On Dec. 7, 1941, the United States was attacked by Japan, “… a day,” then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a galvanizing speech, “which will live in infamy.” Just a few hours later, Congress delivered a declaration of war against Japan.

Today, America’s democracy faces another existential threat. This time it comes from within, arising from a nationwide campaign of lies and debunked conspiracy theories perpetrated by “conservative” politicians — and, shockingly, by conservative jurists and amplified by right-wing media like Fox News. As a result, after 62 legal cases rejected the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, polls consistently show 70% of Republicans still believe this preposterous falsehood.

Regrettably, instead of the unity and decisiveness that helped us win World War II, we’ve witnessed near-total silence on the Right, except from former Rep. Liz Cheney and former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and those who found the courage to speak the truth only after declining to run for reelection. One such Johnny-come-lately truth-teller, Rep. Ken Buck, in his November retirement announcement, said, “Too many Republican leaders are lying to America.”

Tellingly, the Republican Party quickly disowned Cheney and Kinzinger for courageously exposing the truth about then-President Trump and his acolytes during the historically valuable congressional hearings about the infamous Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. In her new and aptly titled book, “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning,” Cheney denounced Trump as “the most dangerous man ever to inhabit the Oval Office.” In a Dec. 4 MSNBC interview, she explained, “One of the things people don’t understand is that we’re sleepwalking into dictatorship in the United States.”

J. Michael Luttig, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1991 to 2006 and an esteemed conservative legal scholar, is similarly warning that a second Trump term could pose a constitutional crisis. “The cause of our time is America’s democracy and the rule of law,” Luttig said on MSNBC. “They are in peril and faltering under the weight of his vicious and vile attacks on his political opponents and legal institutions. The political world should place the country and their oath [of office] above their party.

“We need Republicans to join the chorus to save our democracy, institutions, and rule of law,” said Luttig, who along with prominent lawyers George Conway and Barbara Comstock, formed the Society for the Rule of Law Institute to recruit and encourage talented, young conservative lawyers to defend the rule of law.

Republican legislators and voters, especially longtime admirers of Trump, should respect a foundational principle of good government written in 1759 by John Adams: “… to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men.”

Similarly, Trump loyalists should reconsider their support for a twice-impeached former president facing 91 separate counts of felony criminal charges. As Luttig advocated, they should put country ahead of party, truth ahead of falsehood, and the rule of law ahead of law-breaking.

Paul Fein