John Merrow, like millions of Americans, was appalled when the Republican National Committee attacked Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for serving on the House Committee investigating the insurrection of January 6. He was reminded of the film Spartacus.

He wrote:

In the 1960 movie “Spartacus,” the Roman Army puts down a slave revolt. The Commander of Italy offers to pardon thousands of slaves from crucifixion if they will identify Spartacus, the leader of the revolt. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) stands to give himself up, but as he says, “I am Spartacus,” so does another slave (Tony Curtis), followed by first one and then another. Eventually all the slaves are shouting proudly and defiantly “I am Spartacus.” It is a memorable display of heroism and solidarity.

Today, to declare “I am Spartacus” is to stand with those who are being wrongly accused or persecuted, no matter the cost.

If ever there was a moment for traditional Republicans to stand and declare “I am Liz Cheney. I am Adam Kinzinger,” it is now.

Which brings us to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two Republican members of the House of Representatives who were recently censured by the Republican National Committee “for their behavior which has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the Conference.” The resolution, passed overwhelmingly by voice vote of the RNC’s 168 members, also describes the January 6th insurrection as “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

It hasn’t happened. No Republican is upset enough about the direction of their party to stand and declare, “Enough.” No elected Republican has had the courage to declare that he or she will no longer align with the GOP until it comes to its senses.

Twitter ‘outrage’ is no substitute for political courage, but that’s pretty much all we’ve gotten.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a tweet, “It’s a sad day for my party—and the country—when you’re punished just for expressing your beliefs, standing on principle, and refusing to tell blatant lies.”

Former Massachusetts governor and current Utah Senator Mitt Romney also turned to Twitter: “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”

Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse also Tweeted: “January 6th was not ‘legitimate political discourse’ and I’ll say it again: It was shameful mob violence to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress to affirm the peaceful transfer of power.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who is not running for re-election, issued a statement through his PR team: “The Governor commends anyone who is willing to step forward and tell the truth, and disagrees with this vote. He has been clear that the January 6th riot was a violent insurrection and a sad day for democracy.”

No strong words from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and even retiring GOP Senators like Bob Portman of Ohio and Richard Burr of North Carolina have been quiet.

In the film, the defiant slaves pay dearly for their act of courage. Because Spartacus was not identified, the Roman leader crucifies nearly all of the slaves, saving two to battle to the death for the amusement of Roman citizens (with the victor then to be crucified).

The slave leader, Spartacus, learned an important lesson from what had happened: “When just one man says ‘No, I won’t,’ Rome begins to fear. And we were tens of thousands who said ‘No,’ and that was the wonder of it.”

While no Republican would be literally crucified for publicly declaring “I am Liz Cheney. I am Adam Kinzinger,” Fox News and other right wing voices would excoriate the defiant. However, it would not take ‘tens of thousands’ to halt the downward spiral the Republican Party has taken under Donald Trump. If enough Republicans had the courage to declare “I am Liz Cheney. I am Adam Kinzinger,” they might very well emerge strong enough to rebuild the Grand Old Party.

Today’s Republicans and the slaves of “Spartacus” differ in two crucial respects. The brave slaves in the film are being held in slavery against their will. Today’s gutless Republicans have chosen to be slaves. Their bondage is voluntary!

Since Merrow wrote this post, Senator Mitch McConnell criticized the Republican National Committee for censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their participation in the work of the Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. McConnell did not agree with the RNC that the attack on the seat of the Government was “legitimate political discourse.” McConnell said it was “a violent insurrection.” Anyone who was in the Capitol at the time was running for their lives to a secure hiding place. Not a sign of legitimate political discourse.

The members of the RNC are sniveling cowards.