As the battle for Iwo Jima raged in 1945, six brave Marines of the 5th Division charged uphill and planted the Stars and Stripes at the summit of Mount Suribachi to mark their successful capture of the position. Under enemy fire, the flag fell, only to be replanted by four more brave servicemen. It was this second effort that became the subject of one of the most iconic and moving photographs in American history. Those heroes planted the flag for love of country. They were willing to risk all for our constitutional republic.

Few Americans have the opportunity to display such valor. Fewer still have the courage to seize the moment if and when it presents itself. While we should never fool ourselves into believing we are as brave or heroic as those Marines at Iwo Jima, we must be willing to plant our own flag and call out threats to our nation.

I am planting my flag to confront two very serious domestic threats to our country: The progressives’ socialist agenda and Donald Trump.

Progressives view America exclusively through a neo-Marxist lens of race and gender. To them, America is a “systemically racist” and fundamentally evil country. To right that “wrong,” progressives created the construct of “social justice,” which is just a fancy 21st-century way of saying socialism.

Socialism has failed everywhere and every time it has been tried. Yet progressives are now fighting to impose this dystopia on America. Their assaults on free speech, their vilification of entrepreneurship and free enterprise, their mainstreaming of antisemitism and their attacks on individual and religious liberty are just the beginning of their campaign to “transform” America. This agenda must be stopped.

It is precisely because I want to stop the progressives that I am also planting my flag in opposition to Donald Trump. After achieving the distinction of being the first president since Herbert Hoover in 1932 to lose the House, the Senate and the White House in a single term, he travelled to Georgia to ensure that Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue lost their runoff elections against two easily beatable progressive Democrats, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Trump gave us Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and handed the progressives the opportunity to implement their agenda.

As if that were not bad enough, in the 2022 midterm elections, Trump foisted a pitiful batch of fringe candidates on the Republican party. Their only qualification was that they agreed to parrot Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Needless to say, nearly all those candidates lost. As a result, the anticipated Red Wave barely amounted to a ripple. Democrats gained a Senate seat and with it a clear majority. Trump is also the only Republican who could (and would) lose to Joe Biden in 2024. It is long past time to cut our losses and move past him.

Moreover, Trump is morally unfit for office. He puts his ego and self-interest ahead of everything else, including the truth and America’s best interest. He does not have the judgment, temperament, grace or perspective to be president. In his mind, allegiance to the Constitution first requires allegiance to him.

He confirmed this just last week. After the revelations of Twitter’s coverup of The New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, Trump declared: “Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the Constitution” (emphasis added).

“Terminating” the Constitution is never an option, period. On the off-chance Trump is the 2024 Republican nominee and wins, he will not be able to honestly take the oath of office, which requires him to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He has already told us that his personal fortunes are more important to him than our nation’s founding document. He will not preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. To the contrary, he is prepared to shred it.

Therefore, we must work to protect our Constitution from Trump. For that reason, I am planting my flag. I will work to defeat the progressive agenda. I will work to defeat Trump. I will refuse to support any Republican candidate who supports Trump.

The flag may have fallen in 2022, but we must replant it. Unless and until enough of us stand up and publicly repudiate the dual threats posed by the progressives and Trump, we are at risk of losing our country.

The 2024 election cycle may have just started, but we are already short on time. Join me and plant your flag.

Eric Levine is a founding member of the New York City law firm Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis P.C. He is an essayist, political commentator and Republican fundraiser with an emphasis on the United States Senate.

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