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Accountability needed in attempted insurrection

Robert Anderson

Americans are deeply saddened and deplore the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as members of Congress met inside.

The attackers fought capitol police, broke through barricades, smashed windows, destroyed property to take-over the capitol. As the mob overwhelmed the capitol police and gun shots were heard, members of Congress were evacuated.

The mob’s purpose was to stop Congress from certifying the electoral college in favor of the new president. Over 20 police officers were injured and officer Brian Sicknick died from wounds he received. Four others lost their lives.

We agree that those in the mob need to be held accountable but what about those who asked them to come and directed their actions against the capitol?

What swayed my opinion were the unprecedented public statements from respected nonpartisan voices who normally do not take such positions: National Council of Churches, Catholic Dominican Sisters, and League of Women Voters.

In their open letter to Vice President Michael Pence and Congress, the National Council of Churches-representing many of Marquette area’s churches: Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Evangelical Lutheran-stated in part:

“President Donald Trump’s actions and words have endangered the security of the country and its institutions by inciting a violent, deadly, seditious mob attack at the U.S. Capitol. His actions have placed the lives of the people he is supposed to serve in grave danger to advance his own interests. Further, he not only failed to stop or condemn the attack after the Capitol had been stormed but instead encouraged the mob by calling them patriots. For the good of the nation, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), believe the time has come for the President to resign immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system. In addition, we recognize the need to hold responsible not only those who invaded the Capitol, but also those who supported the President’s false claims about the election. We grieve for our country and continue to pray for the safety and security, and ultimately the healing of our nation. Holding those who have abused their power and participated in these immoral and tragic actions accountable, in particular the President of the United States, is one step toward healing. (www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us)”

In their press release, the Michigan Catholic Adrian Dominican Sisters called for removal of the president and wrote in part:

“Today, with heavy hearts, we depart from our accustomed role of issue advocacy to take the unprecedented step of adding our voice, as religious leaders, to those of others in the civic life of our nation who call for the immediate removal of the sitting President of the United States. Carried out by Confederate-flag waving white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and anti-Semitic extremists, among others, the riot was incited by President Donald Trump who exhorted his supporters at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol, crying, “You will never take back our country with weakness.”

“And the President who incited this insurrection must be held accountable for his seditious acts. (www.adriandominicans.org)”

The League of Women Voters-US also stepped out and stated in part:

“This was an unprecedented decision for our organization. As a respected, 100-year-old nonpartisan institution, the League’s action represents the grave and extraordinary nature of this moment in history. Donald Trump showed himself to be a dangerous agitator with the power and will to upend our democracy by force. He is a threat to our republic and to our national security. We know that this decision will be controversial, but this moment in history demands we protect and defend our democracy. We cannot stand silent as the actions of President Trump this week have demonstrated he is unfit for office. We will not endure the next two weeks and the potential for further damage to our democracy. It is time to remove him from office to ensure preservation of our republic. (scourtney@lwv.org)”

Now is not the time to remain silent; silence constitutes complicity. Ask yourself whether the administration has accepted any responsibility? Silence only encourages bad behavior. The House impeached the President on Wednesday and two Michigan Republicans, U.S. Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, voted in favor.

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, however, voted against impeachment. As the impeachment trial heads to the Senate, contact U.S. Sens. Stabenow and Peters and tell them how you feel.

Editor’s note: Robert Anderson is a prominent elder law attorney whose practice is located in the city of Marquette.

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