The last time Mike Lee and I spoke, the words were harsh and loud. At least his were. I had written and spoken against his candidacy for the United States Senate, and he wasn’t very pleased, and he wasn’t bashful about letting me know.
He stormed off, and soon I was out of a radio job and he was off to Washington.
I chalked it up to speaking your mind and facing the consequences.
Years passed and in a twist of irony, my son went to work for him. He still does. My son is part of Mike Lee’s staff in Washington.
But we don’t much talk about work, and I’m not afraid of my son losing his livelihood if Mike Lee loses the election. Odds are, my son could make more money outside of government.
The point is, I’m neutral on Mike Lee. I bear him no personal animus, and I do not see him as essential to my son’s career. I don’t have a dog in this fight.
Except that I love this country. And I have some understanding of the importance of the United States Constitution to the LDS people.
And I think that’s relevant. I understand that many Utah voters oppose Mike Lee because he is a Mormon. That’s their right. I will talk no man out of his bigotry. But neither will I consider it a noble or serious issue. If you hate some guy because of his religion, that’s your problem, not mine.
But Mike Lee is a Mormon, and it shows.
I am a mostly failed Mormon myself, a poor example of the faith and of mankind in general. But I am knowledgeable about that church’s unique understanding of this country, its history and destiny, and of the sacred origins and pivotal role of the Constitution.
Mormons believe it was inspired by God. The Framers thought the same thing. Mormons believe it exists to safeguard liberty, to fight for free agency and the rights of conscience.
In fact, Mormons believe that the Constitution will be assailed and damaged, and that it will be people from among their own ranks who will help save it from danger, and preserve it and the nation. Their church’s founder, a guy from upstate New York named Joseph Smith, said repeatedly, in the early 1840s, that in a day of peril and uncertainty the Constitution would “hang by a brittle thread” and be rescued by Mormons.
That might seem kooky, but it is deeply believed, and it has shaped Mormon thinking.
“Next to being one in worshiping God,” a later church leader said, “there is nothing in this world upon which this church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.”
Which gets us back to Mike Lee.
He believes that.
And he has lived up to it.
I’ve watched him since he went to Washington. I don’t care about the politics of the day, who he’s endorsing or who he’s opposing, where he stands on one bill or another, but I do care about whether he is true to the Constitution, whether he is making prudent use of the precious Utah Senate seat which he holds.
And I have not been disappointed. In fact, I have been grateful and impressed. I have been converted to his capability – a capability that is all the more essential as the Constitution and our Republic are assailed on every side and from within by enemies of liberty and proponents of evil.
Mike Lee has always – always – been faithful to the Constitution and firm in his fidelity to and defense of its tenets. That was never truer than on the night of January 6, 2021, when a shaken nation tuned in to watch the proceedings of the Senate in the wake of violence and bloodshed in a mob assault on the Capitol of the United States. That night Mike Lee was clear, and he said that the Constitution was clear, and without mentioning anyone’s name, he told us exactly what was right and exactly who was wrong.
And he gave the nation calm, confident, reasoned leadership.
Mike Lee is not perfect. When excited, he doesn’t speak well off the top of his head and can get carried away. But he obeys his oath, and he does his duty, and with more than 20 useful years ahead of him, he is gaining wisdom and polish every day, prepared for now, and preparing yet more for whatever Providence has in store for him.
And I firmly believe that God does have a plan for Mike Lee. I likewise firmly believe that America does have a need for Mike Lee.
And I believe that Utah has a duty in regard to Mike Lee. And that duty particularly devolves upon those whose political beliefs are like his. If you are a conservative, if you are a believer in the Constitution, if you believe in a smaller government and a freer people, if American values are your values, then this is your candidate.
It’s not even close.
I don’t have a dog in this fight. Except that I love this country.
And I know that Mike Lee is what this country needs.