overrode many shortcomings. He was ruthlessly honest in his human dealings, and that counted for a lot.

The pathway to the healing of our society from the menace that is everything Trump represents goes in this way. This healing begins with respect for others, all others, even whether or not they are deemed worthy. Being devoted to truth is a manifestation of that. When you lie to someone, you are fundamentally disrespecting them. Our way out of this current mess begins with a commitment to honesty and respect. We can then go from there.

To those who insist there is no such thing as objective truth, however they consider the cosmos to be constructed, truth in the domain of interpersonal relationships is nonetheless valid and by extension to the social contracts that constitute our laws. Everyone is called on to pledge allegiance to this every time we raise our right hand in front of an American flag.