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Voice of The Southern: We are better than this
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Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: We are better than this

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Let’s call it what it is — a mob action, a riot, an act of sedition. A group of rioters inspired and encouraged by the ongoing fiery post-election rhetoric from President Donald Trump, both from his public appearances and his ongoing clusters of tweets, invaded the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

For the first time since the British accomplished the feat during the War of 1812, invaders breached the seat of our democratic government. While those outside backed the invasion by saying they were marching on “the people’s house,” the violent mob inside was showing contempt with destruction, demolition and theft. A woman was shot inside the Capitol, the first shooting in the building since 1958. She died from her injuries. A Capitol Police officer also has died of injuries he sustained during the melee — bringing the death toll as a result of the violent conflict to five.

This was not making America great again.

We are better than this.

There’s no equivalency argument this time of “there are bad people on both sides.” All involved in destruction of federal property or assault on law enforcement officers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

That’s what the president tweeted in July, at least.

Trump has done nothing since the election but destroy his followers’ faith in the election system. His mentality left an electoral victory or loss a win-win. If he won, his followers could be praised for overcoming a stacked system. If he lost, well, he told us “they” weren’t going to let him win. He loaded the explosive, lit the fuse, and has spent more than two months trying to get it to burn faster.

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His action led to hundreds of felonious acts by hundreds or thousands who spent the entirety of 2020 decrying and demanding punishment for the very behavior they were exhibiting.

The two congressional representatives from Southern Illinois — Mike Bost of Murphysboro and Mary Miller of Oakland — also own a share of responsibility. Bost and Miller both challenged the election results on Wednesday during the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College votes. They have enabled Trump's quest to overturn a free and fair election because he simply didn't like the outcome.

In a statement the day after his vote to object to the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona, Bost said: “The deeply troubling scenes at the U.S. Capitol (Wednesday) indicate the intense distrust that many Americans have towards the election process.”​

That's true. Bost sowed the seeds of that distrust, along with Trump and more than 100 congressional Republicans, by repeating falsehoods about our election.

Challenges and lawsuits are fine. Election laws are complex. That’s why those decisions are argued by lawyers and decided by judges. We leave the jobs of interpreting the law to judges. It’s a process that has worked for well in excess of two centuries. If decisions in 60 court cases aren’t enough to convince a person that the right decision has been made, then we have many more problems we need to address. 

The courts are the key to the post-election debates. Dozens of judges have made decisions that have gone against President Trump’s legal team. Judges refused to hear some cases. Judges don’t make those decisions based on convenience or position on the political spectrum. They evaluate the laws, and when deciding against hearing cases, they’ve evaluated lawyers’ filings and found them wanting. If we need to go somewhere other than the justice system, then we have many more problems we need to address. You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

We are better than this.

We’ve learned about many election-related facts, traditions and laws that weren’t covered in class for those of us lucky enough to have taken civics at any level. These laws have been in effect for decades into centuries. They weren’t enacted in 2020 in a grand conspiracy to undermine the election. But when we can’t agree on the facts in front of us, especially when the president of the United States fails to acknowledge anything that puts him in a bad light, let alone disputing apparent facts, then we have many more problems we need to address.

We are better than this.

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