Solving Our Family Tree Mystery Opens Old Wounds

Solving Our Family Tree Mystery Opens  Old Wounds

Putting it all Together – Part 4

(Part 4 of a series on building out Michael’s maternal family tree, read: Our biggest brick wall breakthrough so far started with a forgotten tweet, a LOT of work, and migraine on Super Bowl Sunday: Putting it All Together Part 1, The brick wall starts to crumble: Putting it all together – Part 2, and One stunning turn after another as our brick wall falls: Putting it all together – Part 3)

Patrica’s loss hit the entire family hard. Her death was unexpected, even after years of various health issues. She was only 61 years old and full of life…it just didn’t seem like it was her time. We were jolted because we’d literally just reached out to her to learn how she knew (guessed?) the secret that her Father had a child with her Aunt. A secret that took us 4 DNA tests and years of research to piece together. It didn’t seem real that we couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask her family history questions anymore. It really hit us when it sunk in she wouldn’t ever be laughing with us as she doted on our children. 

Her brothers, who a day before sat in our Dining Room receiving our big news, were now in charge of their sister’s funeral. They asked if we’d do the obituary and was a natural ask. We’d probably read more obituaries than anyone else they knew, but it was a sobering task for someone we loved so much.

A Second Family

Funeral Program, Patricia White (1958-2109)

In addition to learning that Felice’s Mother “Susan” was Pat’s half-Sister, we also had recently figured out their Father Luther had a 2nd family. Two of his daughters from that 2nd marriage tested with AncestryDNA, and we had confirmed their linage through vital records. They had just lost a half-Sibling, and the brothers agreed we should confirm their information for the obituary. We reached out to both of the DNA testers, leaving messages about losing their half-Sister. 

One of the siblings responded, and we found out that we had unknowingly opened up old wounds. Luther’s 2nd family was close to him, closer than the children of his 1st marriage. While his 2nd family was news to most of us, Luther’s children from his marriage to Ann knew of them. They were apparently dismissive and cold as Luther was dying.

The dynamics became apparent when we learned we’d never get a response from the other DNA tester. The wounds and anger ran too deep. Even the tester we were working with was struggling hard participating with us. She understood we played no role in the drama, and she had enjoyed their time with Pat. But there was too much damage done to want to revisit this side of the family. She did eventually provide information on her siblings which allowed us to include them in the obituary. However, even though they lived in town, two of the children from the 2nd marriage did not attend her funeral. 

After the Funeral

After the funeral, our contact with the 2nd family asked about Susan’s DNA results. She too couldn’t figure out how Susan could be so close a match. We explained that her Father had a child with the Sister of his first wife, and that only added to the pain we’d opened. In the end it was all too much. While very supportive and respectful, it was clear she needed some time before reaching out again. I doubt we’ll ever initiate another conversation with the 2nd family.

Ann’s surviving children now know that Susan is their half-Sister, as well as their 1st cousin. They have decided that Ann doesn’t need to know the truth, and we won’t be bringing it up. For this reason, we didn’t include Susan as a sibling in Pat’s obituary. 

One Last Puzzle to Solve

When we started that Super Bowl Sunday we had two theories: 1) Susan was the Daughter of Luther; and 2) Luther’s Grandmother Sarah Moore’s maiden name was Jones and she was the daughter of Roman and Mary Jones. Several months later, the final piece of that puzzle fell into place.

The proof on the second theory came when we were browsing around FamilySearch in December that year. There was a hint showing the Marriage Register of Joseph and Sarah Moore, married in 1894 in Carroll County, Mississippi. Carroll County is where Roman and Mary had raised there children and would reside in until their deaths. The marriage record showed that Sarah’s maiden name was Jones, and she was born in 1873. That’s the matches the records for Roman and Mary’s daughter.

Michael Leonard's maternal family tree
Susan Moore is the missing link to 17 DNA matches

Combined with our other research, we’re confident this being the same Sarah meets the Genealogical Proof Standard. Additionally, the cM’s in other the DNA tests fit and support this link. We’re now able to link our family tree with the 17 DNA matches we’d grouped together in the “Casting a Wide Net” series.

Putting it All Together

In the end we realized we had much of the data needed to break down these brick walls all along. Going back to June 2018 we had a good idea that Susan and Charles were closer than 1st Cousins. If we’d opened our minds a bit, we likely should have figured out they shared Fathers. We had Sarah Jones’ daughter in our family tree, and a little digging could have likely linked her pretty quickly. Also, it was pretty clear there was no link on Susan’s maternal line to those 17 DNA matches. 

Even with that, it took a stroke of inspiration on a random Super Bowl Sunday to put it all together. We learned our lesson on this. Again. We often have all we need to solve these mysteries, we just need to better examine the data. We also opened more family wounds than we would have liked, including ones with families we didn’t even know existed. Additionally, there doesn’t feel like we have any closure by resolving Felice’s Mother’s biggest family history mystery. Susan doesn’t discuss her father and the family dynamic hasn’t changed. While they all know they are 1/2 siblings, they still rarely interact…just like Cousins. 

Was it worth it?

Michael’s family tree is now more complete and the stories of Roman and Mary Jones help round out his family history. Genealogically, it was a clear success and two brick walls have been toppled. Still, it’s hard to see this as a victory. These “mysteries” often weren’t that when the people involved were alive. It’s likely become lost to future generations because those who lived them didn’t want them to be known. They often aren’t just quirks of poor record keeping. Brick walls aren’t always meant to fall.

We’ve said it before in this blog: Building a family tree using DNA testing is serious (Family History is a hobby…but DNA is serious business). Even when the tools work better than hoped, the results can be complicated and painful. We will always tell the truth we find in our journey, but we have learned to consider whether we want an answer to the questions we ask.

One stunning turn after another as our brick wall falls: Putting it all together – Part 3

One stunning turn after another as our brick wall falls: Putting it all together – Part 3

(Part 3 of a series on building out Michael’s maternal family tree, read Putting it all together Part 1 – Our biggest brick wall breakthrough so far started with a forgotten tweet, a LOT of work, and migraine on Super Bowl Sunday and Putting it all together – Part 2: The brick wall starts to crumble)

In the months after that Super Bowl Sunday Felice and I talked a lot about sharing what we suspected. We talked to her Mother “Susan” to gauge if she wanted to know if we found troubling results. She was hard to read. Susan seemed pretty indifferent, but it also seemed like she was increasingly uncomfortable with discussing the topic.

The cousin with the very high centimorgan match with Susan also had a deep interest in Felice’s family history. “Charles” is the son of “Ann”, but he’d  focused more on his Mother’s side when he was doing family research. At the time, he was the only DNA test we had to reference for his Father Luther’s decedents. We started working with Charles getting his test into GEDmatch and leverage their tools to confirm our “3/4 Sibling” theory.

We also started building out Luther’s family tree, and ordered the Birth/Marriage/Death records of himself, his siblings, parents, and children. After Luther and Ann split in Mississippi, she moved to Milwaukee and he moved to Hartford, CT. Luther started a second family with a woman and they had 6 children together.

Family tree  reflecting our new theory that "Susan's" father was Luther White.
Our new theoretical family tree

The work to move Charles’ test into GEDmatch had fallen off (as we began to question if we would continue using GEDmatch for our African American family). In the meantime we were surprised by two new DNA test matches for Susan. Two of Luther’s children from his second marriage tested with Ancestry, and they matched both Susan and Charles as half-siblings. That sealed it. We didn’t need to do a deeper dive into their chromosomes. There was no doubt that Luther was the father to the 2 new siblings, as well as Charles and Susan.

It was time to talk to Susan, especially because we needed to understand from her how we could proceed and if we could share this information with anyone but her. Felice and I talked to her early in the summer of 2019, and she didn’t show much reaction. She was pretty calm about it, and we weren’t quite sure if they believed it or not. In the end, proving how she matched the children from Luther’s second marriage settled it. Susan was ok with us sharing this with whomever we wanted, and we decided that we’d talk with Charles next. As a fellow family historian, he was most interested, and he’d know how to approach his mother Ann about this.

We had a few more conversations with Susan, giving her time to change her mind. But she was fine, and about 6 weeks later we setup a time to have Charles to talk.

He brought his brother “George” with the next Friday and we laid out everything we knew. They were speechless. We talked it through a few times, and they understood that we’d found the truth: Susan was not just their cousin but their sister as well, and that their Father had been with their Aunt at least once.

Michael with Patricia in 2014
Patricia, with Michael, Shakiera and Felice in 2014

At the end of it all, George calmly said “You know, all these years and Patricia was right. She said dad was Susan’s dad and I just brushed it off. But somehow, she knew…she was right!”. This just rocked our world.

Patricia was their baby sister, and we are close to her. She was our first family history interview subject and had been a valuable source. Pat loved to share stories about the family and bound everyone together for us. Pat was one of our first family history interviews and we had asked her who might be Susan’s Father. She was the first person to share “Big James” as the most likely candidate, but now it appeared this deep family secret wasn’t secret to her. Pat just hadn’t shared it with us.

As soon as the brothers left, we called Pat and left a message asking her to call us back. Our voicemail explained that we had some information we’d come across and we wanted get together the next day. It had been too long since we’d talked to Pat, and we loved seeing her so we were excited. Plus, it sounded like she was going to help fill in some of the gaps on this major family twist.

Unfortunately, we’d never get to discuss these findings with her. We received a call from Charles the next morning that she had passed away unexpectedly overnight. Not only were we grieving the loss of one of our favorite family members, but one of the keys to unlocking this mystery was now gone…just a few hours after we found out she held that key. We were stunned.

This turn of events would only bring more family pain to the surface, even as the last pieces of this mysterious family tree fell into place.

Check out the next in the series: Solving Our Family Tree Mystery Opens Old Wounds

The brick wall starts to crumble: Putting it all together – Part 2

The brick wall starts to crumble: Putting it all together – Part 2

(Part 2 of a series on building out Michael’s maternal family tree, read: Putting it all together Part 1: Our biggest brick wall breakthrough so far started with a forgotten tweet, a LOT of work, and migraine on Super Bowl Sunday)

One of the all-time best family history interviews we’ve ever conducted was with Felice’s Great Aunt “Ann”. Ann and Felice’s Grandmother Delia were well known for being pretty crazy in their younger days. They were clearly free spirits who came of age about 20 years too early, and too deep in the bible belt. They would have fit well into the Summer of Love in 1967, or the singles bar scene of any major city in the 1970s. Neither was single, but that was never an issue for them.

By the time Super Bowl XV kicked off that night we knew we likely had identified Felice’s mystery Grandfather. We also knew that we were going to be changing a lot of family history.

Ann, who is now 82, has always been a kind, happy woman. Never out to hurt anyone, but never too concerned about what others thought about her ways. She told us stories about how she married her first husband, Luther White when she was pregnant at 13 years old. They only briefly lived together and she “made him stay in the streets because he was a whore”. Ann said he would come over from time-to-time and she’d “let him do what he had to do”, which resulted in them having a child every year or two. Luther’s parents supported her and the children, and they went on to have 9 children together.

Ann eventually moved out of the White household, and soon found a man to move in with. She explained that she needed a “babysitter” so she and Delia could go out and enjoy themselves, and this man fit the bill. Ann says that Delia might have been a little crazier than her, but they were clearly partners in crime.

Putting it all together - Transcript 2
Transcript of Ann’s family history interview

One of the more telling stories Ann told us was from when Delia was living next door to Ann’s close friend Lilymae. Lilymae’s husband Jack and Delia were having an affair, but Ann wasn’t going to get involved. She didn’t judge her sister. Despite being friends with Lilymae, when she got in a physical fight with Delia over the affair, Ann sided with her sister. Ann told her best friend she’d “beat her ass” if she touched Delia again.

That interview was playing through our head that Super Sunday as the theory that Luther was Mary’s father dawned on us. There’s no reason to doubt that Delia might sleep with her sister’s husband. And, if she had gotten pregnant by Luther it could explain why Delia wouldn’t put the father on Susan’s birth certificate. She said she didn’t know who the father was, but it’s likely Delia knew exactly who it was. Susan’s Grandfather didn’t want her to not have a listed father. He filled out the Birth Certificate, entered the name of the man who fathered Delia’s other two children, and life moved on.

Since Delia passed away in 1999, and Luther in 1994, there would be no first-hand confirmation of this theory. We had only DNA to go on.

roman and mary stewart jones-Edit
Purported photo of Roman and Mary (Stewart) Jones

From our interview with Ann, we knew only that Luther’s parents were Ira and Eula White, so we started there. The work we did in “Casting a Wide Net” pointed to Roman and Mary Jones as our target Most Recent Common Ancestor. We identified 17 DNA matches who shared the Jones’ as their MCRA. If the link between Roman and Mary and Susan was through Luther’s family, either Ira or Eula had to be a descendant.

We first mapped out that Ira White was the son of Pleasant and Cora (Gordon) White. The White family was in the Northeast Mississippi area around the same time as Roman and Mary Jones, but not in close proximity. Pleasant and Cora were both born enslaved, but we were able to establish both of their sets of parents. None of them lined up with what we knew about Roman and Mary.

We then shifted to Eula’s line and discovered her parents, Joseph and Sarah Moore, were living in the same County as the Roman and Mary at the same time. From our earlier research, we knew the Jones’ listed a daughter Sarah in the 1880 US Census, who was born about 1873. As we researched Sarah Moore we found her in the 1900 Census, with her birth date listed as November 1872.

Putting it All Together Part 2 - Tree
If we can prove Sarah Moore was born Sarah Jones, we can establish the match to the 17 DNA lines we’ve linked, and prove that Susan’s Father was Luther White.

We had a solid lead that only got more firm as we looked further. When we mapped out the 17 DNA matches using DNA Painter using the theory that Luther’s Grandmother Sarah Moore was born Sarah Jones, it all lined up as expected.

By the time Super Bowl XV kicked off that night we knew we likely had identified Felice’s mystery Grandfather. We also knew that we were going to be changing a lot of family history. Ann is still alive, and if we were right her children would learn their Father had an affair with their Aunt, and their cousin also their half-Sister. For Susan discovering her long lost Father was not going to bring the happy reunion, we’d hoped for.

But, our disruption of the family history would stretch further than we knew at the time.

Check out the next in the series: One stunning turn after another as our brick wall falls: Putting it all together – Part 3

Our biggest brick wall breakthrough so far started with a forgotten tweet, a LOT of work, and migraine on Super Bowl Sunday: Putting it All Together Part 1

Our biggest brick wall breakthrough so far started with a forgotten tweet, a LOT of work, and migraine on Super Bowl Sunday: Putting it All Together Part 1

Super Bowl Sunday 2019 started like most of our Sundays. Felice got her breakfast in bed, the kids all got pancakes, and breakfast was complete. I sat down at the computer with a nice cup of coffee hoping to kick the mini-migraine that was resisting drugs and enjoy a few hours of genealogy.

Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 8.57.08 AM
The Tweet that broke open our mystery

As I sat down that morning, for some reason a Twitter post we’d made 7 months earlier about Felice’s mother “Susan” popped in my mind. Susan matched her 1st Cousin “Charles” with 2122 cM…enough that he was almost a full sibling. It was a head-scratcher. We’d tweeted out our confusion, and a follower explained to us that it might mean he was a “3/4 siblings”. 3/4 siblings are where the same person parents children by two siblings, for example, when one man has children with two women who are sisters. But the tweet came during a busy time and it fell out of our minds…until this morning when it hit like a lightning bolt.

Susan’s paternity was THE big “brick wall” of our family history research. The man listed on her birth certificate, Roger Homes, was likely not her father. Family history held that Susan’s mom Dealia had at least 1 of her 2 other children with Roger, but Roger was on Susan’s birth certificate because Dealia’s father him on there. He didn’t want his Grand daughter’s Father left blank. Family interviews had given us a couple of leads on Susan’s father, but finding “Big Ed” from a neighboring town in Mississippi seemed like a significant long shot. DNA was always our best hope to solve this mystery.

Going into that Super Sunday we had recently finished our series about the tools we used to go from a handful of Ancestry DNA matches to connecting them in a tree. In the “Casting a Wide Net” series (Link) we took a group of over 5000 matches to Susan that were shared between themselves and built them into a mirror tree. Ultimately we mapped out 17 of those DNA kits to each other and identified the MRCA for them and Susa.

Putting it all together 1 -Slide1
Susan’s tree, as we had it originally

In of our research, we’d noted Susan’s maternal cousin Charles also matched the 17. This led us to focus on her mom’s side of the tree to find the link, but the evidence hadn’t lined up with that theory. We ended the series without being able to establish the direct link between the MCRA and Susan.

As the computer fired up that morning, the tweet, the MCRA, and the unknown father all slammed together at once: What if the maternal cousin wasn’t only a cousin? What if Charles’ father was also Susan’s, and what if the 17 matches were on their father’s line!

We’d never built out Charles’ father’s line because he was an Uncle who didn’t feed much information into our line. We’d added his parents, so knew their names and not much else. We’d interviewed Felice’s Aunt “Ann” and she explained about how she’d married Luther White at 13 years old and almost immediately kicked him out. Despite that, he would still go on to father each of her 10 children while Luther’s parents supported her and her children, including giving them a place to live.

Putting it all together 1 -Slide2
Susan’s tree as we imagined it as the Super Bowl kicked off

I was shaking a little as I opened up Ancestry and started to build out the Father’s line. This theory perfectly clicked together, but if we were right we were about to be swimming in deep waters. It was always our hope to breakdown the brick wall of Susan’s paternity and to help her fill out the picture of her life. We envisioned a happy moment where we put to bed a lifelong secret and expanded our family tree. Now, this was taking a very sudden turn and we were likely unearthing a painful family secret.

All of this before my first cup of coffee on a Sunday…and little did we know at the time how deep this would go.

Check out the next in the series: The brick wall starts to crumble: Putting it all together – Part 2

A Profile in Political Courage: An Ancestor Stands Against a Tyrant, Fellow Republican

A Profile in Political Courage: An Ancestor Stands Against a Tyrant, Fellow Republican

The Impeachment Trial of the President of the United States this week felt so historic at times that it seemed unprecedented. It felt that the country was facing a challenge to its democratic traditions unlike anything we’ve ever faced. However, our family history reminded us that the country has faced this political tyranny before, when one man wielded control over the White House and both houses of Congress due to Republicans not having the will to stand up to an American despot. It also reminded us that we can celebrate an ancestor who defeated that threat with a courage and sacrifice that seemed completely absent from today’s Republican Party.

Elmer Morse, portrait, c. 1910 (P17-0054)
Elmer Addison Morse, c. 1910

Michael’s 2xGreat Grandfather Elmer Addison Morse was born and raised in the farming community of Franksville, WI but he was elected to Congress in 1906 as a Representative from Antigo, WI. E.A. (as he was known) was aligned with the Progressive wing of the Republican Party and was one of the founding members of the National Progressive Republican League along with Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette in 1911.

During Morse’s time in Congress, the main block to many Progressive reforms was the Republican Speaker of the House Joseph Gurney Cannon. “Uncle Joe” Cannon was a conservative Republican and led the “Old Guard/Stand Pat” wing of the Republican Party.
Gurney served as Speaker starting in 1903 and he amassed an unprecedented amount of power. He was not only Speaker, but he was also the chair of the House Rules Committee which determined how bills could be debated, amended, and voted upon. Bills couldn’t reach the floor unless Cannon approved of them, and he alone could determine what form they would take if they reached the floor for a vote. Additionally, he solely appointed all committee members, of both parties, which ensured that the blossoming group of Progressive Republicans were kept off of important committees and could leverage very little influence.

[E.A. Morse] was a part of a small group of Republicans that stood up for what was right and for what was best for the democratic institutions of this country. They did so at the risk of their political careers, and each House Progressive paid for their courage by losing their seats soon after their insurgency.

While Cannon was a key foe to Teddy Roosevelt, the election of William Howard Taft in 1908 led to Uncle Joe taking complete control of the Republican Party and thus dictating the actions of the Senate as well as the President.

In the 1908 Presidential election, the majority of Republicans (and all of the Progressives) ran on a platform of lowering tariffs. Protectionist tariffs had been passed years earlier, but since they were designed more to protect business interests than consumer interests, prices on key consumer items had skyrocketed. Cannon understood his power, and sensing that Taft was not as formidable as Roosevelt, he decided to break Taft of any Progressive leanings while crippling the Progressives. Against the wishes of almost the entire party, Cannon ensured that the 1909 Payne-Aldrich Tariff was signed into law.
The tariff bill was a thinly veiled punishment to those that challenged Cannon, and a threat to those that supported him, in a bid to ensure they continued that support.

Instead of the promised reduction of tariffs, Payne-Aldrich raised them on many of the 2000+ items listed. The few reductions were largely given out at political favors. The Republicans ultimately felt that failing to pass any tariff bill would be seen as a fiasco for the party, and they chose party above the relief they promised their constituents. Cannon recognized that and used it to bend the party to his will, and even many of the reformers (likely even our E.A.) fell in line and supported the bill.

Time_Magazine_-_first_cover
Joseph “Uncle Joe” Cannon on the cover of the first issue of Time Magazine

Taft spun the bill that had been forced upon him by Cannon as “the best tariff bill that the Republican Party ever passed.” Taft also admitted that he put the interests of the party over the interests of the country: “I believe…the interests of the party required me to sacrifice the accomplishment of certain things in the revision of the tariff which I had hoped for, in order to maintain party solidarity.” Cannon had become the single man in charge of the American political system, and he effectively controlled both the Executive and Congressional branches of government. From this time on he was widely referred to as “The Tyrant from Illinois”.

In 1910, the Progressives found the courage to stand up to Cannon and politically neuter him in spectacular fashion. On March 17, 1910, the House was in session but lightly attended. There was a quorum, but many Republicans were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and had either left for the week, or a long weekend, and were likely not in shape to return to the Capital. It was during an otherwise routine management of House business that a Progressive insurgent struck out at Cannon’s power.

George Norris, a Republican from Nebraska, had been laying it the weeds waiting for this moment. For two years he’d carried the text of a resolution in his pocket to amend the House rules to remove Cannon from the chair of the Rules committee and to strip him of his ability to appoint committee members and leaders. There had been a seemingly innocent debate the day before on if bills could be introduced directly to the House floor if they dealt directly with a Constitutional question. Cannon and Stand Patters ruled that it was permissible, even if the bill was not pre-printed and that the House as a whole would have to vote directly on those bills. Cannon couldn’t control those bills from being debated and voted upon.

St. Patrick’s Day morning, Norris, sensing his opening, copied the text of his resolution on the back of an envelope and rose to introduce a “resolution privileged by the Constitution.” Cannon, not knowing the danger of what was unfolding, allowed Norris to proceed. Very quickly it became apparent that Cannon had accidentally allowed a direct challenge to his power and he didn’t have the votes to stop it. One of Cannon’s allies made a Point of Order that Norris’ resolution wasn’t privileged, and that set off 26 hours of political gamesmanship. Ultimately Cannon couldn’t muster the votes and allowed the Point of Order to be voted on by the House. 42 Progressive Republicans joined 149 Democrats to ensure that Norris’ motion passed, breaking the greatest concentration of power in American political history. Cannon’s hubris and display of punitive power in the tariff bill hadn’t broken the Progressives, it laid the groundwork for them to rise up and seize control back from Cannon.

The Progressives voted for Country over party, but it cost them dearly. In the 1910 election Democrats took over the House, while many of the Progressives survived re-election. However, the 1912 election was a disaster for the Republicans and the death of the Progressives in the party.

The Progressives planned to seize control over the Republican Party during the 1912 Presidential election, but they didn’t anticipate Teddy Roosevelt’s return to American politics and his usurping of the Progressive Party, re-naming it The Bull Moose Party. Additionally, a dethroned Cannon had enough power to ensure that each of the Progressives that voted to remove him faced well-funded challengers in their House elections. He also pulled strings to make sure that promised Post Offices that were key to legislators in Progressive districts were delayed until after the election.

Article, EA Morse, Marshfield Times (D17-0020)
E.A. Morse campaign ad defending his stand against Speaker Joe Cannon and “Cannonism” and making no apologies.

In E.A. Morse’s case, in addition to facing a Democratic “wave” election in 1912, the Old Guard Republican governor of Wisconsin helped ensure that this district was merged with another and that he faced a challenge from a popular Republican Secretary of State. In the end, Morse was handily defeated and returned to private life, in no small part due to his challenge to Uncle Joe Cannon.

It’s easy to ascribe only the noblest of intentions to our ancestors, and obviously Elmer A. Morse is a heroic legend in our family. And while we’re well aware of many troubling aspects of his life, in this case he was a part of a small group of Republicans that stood up for what was right and for what was best for the democratic institutions of this country. They did so at the risk of their political careers, and each House Progressive paid for their courage by losing their seats soon after their insurgency.

This week, 110 years later, the Republican Party couldn’t muster 3 people courageous enough to put a tyrant in check. The risk of losing their seats was greater than their sense of duty to what was right and best for the country.

We’ve seen this before, where one man stood above the Constitution and the country, but that time he was brought to back in-check. Knowing that, however, just makes this week’s failure more disappointing.