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Your View: Editorial on Capitol assault fell short

I appreciated your Jan. 8 editorial, condemning the assault on our Capitol and the subsequent appalling GOP vote in the House to disenfranchise millions of voters, a vote which shamefully included Rep. Cliff Bentz. However, you made two statements that do not stand up to scrutiny.

First, you appear to excuse those GOP lawmakers, saying “they could have believed they were serving their constituents and that is a duty of a representative.” I maintain that it is never “the duty of a representative” to perpetuate lies and discredited conspiracy theories, especially when the U.S. attorney general, state attorneys general in the challenged states, and over 50 courts have found absolutely no legal basis for the allegations of fraud.

On the contrary, as Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. courageously told his colleagues that same night, “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership.”

Second, you correctly point out that recent presidential elections were certified quickly, despite the fact that in each case there were some members of Congress unhappy with the results; however, you go on to say, “They needed more than 20 times that amount [of time] Wednesday. In other words, Democrats have done the same thing, as recently as four years ago.” What do you mean by Democrats have done the “same thing?” Clearly, not taking an inordinate time to certify, which is what the syntax implies. Apart from the confused sentence, you appear to be attempting to draw a false equivalency between a few Democratic legislators in only one house of Congress in the past making unsuccessful individual objections to an electoral count and the historically unprecedented situation we saw on Jan. 6. Republicans in both houses of Congress (147 House Republicans — 93% of those GOP members voting — and seven Senate Republicans) supported completely unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of a violent invasion of their chambers designed to enforce those same false claims.

It is disappointing, indeed, to see our local paper contributing to the epidemic of lazy excuses involved in “whataboutism” when what our country desperately needs right now is a clear-eyed and factual conversation about how we can abandon falsehoods and mutual demonization to move forward together toward what must be our constant goal: “a more perfect union.”

Susan Stitham lives in Ashland.

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