Firm Response to Attack Needed

CCDP Chair Calls for Firm Response to Wednesday’s Attack at U.S. Capitol

Ann Heitland, Chair of the Coconino County Democratic Party, issued the following statement on Friday, January 8, 2021:

The January 6 attack on our Nation’s Capital and assault on Members of Congress is the culmination of decades of desperate verbal attacks by a dying Republican Party. Unable to sell “trickle-down economics” and other bankrupt policies to the American people, more and more Republican politicians over the last two decades turned away from good-faith policy debates toward deliberate misinformation — sowing distrust in our government and electoral system and pitting Americans against one another. In the last five years, the small minority of hate-filled Americans who – 155 years after the defeat of the 1860-1865 insurrection – still cling to the values of the Confederacy rather than the ideals and values of the United States of America have been encouraged to emerge into the open, sling their guns, wave their flags, and dance in their horned costumes to protest the electoral loss of their cult leader, Donald J. Trump. The attack of January 6 is a wake-up call to Americans who believe in our Constitution and its sacred traditions.

Among those traditions is the peaceful transfer of power from each President to the next, established by John Adams after his loss to Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Since then until now, the loser of every presidential election in U.S. history has willingly and peacefully surrendered power to the winner, despite whatever personal animosity or political divisions might exist. Trump though called his followers to Washington on January 6, promising them action and then incited them to attack Congress in the Capitol as Congress was engaging in its Constitutional duty to open certifications from the States and count Electoral Votes. This unprecedented and dangerous attack on the United States of America cannot go unanswered. Prosecuting the foot soldiers in Trump’s army as common criminals while necessary is not sufficient. Perhaps they do not understand the treacherous history of the Confederate flags they carried, but the elected officials who incited them do.

Among the attackers were a handful of state legislators from around the country, including newly-elected Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-LD11) who posted photos of himself with the mob outside the Capitol. Our own newly-elected State Senator Wendy Rogers (LD-6) spent the day tweeting praise for the attack and as late as Friday, January 8, tweeted “I stand with [Trump]. I do not stand with Congress” According to news reports, our Representative Walt Blackman released a podcast on the weekend prior to the attack “in which he promoted the idea that the election had been stolen and discussed ways Trump could remain in office.” Arizona Daily Sun, 1/8/2021. Kelli Ward, Chair of the Arizona Republican Party held a January 6 rally at the State Capitol to incite opposition to the peaceful transfer of power and brought numerous lawsuits for the purpose of spreading dangerous lies about Arizona’s electoral system.

Thus, while it is appropriate and necessary to condemn the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, it is even more vital to condemn the inciters of that violence, beginning with the now serving President of the United States. We join with Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi in calling for his immediate resignation or the implementation of the 25th Amendment to accomplish his removal; however, we view both as highly unlikely so he must be immediately impeached. Waiting until next week should not be an option. If Congress is so ossified that it cannot act as quickly in the face of an attack on itself as Congress acted in the face of an attack on the Pacific Fleet in 1941 when it took one day to declare war, we need to elect new leaders who can return Congress to its former stature as a co-equal branch of government.

After the last insurrection, our Constitution was amended. The 14th Amendment, among other valued strictures, provides in Section 3:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

As during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, there must be consequences for those who engaged in or gave “aid or comfort” to those who engaged in the recent attack on Congress and our electoral system. We may not yet know who they all are, but we can start with Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and the members of the House of Representatives who faithlessly challenged Electoral Votes on January 6 and the morning of January 7 to promote their personal political ambitions; they must be expelled from Congress and barred from future offices.  Likewise, State legislators like Wendy Rogers, Walt Blackman, and Mark Finchem should be expelled from the Arizona Legislature, and with Kelli Ward, should be forever barred from holding public office.

We call on the elected officials of the Democratic and the Republican parties to recommit to the words and values of the United States Constitution and to enforce the 14th Amendment of our great Constitution against those who sought to destroy it in the weeks since the November 3 election.

Ann Heitland

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