We might not like the result of an election, but the ability for Americans to come together afterward is fundamental toward our ability to self-govern. We’ve historically been able to do this after elections no matter how hotly contested. Unfortunately, President Trump and his supporters have chosen not to accept defeat and have worked to cast doubt on the election’s legitimacy on social media, on cable news, and — quite unsuccessfully — in court.

I was extremely disappointed to see Congressman Pete Stauber sign an amicus brief seeking to overturn the election. The reasons Trump and allies have given to discard the results range from anecdotal accounts without evidence to nonsensical conspiracy theories. While the Trump legal strategy hasn’t been persuasive in court, his most diehard defenders continue to create an aura of chaos. Some election officials have been threatened with violence. It’s time for people like Congressman Stauber to say: “enough.”

This year has been heart wrenching for our businesses, families, and communities. It’s no secret we all have different approaches to navigate difficult situations and solve tough problems, but Americans are counting on us to work together. While disagreements and multiple perspectives are a healthy part of our democracy, efforts to blatantly subvert the will of voters is not. In fact, one could argue that Congressman Stauber joining these efforts violates his oath of office.

During our nation’s founding, people died fighting for the right to help determine their own leadership. If elected officials intentionally work to delegitimize and erode trust within the very system people use to choose them, the collaboration required to get things done – that folks in northern Minnesota expect and deserve – becomes much harder to achieve. This is the very reason most of us run for office in the first place—to improve people’s lives and strengthen our communities.

I truly hope Congressman Stauber has the opportunity to reflect upon this shameful stunt, and he will realize Trump’s attack on the election results isn’t only misguided based on the facts, but, frankly, dangerous to our very foundation of government.

Rep. Rob Ecklund

District 3A, International Falls

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