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An attack on democracy

President Donald Trump’s frustrated and frantic efforts to nullify the results of the 2020 election resulted in a mob scene at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. Hordes of protestors waving Trump banners along with American flags pushed up to, and into, the Capitol, disrupting Congress as it was trying to do its constitutional duty and verify the votes of the electoral college. Many Republicans in Congress were planning to contest the election results that give Joe Biden the win, but the protestors didn’t give them the chance.

This was an insurrection, an assault on our democracy, on our elected officials, and on the will of the people expressed in the 2020 election.

When has America seen anything like this in our nation? In over 200 years, how often have mobs stormed the Capitol building to stop Congress from carrying out its work? And how often have they been urged on by the president himself?

Trump has been declaring himself the “landslide” winner of the 2020 election ever since it became clear he was losing. Even before the election he declared the only way he could lose would be through fraud. He has been claiming fraud ever since the election, filing over 50 unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the results, even demanding this last weekend that the Georgia Secretary of State “find” him the votes necessary to overturn that state’s results. Earlier Wednesday he held a rally urging his supporters to march to the Capitol to “get rid of the weak Congress people.”

Later, In a video in which he told the protestors to go home he said, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.” But the president also repeated his contention that the election was fraudulent, that it was stolen from him and from his supporters. He did tell them to go home to avoid “playing into their hands.” We’re sure that calmed the crowds down a lot.

Stronger condemnation came from people within the president’s administration. Lawmakers and government officials condemned the violence. Vice President Michael Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

We have existed for over 200 years with the idea that this is a nation of law, one that respects the will of the people, one that is governed by the people. Wednesday’s riot is a reminder of what can happen when we lose sight of that.

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