This morning Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a smart, well-presented conservative Republican from Illinois released a statement announcing he will not seek reelection to his Illinois House seat.
The news was somewhat expected as the seat he held is being redistricted which would make the upcoming race more difficult. But there was also expected the brash and outlandish behavior from the right-wing base in the midterm election due to his repeatedly stating why Donald Trump needs to be held accountable for actions against our nation on January 6th.
There were only ten brave, and may I add, patriotic Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump after the seditious attack on the Capitol. The most horrendous attack on our political institutions since the Civil War, a dagger at the very heart of our national ideals about the electoral process as the Electoral College Votes were being announced, and the vast majority of the Republican Party turned their backs on the nation.
Kinzinger stood up, took a correct stand, and has not backed down with his resolve to investigate and speak out about the threat to our democracy that occurred at the capitol.
When I walk to my desk each morning with a freshly-made cup of coffee I pass the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This morning my eye happened to land on the section of books in front of me about President Kennedy. With the news just announced about the congressman’s exit Profiles In Courage caught my attention, and my first thought was Kinzinger would be a great addition to the Kennedy book. (For those who might notice my OCD demands books on presidents be shelved chronologically.)
But then with the rubes who so thoroughly dominate the base of the GOP the book about Daniel Webster, Robert Taft, and others mean nothing. They never read it. I dare say, they have no idea it even exists. So adding the name of Kinzinger to those of others who proved to have the courage to do the right thing only resonates with the rest of us.
Kinzinger well understands the gravity of trying to deny, through brutal force and bloodshed the lawful transfer of the Oval Office to the winner of the 2020 presidential election, That being Joe Biden.
As we know from our own experiences doing the right thing does not always elevate a person or allow for justice to be demonstrated like an ending to a Hollywood movie. Kennedy notes in the book that acting in accordance with our ideals, at times, has to be enough reason alone to carry on. Bravery in politics may actually end a career in a legislative chamber.
The Congressman, however, made his position most clear in a Washington Post column. He is not backing down on what is required by one who carries the title of American Citizen. (It is a lesson we all need to heed.)
I firmly believe the majority of Americans — Republican, Democrat, independent, you name it — reject the madness of the past four years. But we’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead.
The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.
While it is clear Kinzinger will not seek a House seat his statement today made it clear he does not plan to go away. He said, “this isn’t the end of my political future”.
The Republican Party, whether they are able to now understand it or not due to the cult personality they have constructed around their Dear Leader Trump, needs Kinzinger. In fact, they need many men and women like him to lift the party out of the near fascist and truly deplorable state that it now finds itself.
The GOP was once a truly policy-oriented operation that had the ability to connect with voters about economic and international policy. Now the party is a laughing stock for every late-night comedian and scorned by younger voters who live in a country of growing diversity.
The absurdity with redistricting, which I comment about often, can again be proven to have caused concern not only for Kinzinger but also the nation. Due to the overly partisan created districts means the high-profile and bombastic primaries allow for the most extreme outcomes, from both parties, to prevail. That happens all too often which then creates a national spitting contest in Congress between the two sides. Which adds more fuel to the fire-eaters among the electorate. Which then adds more rhetoric to talking heads on radio and news channels. This then ups the ante for the next set of primary elections……
Kinzinger knew that was what would happen next year and wanted no part of it. Instead, he wishes to refashion the GOP into a party that again thinks and seeks actual solutions. He seeks to add that moderate voice that has been so diminished in recent years.
One can have a contrary perspective regarding the policy goals of Kinzinger, but we all can agree that his mission about the need of the Republican Party to morph back to sanity is worthy of national support.
Let us hope more members of the Republican Party, if they can not care for the nation following the insurrection, at least have enough self-interest to salvage their party.
And so it goes.