By ERIC SCHALLER
To the chairman of the Republican Party of Los Alamos:
I am very glad to hear that you condemn the violence that occurred at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. If this viewpoint is consistent throughout the Republican Party, then our country will be OK. We will get through this, as long as cooler heads prevail.
However, I would like to respond to your arguments in the context of the current state of affairs in the United States of America.
People on all sides are very concerned. People are scared that their democracy is on the verge of failing, either by disenfranchising its own citizens, or by open, armed revolt against congress. There was a deadly attack on the most central institution of our democracy. People call it insurrection. People call it a coup attempt. These are words that have preceded the collapse of many governments of the past. So, this is a time to pick your words and your priorities carefully when speaking publicly. I am absolutely sure that you and I agree that we do not want our democracy to fail, so please lend me your attention for a moment.
In your statement to the people of Los Alamos on Jan. 12 (link), you list many frightening things that people have said under oath and in signed affidavits. I will agree that these things, if true, would be more than disturbing, and are worthy of investigation to an appropriate degree. Unfortunately, I am not qualified to decide if these claims are true and these crimes took place. I cannot listen to all the hearings in all the contested states.
Fortunately, our democracy has an entire branch of government that is dedicated to making fully informed and legal decisions about whether or not a crime has taken place: the judicial branch. The sitting president and his allies have filed more than 60 lawsuits in state and federal courts in an attempt to prove that the criminal behavior that you describe actually did take place. These very well-funded lawsuits and the lawyers behind them have failed to convince the judicial branch that widespread fraud and election tampering took place.
In view of this reality, I have to wonder why you are bringing up these allegations of serious crimes once again. These concerns have been brought to our courts, and the courts have found that they are without merit.
So, I ask you this: Are you bringing into question the integrity of the judicial branch, from the state level all the way up to the Supreme Court?
Do you believe that our courts are so corrupt and subject to outside influence that we should no longer listen to them? Do you feel that the people who made allegations of widespread fraud under oath and in signed affidavits are more trustworthy than our entire judicial branch? If this is the case, then it would seem that you believe that one branch of our government has already failed.
You need to understand that this is a dangerous assertion. You need to understand the gravity of such a belief being publicly stated or inferred by a political leader such as yourself. People go to war over such things. Is towing the party line for an outgoing President worth eroding the public trust in our national election process and the entire judicial branch?
I still have faith in the basic integrity of our judicial branch. If you do as well, please do not qualify your condemnation of the attempted coup on Jan. 6 by saying that there were good reasons for attempting it. The people of the United States of America need to hear clear, unqualified condemnation of the attempted coup by leaders such as yourself.
Thank you for your time.