Sometimes all it takes is for one man or one woman to stop, stand, and say “I cannot, I will not tolerate this any longer.” Martin Luther took such a stand when he nailed his 95 Theses to a wall in a city in Germany. He did not intend to start the Protestant Reformation and change the face of Western civilization. He only wanted to point out what he felt needed to be changed, or reformed, in the Roman Catholic church.
We have all seen the image of the lone student standing defiantly against the Chinese Arm’s tanks in Tiananmen Square. While the uprising was eventually quashed by the government, no one will ever forget his courage.
This site recently published an article about a POW Master Sergeant in World War II who refused to turn over any Jewish soldiers under his command to the Nazis. Defiantly, and with a pistol to his head, he declared “We are all Jews here.” And the Nazis backed down.
Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to take a solitary stand for what they believe and to speak truth to power, regardless of the consequences. We are lucky if we live in times where such courage exists.
In a recent discussion on Twitter (we all know about Twitter, right?) I was fending off attacks from Trump supporters who were insisting that Trump be sworn in immediately as President. Despite my attempts to explain to them the role of the Electoral College in the process of electing a president, I was called everything from “stupid” to a “nitwit.” Then someone whom I did not know entered the discussion, saying “Susan is right. I am an Elector and you are the nitwit.” or words to that effect. After exchanging a few further comments, we both then left the discussion. I was impressed by what he had said, so I decided to follow him on Twitter.
But based on what he had told me I soon realized that 1) he was from Texas 2) Texas voted for Trump thus 3) my knight in shining armor was a Trump Elector! And yet he sounded so reasonable. In the coming days, I and the rest of the nation were to learn a lot more about this man. He is a paramedic who was one of the first responders at 9/11. That alone should qualify him as courageous in anyone’s book. But this man possesses not only physical courage but moral courage as well.
Chris Suprun, the man who came to my defense on Twitter, announced in an op/ed piece in the New York Times on December 5th that he would not be casting his electoral vote for Donald Trump. He outlined his reasons in that article. He will not vote for a Democrat, but, based on what he has seen SINCE the election, he does not believe that Trump is a fit candidate for President of the United States. Some would call him a “faithless elector” although Texas has no penalties for electors who do not vote for the winner of the popular vote. Instead, he defines the type of elector that Alexander Hamilton envisioned when he wrote The Federalist Paper #68.
Despite the desperate hopes of many, it is doubtful that his stand will make any difference in the outcome of the Electoral College vote. If he is, as some have claimed, seeking his 15 minutes of fame, then he is certainly paying a high price for it. He told me, well before his announcement, that he had already been receiving death threats. I have seen comments on Twitter by people who are actually praying for his death. It is likely that his local Republican party will repudiate him.
Perhaps he is like Don Quixote tilting alone against windmills. There are worse examples to follow. At least we know there is one man who is willing to speak truth to power, to follow his conscience no matter the consequences, to place right above might, and in the words of the song “The Impossible Dream” from the musical based on the life of Don Quixote:
“To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march,
March into Hell
For that Heavenly cause”
Our country needs far more Chris Suprun’s if we hope to regain our moral compass and stand up to the likes of Donald Trump.