Free enterprise, fiscal restraint, law and order and the separation of power, these are traditional conservative values. The 2020 Republican Platform listed none of these. In the last four years the party stood for nothing.

That vacuum is now occupied with Trumpian lies and Q-Anon conspiracies. The door then opened for the psychotic conspiracy crowd to take over the party. With no lid on absurdities, rancor intensified. What we witnessed January 6, 2021 was inevitable. It led to the intentional neglect of norms that hold democracy together. There is no sugar coating who is responsible. Clearly, it is the entire gang of toadies in the Republican Party. On bended knee, they kissed the ring of the most authoritarian narcissist that ever occupied the Presidency.

At the Helsinki speech, Trump said he believed the Russian leader rather than our own National Security Advisor. He referred to our war veterans as losers and suckers. These were opportunities for sensible Republicans to make a stand, but none did.

Trump’s behavior is immoral. He is responsible for the tearing away of infants from their mothers, imprisoning young children, throwing paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, pushing aside leaders of state, making the Bible a political prop, and lying to the American people about the virus. Most recently he lied to America that he won the election. He threatened members of his own party to commit fraud, demanding they find him more votes. He is a traitor to this country. Some in the Republican Party turn themselves into pretzels trying to defend him. They use the Constitution as a prop like they do the Bible, absent belief in its contents.

It is a political maxim that all politics are local. So what is to be said about Pete Stauber? Like his leader, he too lied. He said he would fight to keep “pre-existing conditions” in the Republican health plan. Problem is, they never had a health plan and never will. It is contrary to their ideology. Stauber says he believes in law and order. But, when two brothers-in-blue died during the insurrection, who did he side with? He sided with the person that instigated the murder. He didn’t side with his brothers-in-blue.

January 13, 2021, Pete Stauber voted not to impeach Trump. Does he think it is OK for insurrectionists to ransack the Capitol, replace the Stars and Stripes with the Trump flag, kill two police officers, urinate and defecate in the offices of Congress, and threaten members of Congress including threats to kill the Vice President and Speaker of the House. Does Pete Stauber believe beating cops to death with the American flag is acceptable in our Capitol building? What value is it for Congress to take the oath to defend our country if they exist only to lick the boots of a narcissist and want-to-be authoritarian? Our democracy requires more if it is to continue.

Reynold Calder is a resident of International Falls.

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