Wednesday, January 6, 2021, is a day this country will never forget. It was a day of insurrection, an assault on ideals and democracy upon which this country was built. The riots at the U.S. Capitol were an unthinkable attack. In the days since we watched it unfold, we’ve seen responses from our leaders that run the gamut. While some have attempted to minimize this attack or place blame on other groups, others have stepped forward to condemn the mob. Unfortunately, the condemnations of some local Republican officials do little to disguise the fact that their own campaign messages and their actions following the November election fanned the flames that led to this attack.

During last fall’s campaign, Republicans, including Representative Pete Stauber, made “law and order” a central message of their election bids, running divisive ads explicitly attempting to stoke the fears of voters prior to the November election. Since the election, these same politicians, including more than 100 members of Congress, have falsely questioned the outcome without basis and worked in concert with the outgoing President to undermine the integrity of a democratic election.

They cast seeds of doubt, filing and signing onto frivolous lawsuits that led citizens to wrongly believe they were cheated out of their sacred vote. They showed a lack of judgment by spreading false information, all, apparently, in an effort to earn political capital with the President he hoped would win a second term. In the wake of the President’s loss, they doubled down, giving credence to these extremists in an attempt to appease Trump’s loyalists and retain their support.

Pete Stauber, by joining in this chorus, compromised our region’s values and our trust.

This attack did not occur in a vacuum, and those who incited it through their rhetoric and actions bear responsibility for the events of January 6. It is our duty as citizens to ensure that they are held accountable.

It is now our responsibility to not take for granted the rights and principles of our democracy that these seditionists are so eager to take away. It is time for us to speak out and demand accountability from all those members of Congress who participated in undermining our democracy, including Representative Stauber, who should remove his American Flag lapel pin and turn in his resignation. America deserves better.

Jason Metsa

Former State Representative District 6B

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