“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” — Ronald Reagan
The events our nation witnessed in the Capitol Building on January 6th did not represent the moral courage that President Reagan spoke of. It was ugly, un-American, and one of the darkest days in our history.
But I know that it is the will and moral courage of free men and women that has made America the envy of all nations, and I am confident that it is what will allow us all to turn the page to our brightest days yet.
Second only to that moral courage is our Constitution, a weapon in our arsenal that has persisted because of the will and the consent of free people. In their attempt to disrupt the certification of electors and the Constitution, the rioters only proved that it is the Constitution that allows our Republic to withstand even the most egregious attacks; we will not be deterred from doing what is right.
Never has that been clearer than in the early hours of January 7, when Congress reconvened to fulfill its duty and certify the electoral college results despite the attack on the Capitol hours before.
On January 7, even as we were still shaken by the attack on the Capitol, Americans could take comfort in the knowledge that our Republic stood, thanks to the Constitution and the will of many.
I am grateful our Founders created a document that has stood the test of two centuries of American history and strife, ensuring the voice of the people has prevailed above all else.
That document is what led to another important step on those same Capitol steps this week. We witnessed the peaceful transition of power, as Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States.
And today, each American should summon the moral courage to be a part of the solution, rather than the problem, and to make sure that our nation is made stronger by the challenges it faced.
While I may not agree with every decision made by the Biden Administration in the years to come, I will be praying for their success, because their success is America’s success. When disagreements do arise, I’m optimistic that we will choose to express ourselves with civility and respect, because, as President Biden said in his inaugural address, “disagreement cannot lead to disunion.”
We have seen the ultimate destination of incivility and disunion: it’s broken windows in the Capitol and National Guardsman patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. This is not a destination that any patriotic American wanted to reach.
But, if we want to make our nation stronger, it will require, again, as President Biden said, “the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”
We all have a responsibility, starting with the way in which we treat those with differing opinions. Being kind and respectful to those who are different from you is not always the easy or the popular thing to do, but it is the courageous thing to do.
Today is an opportunity for our nation to turn the page and begin a new chapter.
I am confident that the will and moral courage of free men and women in this nation will be a powerful force in making a more perfect Union.
Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) represents the 15th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.