The Tooele Transcript Bulletin invited the leaders of the county Republican and Democratic parties to respond to the events that happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020. Here are their responses.
I never thought I’d see a coup attempt in the United States of America. Never in my lifetime or my children’s lifetimes. But here we are. Our ability to come together and articulate our differences peacefully has come to a violent, screeching halt.
So how did we get here? To me, there are four causes:
Party over Country — Donald Trump has been enabled by hyper-partisans who have blindly followed him over the cliff. Congressman Chris Stewart is one example. He stood with Leader Kevin McCarthy in voting to decertify the Pennsylvania presidential election results after the insurrection Wednesday. That was disappointing and sent a disturbing message of support for the insurrectionists. Senator Romney is a leader. He consistently holds the president accountable and still votes his conservative conscience.
Legitimate frustration with government — Populists on the right — and, yes, on the left — have seized the palpable frustration with our governing bodies. Folks believe that the government no longer serves them anymore. Largely, they’re not wrong. Big tax breaks for corporations and the top 0.5% wealthiest, stagnant wages for the last 40 years and a general disdain for the plight of working folks everywhere. Both parties are to blame. Neither party is blameless in serving their biggest campaign donors only. Big political donations have obscured what should be the focal point of government — the people.
The death of truth — Search the terms “truth decay” or “post-truth era” online and you’ll find a lot of reading. Conspiracy theories have overtaken our world, the veracity of the presidential election results, the efficacy of vaccinations and mask wearing to prevent airborne disease. All are easily proven truths. All of these have consensus as basis in fact. Yet all are hotly debated? I had a conversation this summer with a gentleman who insisted the Confederate flag was not a symbol of racism, but rather a symbol of states’ rights. My black friends and work associates would take issue with that opinion, to put it lightly. We can agree to amicably disagree on matters of policy and opinion, but if we cannot agree that water is wet it makes it difficult to have a productive debate.
The complete loss of respect. — We don’t see each other as people anymore. We don’t respect individualism. We’ve entered a new era of McCarthyism, where people are labeled and all nuance is lost. People use words like “baby-killer” and “commie” to objectify Democrats. People on the left use denigrating language such as “deplorables” and “fascists” as well. It serves cable and online news. It’s easy and momentarily gratifying, but it doesn’t serve the greater society.
The events of last week scare me and disgust me. The insurrection was abhorrent. I have nothing but disgust for mob behavior — especially when predicated on easily disproved lies. Most who perpetrated these acts deserve significant jail time. President Trump needs to answer for his incitement of the riot. He is, in my opinion, the most dangerous American leader in our history. I’m glad he’s going and I look forward to the steady leadership of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. But I refuse to hate Donald Trump. I refuse to hate the members of the mob. Hate will get us nowhere.
We need to come together and remember our common patriotic bonds. We all value hard work. Everyone wants to be respected on some level. We need to be patient with one another and rediscover the common ground. There’s no problem with having a strong opinion at all. But it should be based in some verifiable, well-sourced fact. We need to speak frankly and dispassionately about the issues that concern us. We also need to patiently listen, even though at times it can be hard.
We are truly stronger together. “A republic, if you can keep it,” is how Ben Franklin answered a woman asking what type of government the Founding Fathers had chosen. We need to recommit to one another and make the conscious decision to keep the Republic.
Democratic Party Chair
What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 is disgusting, and indefensible. The “Party of Lincoln” has stood up against riots in every instance, and is doing so now. Protesting our government is part of our rights as citizens, but never should it lead to violence or destruction of another person’s rights. Period.
How did we get here? That question should be examined as deeply as “How do we fix this, and unite?” After the election, half of America felt there was a need to investigate the results, they felt there were too many discrepancies and coincidences in certain key states. Over one thousand individuals signed sworn affidavits verifying they personally witnessed fraud, yet nothing was done to hear them out, or debunk their claims. Whether the election was fair or stolen, the American people should have the opportunity to see the evidence, and decide for themselves.
The mainstream media will tell you there is not proof of “widespread fraud,” but many of us think proof of ANY fraud is unacceptable in an American election. Consider the media’s role in the summer riots, the coverage of certain topics (or lack thereof) and the constant demonization of our president for four plus years.
Please then consider the president’s policies, the peace treaties, and the economic boom as well. The “America first” ideology has resonated with millions of people, after all, you must “save yourself before trying to save others.” Why spend billions on other country’s success, before making our own all that it should be? It’s a logical question, yet the mainstream media and the left will condemn anyone for asking it.
Trump isn’t just a man, he is an ideology. He, as an individual, is not supported by many people within our party. They find fault with his character, behavior, and exaggerated persona. However, many have been pleasantly surprised by his actions, regardless of his words.
These Republicans represent many, and deserve to be heard, I am referring to those that are proud Trump supporters, to explain why they stand with him. People believe in him because to them, he stands for freedom over government. He unapologetically supports our police, military, small business owners, religious liberty, free market, unborn babies, the 2nd Amendment, and common sense policy. He isn’t about starting new wars or making the government all powerful. He wanted to put the power back in the hands of the “unwashed masses,” the blue collar worker, the minority, the American citizen. He believes that as individuals, we can live better, free lives, and determine our own destiny. He will come and go, but the ideals he has encouraged in the average citizen will not easily be forgotten.
How do we fix this? In the eyes of the people who voted for Trump, they have little hope in fixing it. If elections can be stolen, and presidents can be investigated/impeached under completely false witness/dossiers, who can be trusted to represent their voices?
Feeling hopeless and irrelevant is difficult for any individual, regardless of who they vote for. The media has chosen their “side,” and big tech is all powerful and can literally shut off the voices of anyone not towing the line. COVID has been so badly politicized, and freedom is being stripped away by each new mandate.
I am not saying that COVID isn’t serious, it is definitely. Sadly there is little known about it, even by science, and that has empowered many to “guess” and call it fact. It has become a political weapon in the eyes of many.
There is a divide not only in this country, but in the Republican Party. That is the result of a party made up of individuals with differing ideals. We are bound by our platform, and the promise to protect our sacred documents, and liberty. There is no doubt that those of us in the GOP love this country and believe in her founding principles. As I’m sure that the left also loves our country. Perhaps that is how we can unite, at least as a party, and then as a nation. Freedom has consequences, but we believe that it is a God given right. Do we believe in that premise, or do we believe that the government knows better? If we can agree on that, then our future can be brighter, regardless of who sits in the White House.
Republcian Party Chair