I Tip My Cap to You, Joe Manchin

- Advertisement -

Sen. Joe Manchin speaks to reporters in Washington, May 28.



Photo:

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin

is a courageous man. He has strong views and hails from a state that values independence. Recently he chose not to support the For the People Act. He also stood up for preserving the Senate filibuster. In both cases he opposed his party’s leaders.

Setting aside the pros or cons of his positions, the vitriol unleashed against him by his fellow Democrats is condemnable. Heaven forbid someone in American politics actually does what he thinks is right.

I know a thing or two about standing up to your own party. I won no friends when, as a Republican member of the House, I led opposition to President

George H.W. Bush’s

budget because of its sky-high deficits. My decision as governor to extend Medicaid healthcare benefits to more low-income Ohioans was lambasted by Republicans because of the move’s tie to ObamaCare. My opposition to

Donald Trump

sparked equal hostility.

What rankled me then, and frustrates me as I watch what’s happening to Mr. Manchin, is that critics always ask the wrong question. Instead of asking, “Why won’t those troublemakers just do as they’re told?” it’d be better to think of it this way: “If they’re willing to take this much heat, do they see something I don’t?”

Courage is valued not because it’s common or easy—just the opposite. It brings risks to prosperity, reputation and even life and limb. No one wants to be in that position. Everyone would rather be loved. Therefore, when someone is willing to risk stakes that high, shouldn’t it make us pause for a moment? Taking it a step further, when someone takes a path that potentially comes with high costs, and we only respond with criticism, are we missing something amazing unfolding right before us that we say we value—courage?

All too often we only celebrate courage in the rearview mirror. Change agents like Martin Luther King Jr.,

Natan Sharansky

and

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

—opposed by “the system” of their times—could attest to that. Developing the collective wisdom to close the gap between when courageous acts occur and when they’re appreciated could save us all a lot of pain.

Groupthink will never help us come together as a nation. We need to get to a place in politics where courage is valued and standing on principle is rewarded. Those with a different view aren’t right every time. Who is? But dismissing every view that diverges even slightly from your own is no strategy for success.

The courageous are lonely. Mr. Manchin is looking around today wondering where all his friends went. I don’t need to tell you this, Joe, but it’s better to be lonely and right than wrong in a crowd. No one ever changed the world for the better by following a script.

In politics and in life, when we see someone taking a different path, especially a hard and unforgiving road, maybe we shouldn’t rush to doubt his judgment. Instead, maybe we should have the courage to question our own.

Mr. Kasich, a Republican, served as governor of Ohio, 2011-19.

Potomac Watch: As Democrats redefine infrastructure to include climate change, green energy and union worker protections, Republicans push for a bipartisan bill that’s not “socialism camouflaged as infrastructure.” Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the June 8, 2021, print edition.

Latest news

Emergency Landing for China’s Flying Pig Prices

Prices of everything seem to be going up this year. Pork...

Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Major Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee

WASHINGTON—A House committee approved far-reaching legislation to curb the market dominance of tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., but much of...

Investing in police important to rebuild community trust, Cedric Richmond says

Cedric Richmond, Senior Presidential Adviser: ...
Related news

Emergency Landing for China’s Flying Pig Prices

Prices of everything seem to be going up this year. Pork...

Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Major Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee

WASHINGTON—A House committee approved far-reaching legislation to curb the market dominance of tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., but much of...

Investing in police important to rebuild community trust, Cedric Richmond says

Cedric Richmond, Senior Presidential Adviser: ...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here