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Howard Coop | A reliable principle

It caught my attention…and held it.

During an interview on national television, a former president, one who shall remain unnamed, defined as he understood it, the responsibility of the individual — man or woman — sitting in the Oval Office when confronted with a problem.

That former president said, “First, he (or she) must always ask, is it the right thing to do?” At the moment, I thought ‘that is an excellent answer, and he has it right. That applies to every individual who faces any kind of a problem at any time.’ But the former president did not stop there.  After a brief pause during which he appeared to be reflective, he went on to say, “But he must always ask, is it the right thing to do for the United States?” Now, that sounds reasonable also, doesn’t it? When it comes to our fatherland, we should always want the right thing to be done.

But the more I thought about those statements, the more I thought ‘Is the former president saying that right is a variable reality, something that changes from one situation to another to suit that particular situation?’ Then, I remembered that the definition of right is some set standard. That is a short definition, but it says a lot. To be set is to be in a settled or firm position. So, to emphasize that, we say that something is cut in stone.

Situations may change, but right doesn’t. Right is always right. It is not what I want it to be at any given moment, and it is a reality that cannot be bent to fit a particular situation. There is an old adage that says, “God never alters the robe of righteousness to fit the man, but the man to fit the robe.

At all times, the ship of state must be steered by a reliable principle: We are “one Nation under God.”  There may be storms, but that principle will get us to port.