The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 15, 2021 1:00 am

Denial will only slow our healing

Tim McElwee

Let's take him at his word.

President Donald Trump has called for a time of healing and reconciliation. Our elected members of Congress could play a positive role in bringing about this reality if they are willing to forthrightly acknowledge their complicity in the attack on our democracy we witnessed on Jan. 6.

During the impeachment trial in February 2020, despite enormous evidence that Trump abused the power of his office for political gain, rather than challenge the president's claims of a form of monarchical immunity, Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young voted to acquit the president.

Our Constitution defines “high crimes” as severe violations of the public trust by high-ranking officials. Our two senators severely damaged the public trust when they obsequiously prioritized their fealty to the president above loyalty to the Constitution and their oath of office.

Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump has released more than 450 tweets falsely claiming he was reelected. Having lost more than 60 legal cases, including two before the Supreme Court, Trump's attorneys produced no evidence of purported massive voter fraud.

Our members of Congress participated in and supported this anti-democratic disinformation campaign through their acceptance of these patently false statements and their insistence on challenging the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

As we are all well aware, Trump's incomprehensible denial of reality as evidenced through his refusal to accept electoral defeat, and his dangerous lies, incited a seditious riot that culminated in the storming of our nation's Capitol, where lives were threatened and lost.

Following this malicious assault on our democracy, undeterred by the violence created by Trump's falsehoods, Rep. Jim Banks nonetheless paid homage to the president by voting to delegitimize Biden's election and on Wednesday voting to oppose the impeachment of Trump.

If Banks, along with Braun and Young, refuses to denounce and hold accountable Trump and his extremists for the crimes they committed on Jan. 6, instead of attaining a greater sense of societal harmony we should expect more violent attacks on our democracy.

To pursue reconciliation at this precarious juncture in our nation's history, our elected officials must first admit their appalling errors in judgment when they endorsed Trump's lies and condoned his lawless behavior.

If they have the strength of character to acknowledge the damage they have done to our republic, a restored public trust in our elected officials and in the integrity of our electoral process could play a vital role in nurturing the healing our country so desperately needs.

Wolcottville resident Tim McElwee is a retired Manchester University administrator.

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