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A sad day for our democracy
'Alternative facts' don't lead to peace
new deh election pole trump pic
Donald Trump

Wednesday, Jan. 6. A violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing the evacuation of the Senate as the electoral votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election were being counted. Police entered with guns drawn; a woman was shot and later died.

Kansans were all quick to condemn the violence.

“Sickening, shameful, inexcusable and counterproductive.” — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

“Unreasonable and unacceptable.” — U.S. Senator Dr. Roger Marshall

“It is completely unacceptable and unpatriotic. This is a sad day for our nation and it is an unwelcome reminder that our democracy is fragile.” -- U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. 

What does it mean to denounce violence if your actions, and other things you say, send a different message?

President Donald J. Trump told the crowd prior to the violence, “We’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Would it be fair to assume that some took him literally?

The President has finally called for an orderly transition of power, but how did he say it? “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.” 

Why was the protest happening? Some Trump supporters continue to claim the election was “stolen."  Supporters in Congress planned to make their final symbolic gestures by objecting to certain electoral votes that would make Joe Biden the next President of the United States.

Three Kansas Representatives, Rep. Ron Estes, Rep. Tracey Mann and Rep. Jake LaTurner, also voted against certifying the election. They released a joint statement on Sunday: “With several states facing serious allegations of voter fraud and violations of their own state laws, the Kansas Republican delegation in the House will object to the certification of electors in multiple states on Jan. 6.” Clinging to this debunked story of “serious allegations of voter fraud” at this point can only encourage acts of violence like we saw Wednesday.

Sen. Roger Marshall was one of seven Republican senators who voted to sustain the objection against Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. He was one of six who voted to sustain objections to Arizona’s vote certification.

Sen. Jerry Moran knew better. He said, “To vote to reject these state-certified electoral votes would be to act outside the bounds of the Constitution, which I will not do.”

These objections weren’t expected to prevail but they were meant to send a message. Some senators rethought the impact of that message and changed their minds after the violent mob’s actions. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia), who just  lost her re-election to Jon Ossoff, said, “When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.”

Did anyone hear Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) defending his state’s election process Wednesday night?

“I rise to defend the right of my citizens, my constituents, to vote in the presidential election. And let’s be clear, that’s exactly what this is about. It’s what (sustaining the objections) would do, it would overturn the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, and it would thereby deny Pennsylvania’s voters the opportunity to even participate in the presidential election.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said some voters will never believe that the presidential election wasn’t stolen from them, “particularly when the president will continue to say the election was stolen. The best way we can show respect for the voters who were upset is by telling the truth.”

It’s time to end the era of alternate facts. If voters are angry and disillusioned with the outcome of the election, well, we’ve all been there at some point. That doesn’t support the argument that it was a sham, “stolen” from the true winner.

Americans all lost something Wednesday but we can do better.