We shouldn’t take the threat of sedition lightly. In the United States, democracy has prevailed for over two-and-a-half centuries and the transfer of power from one political figure to another has always occurred peacefully. We are experiencing a profound threat to this orderly transition — one our founding fathers had greatly feared.

The attack on our nation’s capital this past week is something that we could only imagine ensuing at the hands of hostile foreign agents. Hundreds of anarchists stormed the Capitol Building, breaking windows, knocking down police, ransacking members’ offices, and threatening the very essence of our democracy. Instead of condemning these actions, the outgoing president issued a statement riddled with lies that was intended not to de-escalate but to incite anger and violence.

Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election by more than 7 million votes. He lost the electoral college, coincidentally by the same margin he won by in 2016. He lost some sixty lawsuits in the courts. His own Attorney General and Department of Justice have found no substantial evidence of fraud.

I won’t bother dissecting the dozens of legal challenges that President Trump’s campaign levied after the November election. The vast majority were thrown out with scathing rebukes by the judges, including Trump’s own appointees. The important take-away: Trump’s campaign has failed to find evidence of substantial fraud or illegal activity. Furthermore, the number of ballots in question wouldn’t result in any significant shift in votes or the electoral college.

In Texas v. Pennsylvania et al., Republicans arrogantly attempted to invalidate tens of millions of votes that they deemed illegal. The lawsuit, which thankfully was rejected by the Supreme Court, was unprecedented and attacks the very fiber of our democracy. Representatives Keller and Meuser, along with five other members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, disgracefully signed on to the amicus brief. They are willing agents in Trump’s campaign of disinformation, spreading lies for their own political gain, and fanning the flames of conspirators.

As Jan. 6 approached, the President and his followers threatened again to steal the election. This time, they hoped to contest the procedural process in which Congress verifies the electoral college count, already certified by each state in December.

Trump incited anger and violence by calling on his base to attend what he had labeled a “wild” protest in Washington, D.C., to defend his false claims of victory and take to the Capitol. Hundreds of anti-American, anti-democracy rioters attacked the Capitol Building leaving at least five people dead, including a police officer. Members of Congress were forced into an underground bunker as conservative radicals defiled and dishonored our Capitol building. Trump and his allies’ dangerous, seditious actions undermine the very nature of our democratic nation. In other countries, we would describe these attempts as a coup. 

Congressional leaders rose to the challenge and to their constitutional responsibility as soon as the building was secured to confirm Biden’s win. Even after the horrific events that brought our democracy to a halt, Keller and Meuser supported objections to the electoral count. Their actions are disgraceful.

Trump will be out of office in 10 days.

His appeasers remain. Rep. Keller boasts of his respect for law and order and the Constitution. Then how could he be so complicit in this insurrection?  Rep. Keller, has devoted himself to Trump, who demands 100% loyalty; Keller knows that to win re-election or higher offices he needs the support of Trump. He has sold out our democracy for his own political gain.

It is not enough for Rep. Keller and Meuser to condemn the violent actions we saw in D.C.; they must publicly accept the will of the voters and Biden as our constitutionally-elected incoming leader. They must publicly apologize for advancing Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Those who are complicit in efforts to overthrow our democratic process epitomize anti-Americanism and an ugly new brand of fascism. 

Luckily, we are on the horizon of new leadership in Washington. As President-Elect Biden said following Wednesday’s disgraceful events, “The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, of honor, of respect, the rule of law ... just plain, simple decency.”

Lana Gulden is President of Susquehanna Valley Progress.

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