Mike Pence is no hero

If adhering to his oath of office is what it takes to be a hero, what of the hundreds of thousands of civil servants who do not take bribes when the opportunity arises, or put their relatives on the payroll?

Former VP Pence Joins Brian Kemp At Rally On Eve Of Georgia Primary

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a campaign event for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp at the Cobb County International Airport on May 23 in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The mainstream news media and the recent column, “Unlike Trump, Pence passed history’s test,” have been gushing about Mike Pence’s courage in declining Donald Trump’s demands to scuttle the legitimate votes of the American people in the 2020 election.

Some are even saying Democrats should praise him as a ”hero.” This exemplifies how far we have fallen in our concept of civic duty: an elected politician becomes a ”hero” simply by not committing a heinous, blatantly unconstitutional act that would have risked plunging the nation into a possible civil war and, incidentally, caused him great political damage.

After four years of slavishly applauding almost all of Trump’s ideas, no matter how ill-considered, at the last moment — when he was leaving office and could only harm his own potential electability — Pence properly decided to abide by his oath of office to ”protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Has this become praiseworthy merely because some around him were venal enough to violate theirs, to conspire to subvert democracy for personal political advantage?

If this is what it takes to be a hero, what of the hundreds of thousands of civil servants who do not take bribes when the opportunity arises, or connive to place their relatives on the payroll?

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Pence is still the politician whom many feared as a candidate.

He described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” who supports the “religious freedom” of business to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Amendment that would have outlawed same-sex marriage. He asserts that “only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.” 

He is still the politician who has been polishing his resume for many years to become our next president, potentially far more decorous and suave, and far more subtle, than Trump, but no less dangerous to our democracy.

Have we sunk so low that this is what we hold out as a high bar of integrity for other candidates to aspire to?

Steven Gruenwald, Schaumburg

The ongoing work of equality

Kris Manjapra’s op-ed in Monday’s Sun-Times is right to point out that the 1865 “Juneteenth” emancipation order by General Gordon Granger in Texas did not fully liberate its enslaved people, and in some ways furthered structural racism. 

However, that does not undermine the need to commemorate this event as the official end of chattel slavery in the U.S., an important milestone for our country. My great-great grandfather was among Granger’s troops stationed in Texas that day. He and millions of other Americans — Black, white, immigrant and native — fought a long and brutal war to achieve that end, with hundreds of thousands killed and many more suffering to help move humanity forward.

We should all celebrate that achievement, while aware of its limitations, and dedicate ourselves to the ongoing work for the equality of all.

John D. Cameron, West Ridge

Cheating mentality

Cheating is so natural for Trump that he simply can’t believe why people would not cheat on an election. He has lived his life cheating, and it’s all he knows.

Edwina Jackson, Longwood Manor

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