And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
So concludes the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Our nation’s founders, those declaring independence and those fighting to secure it, were men who valued honor and who derived their politics from moral principle.
Two hundred years later, such people still exist. But they are all too frequently effaced by greedy cowards who would exploit republican government for their own aggrandizement.
The Washington Post yesterday profiled one such dishonorable coward. Allen Raymond, a one-time Republican “operative”, spent three months in federal prison for a conspiracy to shut down the New Hampshire DemocratIC Party’s phone lines on a close election day. He admits to that and to other dirty tricks.
His contrition could freeze beer. “I can’t have all these regrets. I got my comeuppance and I paid my debt and I don’t work in politics anymore. I can’t even vote,” he says. “So I’m not gonna waste my time on regrets, because I paid the price.”
No, he hasn’t. Mr. Raymond, and other dirty tricksters like him, can’t even grasp, let alone pay, the price of what they do. They undermine truth; Mr. Raymond calls it “malleable”. They increase the difficulty faced by honest people trying to govern rightly. “The worst kind of client you can have is one who holds too firmly to his or her ideals,” Mr. Raymond says. “Election operatives like myself and the kind of politicians who hire us have ensured that idealists can’t win elections. Only the cynics are making the laws.”
This, in the United States of America, the first modern nation founded on ideals.
Mr. Raymond and his ilk are a disgrace to America and to the noble heritage of republican government.