Yesterday’s attack in Washington was the most momentous and traumatic event in American history since 9/11. Unlike that horrific day, however, we knew immediately who had fomented and who had perpetrated this heinous attack on the heart of American democracy. For months, Donald Trump, his congressional enablers, and state and local Republican leaders and officeholders have spread lies and incited their followers. Others have remained silent, ignoring the mounting evidence of the president’s unfitness and authoritarian behavior, seeing them as simply the price to be paid for more tax cuts, conservative jurists, and the implementation of their policy preferences.
What was seen in Washington on January 6, 2021, was inevitable. Reports have already surfaced of perpetrators openly planning on rightwing forums, and, just minutes before the Capitol was stormed, Donald Trump addressed a crowd of thousands of supporters and encouraged them to march on the building. How they could so easily and so quickly overwhelm the Capitol police must be investigated. More important, those who for months have peddled lies and sought to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election—the most secure in our nation’s history, according to the current administration’s own officials—must be held responsible for their behavior.
Those who participated in yesterday’s insurrection against the United States government must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Those in Congress who falsely and willfully undermined the public’s confidence in our legitimately elected government for their own political gain, and thereby recklessly invited the violent insurrection we saw yesterday, must be called to account by their colleagues in Congress for their conduct in bringing the Senate and House—once among our most treasured and respected institutions—into disrepute. The offenders should face expulsion and be required to justify themselves to their peers.
Donald Trump, who goaded and led yesterday’s would-be “revolutionaries,” must be removed from office, either through exercise of the 25th Amendment or through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate—preferably the latter, as he must be prohibited from ever again enjoying the privilege of holding public office.
History shows that failed insurrections are often followed by successful ones. Those who perpetrated and abetted yesterday’s attack cannot be given the opportunity to try again.
But we must also look to our own history and the ways we have failed to uphold the ideals of our democratic system. Specifically, we must grapple with the legacies of disenfranchisement and unequal access to the ballot box, gerrymandering, unequal treatment under the law, disproportionate policing (clearly the police can exercise restraint; that they chose to do so when confronted by a white mob is telling), and the many inequities that plague our society—scourges that together have created a system of government in which too many of our fellow citizens no longer, or still do not, recognize themselves.
We call on our elected officials, colleagues, and neighbors who have supported Donald Trump to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, his efforts to divide the country, his support for insurrection and the overturning of a free and fair election, and his betrayal of the very Constitution he swore an oath to protect.
—Bolton Democratic Town Committee Executive Board