Romney’s stand of courage: When civility is not enough

By Reade Brower | Feb 13, 2020

When FOX commentator Laura Ingraham called for Mitt Romney’s expulsion from the Senate, faith in humanity reached a new low.

As Trump and his allies name call, fire anyone who dared speak their truth, and continue the mantra of sham and hoax, one needs to step up, just like new cult hero Mitt Romney. Romney did what no other reasonable Republican has done to date in taking on Trump.

A Margret Chase Smith moment perhaps; history will determine if it was enough to shift the tides, or if Romney will get swept away by tsunami-like currents.

This column has preached civility; it’s now clear that is not enough to swing the pendulum toward the middle. Short of a revolution, what is the answer?

Truth should be the hammer, but it is not — Trumpism has destroyed truth; it is unrecognizable and denounced as “fake” from a president who can’t be wrong, can’t say he’s sorry, and doubles down ignoring facts and people not fitting his narrative.

When he tells us his phone call was “perfect,” do reasonable Republicans believe that or does the means justify the ends?

Trump is the self-professed smartest man in the world; smarter than generals, smarter than scientists, but he doesn’t even know the Kansas City Chiefs hail from Missouri (not Kansas as he stated when congratulating them after the Super Bowl).

Here’s why civility might not be enough to save us from his claims of “crazy witch hunts,” no matter how much proof exists. Trump makes this about “deranged partisan crusaders, demented hoax accusations, with loyalty at all costs.”

Civility in a marriage is a lousy goal; when couples are civil to each other it implies they tolerate one another rather than building the other up. Civility is one level above eyebrow-raising, a red-flag that support is lacking and the marriage a bad one.

Trump began his State of the Union address leaving Nancy Pelosi hanging; as she reached out her hand, he looked away (another form of eyebrow-raising). Instead of talking about that, his supporters lectured Pelosi for ripping up her copy of his speech after the event, Pelosi telling reporters it was a symbolic gesture after trying unsuccessfully to find one page of truth in the speech.

An AP fact check confirmed Pelosi’s truth regarding his statements on the economy, drug prices, manufacturing, oil and gas, health care and social security — all showing Trump bragging about false or exaggerated things.

His base doesn’t care. In January 2016 Trump crowed, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody, and not lose voters.” Recently, Trump attorney William Consovoy defended Trump’s abject refusal to comply with subpoenas to release his taxes, claiming immunity. When asked if immunity included Trump shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, Consovoy responded, “That is correct.”

If the lies don’t scare you, and the past whitewashed because you don’t care about his bankruptcies (absolute failures in business), dishonesty (Trump University and the Trump nonprofit charity shams, not to mention his Stormy affair) where guilt has been established beyond reasonable doubt, then what next?

The truth that viewership for his State-of-the-Union speech was down 26% will fall on deaf ears. Bad news is no news in Trump-world.

On my Facebook page, a young man began with the familiar name-calling common of an ardent Trump supporter. When asked to reconsider name-calling on my Facebook wall, he shot back that I could take it down myself; he was not going to self-censor.

Other friends weighed in, trying their best to understand the venom spewing from his fingertips. With curiosity, questions came and the conversation continued, until it didn’t. The next morning, his posts were gone, taken down by him after my curiosity asked him how the eight years of LePage had helped him and how he felt about leaving his young daughter with climate warming because his president doesn’t believe in science? Crickets followed those questions.

Mitt knows he’ll be judged. He says he answers to his God and then to his wife, children and family, then his friends. Those people will be proud that Mitt was the only Republican senator to vote with his conscience, putting aside his fear of retribution to do the right thing. History will judge him kindly, perhaps with reverence.

There are Republicans who truly believe in Trump, continuing to drink the Kool-Aid, even as he spews hatred during a prayer meeting, choosing that forum to bash anyone that spoke against him during impeachment.

But there are many others who do not believe and yet follow for expediency. They will answer to the future and to the next generation; will their children and grandchildren be proud of them?

As time continues, perhaps one more will come forward and say, “I’m with Mitt.” And then another.

If not, we’re damned.


There comes a point when a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience.” — Hartley Shawcross, politician, prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal (1902-2003)

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (5)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Feb 16, 2020 17:51

He did what his father did with Nixon. Only issue I have is with Mormons amassing a 100 billion dollar investment portfolio.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 14, 2020 13:25

Just came from St. Bernard's soup kitchen where someone bought a heart shaped box of chocolates for everyone there. Made my day! There are some awesome loving people in our midst. Hope you are one of them. :)

Posted by: MARY JEAN CROWE | Feb 13, 2020 08:18

Thank you for this Op Ed, Reade.  And, "VIVA Mitt Romney."

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 13, 2020 08:15

Yes, there comes a time that either we speak out or reap the consequences.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 13, 2020 07:47

Ever wonder why this man doesn't show the same disdain for lawbreakers as he does Mini Mike and Crazy Bernie?   Thankful for Mitt who was willing to stand the heat and do what is right.  Maybe we have descended too far into the abyss to come back. It has happened to other civilizations and can happen to us.

If you wish to comment, please login.