Opinion

Anarchist in the Capitol

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Let me be very clear, what happened with the rioting and anarchy in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 was a terrible thing. I have had friends in both political parties say that exact thing. Many of the same people who are saying bad things about this incident wanted to give a pass to those who were rioting last spring and summer in 2020, and I cannot let that pass without comment. Republicans and Democrats should together condemn any violent riots. It should not be a partisan issue.

I have always said, since day one of this political leadership journey I am on, I will tell you the truth always. You may not like it, but it will be the truth. I have denounced the violence and rioting on Jan. 6, 2021, just as I have denounced the rioting throughout the year in 2020. Both were wrong.

I was told last summer that the rioting taking place was justified because sometimes bad things need to happen to move things forward. Well, the people who were rioting on Jan. 6 likely thought the exact same thing, and I am ashamed of both sides for justifying illegal activity to further their cause. It reminds me of a time when I was in Afghanistan and the Afghan Police Officer that I was mentoring said to me "It would make my job easier if you would just let me kill someone, and I will make sure they deserve to die, but if I were able to do that, then people will fear me."

I simply told that police officer that I come from a country where the rule of law is most important. If I told you it is OK to kill someone, even if you think they deserve it, then we are stepping outside the bounds of that rule of law, and we are no better than criminals. To my knowledge that officer never carried through with his threat to simply kill someone to make the people fear him.

When people riot, they are going outside the rule of law, which is going against the very foundation of this great country.

This is not to say our country is without fault. In many ways, we've seen our freedoms infringed upon and our liberties taken away. We should push back on injustice when we see it, but we should do it peacefully and within the rule of law.

Government in the United States, and in Iowa, is government for the people and by the people, not government "over" the people. Yes, there were inconsistencies in a big way during the November 2020 election. There have been accusations of fraud from both political parties in every major election that the United States has undergone.

The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear only the states have the authority to appoint electors. As every state certified their electors, Congress must fulfill their role to count electoral college votes and the American people should as they have for hundreds of years celebrate the peaceful transfer of power. Challenging the states' authority to manage and certify elections would set a dangerous precedent that threatens American democratic institutions.

My position remains consistent. Just as those rioting last summer should not have resorted to violence, neither should the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. I believe that peaceful protest is good and justified in America. It is what gets things moving. I am not a pacifist by any means, but let me be perfectly clear, in the end we are all Americans, and we are all on the same team.