To young people today the name “Roy Rogers” may mean nothing more than a chicken sandwich in a fast-food restaurant. But to older people who were children in the 1940s and 1950s, his name means much, much more.
Like millions of other kids at that time, I saw and enjoyed Roy Rogers’ movies and wore a Roy Rogers leather gun belt for two six-shooter cap pistols. As a movie star on a Palomino horse, he was a straight-shooter, a visible emblem of honesty and integrity. He inspired us with his willingness to stand up for the things he believed. He gave us standards to live by that helped teach us the difference between right and wrong, and he lived his life off-camera with the same decency and humility that he projected in the movies and on television.
Thinking of him, and in his honor, for two years now I’ve given my Roy Rogers Straight-Shooter Award to people who have shown great courage and have stood up for what is right.
The award this year goes to Rep. Justin Amash, a five-term Republican congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who, after studying the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller for a month, has concluded that the president of his own party, Donald Trump, has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
As he said, he read the 448-page report cover to cover, read or watched statements and testimony and discussed the report with his congressional staff, who thoroughly reviewed all the relevant materials and gave him further analysis to consider.
Then he made four bombshell conclusions and sent them out everywhere on Twitter, saying:
“Here are my principal conclusions:
Attorney General [William] Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
Few members of Congress have read the report.”
And he declared:
“In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.
“Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meets the threshold for impeachment.
“In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.
“Under our Constitution, the president ‘shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ While ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.
“While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.
“Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law — the foundation of liberty — crumbles.
“Few members of Congress [have] even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation — and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release.
“America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.”
My parents belonged to the Republican Party — the Grand Old Party. They have long since passed away and they could not have imagined the Republican Party as it is today. But they would have recognized Rep. Justin Amash, a courageous Republican.
After he stood up and said the things he said, Amash had a speaking date in his Grand Rapids home district. When he entered the auditorium, 900 of his Republican constituents rose and gave him a standing ovation.