On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech that rocked the nation. The first sentence is indelibly burned into the memories of anyone who has even a slight knowledge of American history: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date that will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” These words, of course, were delivered to the country the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Very shortly afterward, we were launched into World War II and our citizens worked together in toil and sacrifice to defeat the evil foreign empires of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Another “date that will live in infamy” is September 11, 2001; when al-Qaeda terrorists attacked our country in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.
And it is with great sadness that we must now add January 6, 2021 to the list of dates that will live in infamy. However, for the first time in our history, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by a mob of our own citizens; and what adds insult to injury is that this mob was urged to do so by the words of President Donald Trump. Many of us dreaded that such a day might come; but I believe in my heart that those of us who were experiencing such dread were also not surprised.
Shocked, but not surprised.
In 2016, our citizens lawfully elected, to our nation’s highest office, a man with a long history of deceit and complete disregard for anything or anyone that did not yield him personal gain. In the midst of growing distrust in politics, he presented himself as a savior; and boasted promises of cleaning up what he labeled a completely corrupt federal government by “draining the swamp.” And while some of his assertions were true, his favorite methods of effecting change involved spreading falsehoods about and then demonizing anyone who stood in his way. Prior to his entry into office in 2016 he spread false assertions about the integrity of our elections; stating that he would accept the results of the election “…if I win.” And of course, he again attacked the integrity of the 2020 election several months prior to Election Day; spreading lies about “irregularities” that did not exist. Upon losing, he launched numerous unsuccessful legal battles to overturn verified results.
Sadly, a number of his supporters both in and out of government were willing to enable President Trump’s behavior, and even publicly agreed with lies that were being blasted to our citizenry over the airwaves and in social media. And after numerous verifications that he lost the 2020 election, rather than accept the will of the voters, our President and members of his circle instead chose to continue lying about nonexistent voter fraud and proclaim publicly that the election was stolen from him. In a final fanfare of desperation, he urged a mob to march on the Capitol, and of course the resulting coup attempt will forever be a stain on our democracy.
Thankfully, after the Capitol was once again secure, our Congress was able show the world that our democracy did indeed survive; and they performed what should have been a ceremonial acknowledgment of the results of the Electoral College: that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be the new President and Vice President of the United States. Of course, Democrats and Republicans alike were shaken. Democrats spoke up. Thankfully, a number of Republicans also spoke up. And while a minority of the Republican party still seems willing to perpetuate false claims made by the President, I was very grateful for those who expressed disgust at the result of Wednesday’s rally.
If you’re old like me, you may remember that Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama in 2012. I didn’t vote for Senator Romney back then. Although I didn’t agree with much of his platform in 2012, I’ve always very much admired him as a man of honor. Honor. That’s what’s missing in too many of our elected officials. Not all, but even one is too many. Truth. All we ask is that we get truth when our elected officials speak to us.
Below is a copy of the speech Mitt delivered to the nation this past Wednesday night after Congress reconvened. I very much agree with every word he spoke during that historic session.
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.
“The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen. Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen. The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.
“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?
“Leader McConnell said that the vote today is the most important in his 40 plus years of public service. That is not because this vote reveals something about the election; it is because this vote reveals something about ourselves. I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”
Thank you very much, Mitt!!