I watched with shocked fear and sorrow on Wednesday evening as the Congressional process of certifying the Electoral College Votes in the lawfully executed election of 2020 was disrupted by a mob of Trump supporters invading the halls of Congress and vandalizing offices and structures.
The Facts: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won this election 81,283,485 popular votes with 306 Electoral Votes to Trump/Pence 74,223,744 popular votes to 232 Electoral Votes. https://www.google.com/search?q=electoral+college+votes+2020+presidential+election&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS876US877&oq=Electoral+College+Votes+2020+PResidential+Election&aqs=chrome.0.0i457j0i22i30l2.14354j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Over 50 court challenges were rejected, denied or failed. All 50 states certified their elections as valid, lawful, and duly conducted according to the laws of elections, in some cases recounts, audits and manual ballot tallies were conducted three times! This was not a close election, a fraudulent election or a stolen election under any possible interpretation.
This was an election that saw 159.8 million voters, a 66.3% participation of the eligible electorate. This is still a low proportion of voters participating in the election compared to other developed countries with electoral representative governments. The diversity of candidates and voters has been increasing as the demographics of the nation continues to diversify, with growth in Hispanic and Black constituencies as well as many more voters aged 18 to 24 participating as active citizens. Trump consolidated his focus on a smaller and smaller base of radical white supremacist supporters as his insistance that he won the election became less and less tenable. On Wednesday night as the vote counting began, 12 Senators and 137 House of Representative members were poised to mount objections to the election on various grounds, even knowing that they would only delay the results and not change a single vote. They were prepared to posture and pontificate for their own political agenda.
Trump addressed his rally of supporters urging them to “Stop the Steal” and to march on the Capital. In his own words: “All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they’re doing and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.” … “So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” (https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-save-america-rally-transcript-january-6 )
Within an hour of this tirade of exhortation, a mob descended on the Capitol, managed to enter the halls of Congress, break windows, break down office doors, rip exhibits down, steal podium and sit in Pelosi’s Office…Tear gas was fired, five people ended up dead. The security situation is still being sorted out.
The vote counting resumed after the Capitol was secured, with only 8 Senators and 139 Representatives actually objecting to the results. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were confirmed as the lawfully elected President and Vice President to take office on January 20, 2021.
My Opinion: This is a clear act of sedition, a treasonous assault on the institutions of government and on the fair and legal conduct of government. I am saddened and angry that this state of affairs has progressed so far without the brakes being applied long before now. The stranglehold Mitch McConnell has held over the Senate has constipated the process of governance. No bipartisan legislation has passed through the Senate unless he saw it as a contributor to his agenda of corporate pandering and power accumulation. This is the ultimate culmination of the Citizens United ruling. GOvernment is no longer the voice of The People, but rather in the vice grip of vested corporate interests. Trump managed to skew this corrupt situation claiming he was for the little guy, when in fact everything that has happened under his administration has worked to further suppress votes, social services, public education, fair wages, fair taxes, and accountability. The science base for policy decisions had been ejected by regulation, replaced with industry interests instead of peer reviewed findings. The Trump effect has been to cast doubt on the very system of governance by consent to the rule of law.
What we can do now: First, this travesty must not go unpunished. The 25th Amendment will be invoked and Trump will be evicted from office in disgrace. Failing that, he can be impeached…again, hopefully with Senate approval now that there is a slight majority. At a minimum, he must be formally censured by Congress in the name of The People and sent out of office in disgrace. He must then be prosecuted in the civil courts for his many crimes. I don’t know whether any of this will happen, but I have called Mike Doyle, Bob Casey, and even Senator Toomey multiple times, and some of this is in motion. (All of the phone lines are jammed and mail boxes are full!)
Second, we must all move from hand wringing to action. Educating people about their responsibilities at all levels of government is essential. Active informed citizens are the only antidote to disinformation and conspiracy. Democracy is not a spectator sport…it requires active participation, vigilance and constant calls for accountability. Elections have consequences. We must rebuild trust in the system and ensure transparency and accountability. People need to see that their concerns are heard, considered and ADDRESSED with actions by their duly elected representatives at all levels of government.
Third, we must act to redress the harms of the last 30 years of accumulated economic determinism. The systematic destruction that began with Regan’s economic criteria for budget allocations for federal programs must end. We must restore the social safety net, public health education, quality public education for all, and a high standard of health care for everyone, support for arts, humanities and science research. The government must turn to the service OF THE PEOPLE not corporations and monied interests only. Many of the 74 million who voted for Trump do not see the system we have working for them. We must address the true needs of people in rural America, in dis-invested communities, and in the edges of the mainstream. Education, equity, clear paths to prosperity with justice must become the hallmark of good governance again.
Finally, we must celebrate the increased diversity of our nation, recognize the strengths of multiple voices joined to work for a resilient, equitable and sustainable prosperity. We must build a future based on the best motives and aspirations. It is not okay for people of color to live in fear. We are stronger when we stand together and celebrate the gifts of talent and perspective we all bring to the table. We must shape a future that builds a secure world for all of our children.
And we must not give in to despair.
I share this with you in love and with hope for a better tomorrow.