I probably disagree with Senator Jeff Flake on about 90% of the public policy questions facing our country, but his remarkable speech this afternoon speaks powerfully to values that exist outside and above our normal political debates.
The two paragraphs below stood out most for me, but the speech is worth watching or reading in full.
“When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.”
“We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.”
It is dispiriting, but not surprising, that in her daily press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Flake’s speech “petty.” Hard to imagine a more dramatic example of projection.