It’s good to see competitive Congressional races so I’m not displeased with the fact that incumbents Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo will face runoffs to stay in office. In a country which sees 95 percent of its Congressional incumbents re-elected, these runoffs are a breath of fresh air.
The higher re-election rates for incumbents stem from the fact that there are huge perks once a candidate becomes an incumbent. They have a 10-person staff and a $5 million budget. That’s a great base for getting re-elected and gets Congressional incumbents an almost overwhelming advantage.
However, in the case of Michael Guest, I hope the competition doesn’t stem from Guest voting to investigate the January 6 attack on the U. S. Capitol following President Trump’s incendiary speech blocks away. Guest’s opponent, a former jet pilot and a solid conservative, has criticized Guest for voting in support of a Congressional investigation.
It is a scary situation in the United States when elected representatives want to sweep an incident like January 6 under the rug. The riot was not a legitimate “coup” attempt. It was not an “insurrection” in the real sense of the word. I get that. But it was nevertheless a reprehensible, violent riot at the very seat of our representative democracy. It was a huge embarrassment to our nation and undermined our standing in the world.
How anyone can fail to see that such an event requires investigation is beyond my comprehension. Peaceful, law-abiding protest is fundamental to our democracy but the line is drawn when a protest becomes violent, destructive and illegal. Violent protests should be quashed by the appropriate authorities and properly investigated and prosecuted, no matter where they occur. But a violent, illegal riot at the center of our government is on a completely different scale.
What are people thinking when they abandon the fundamental principles of our country and our laws because of political sentiments? The only alternative to the rule of law is mob rule and anarchy. Is this what our nation wants? Are we to abandon our 246 years of success as a nation because of loyalty to Donald Trump, who has displayed his true colors?
I voted for Trump twice. People I respect warned me about his character but I attributed that to politics. I was aware of his numerous character flaws, but I overlooked them because I like his strong policies on regulation, the courts, immigration and other issues.
When he lost the election and didn’t concede, I was very worried. He was breaking a 200-year-old tradition that has served this country well. He was putting at risk the very stability of our political system — the peaceful transition of power, which has made the United States a bastion of respect and stability in the world.
Even so, I was willing to accept that every person should have his day in court. We have a carefully crafted process for contesting elections, even presidential elections.
But what Trump did in the end was horrible and every patriotic American should be appalled. And every person defending Trump today needs to do some serious soul searching about what it means to be an American and a citizen of the United States.
Trump lost in the courts. Again and again and again. That’s what courts are there for — to resolve disputes in an objective, careful manner using the laws of evidence and the process of law. For a sitting president to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of our judicial system and then incite a mob to attack the U. S. Capitol — I don’t have words to express how horrible I think that is.
This is how the Nazis took over in Germany. They convinced the people that their way was more important than the rule of law or their institutions of government. Lots of American blood was spilled cleaning up that mess. Yet we are willing to let a similar incident occur on our own soil without an investigation? It just boggles my imagination.
Let’s not forget that this is just what Putin and his thousands of bloggers have been trying to achieve. Day in and out they create fake websites to publish fake news to get gullible people riled up. Putin’s goal is to destroy America by sowing discord. And sadly, his strategy is working.
I delved into Trump’s election fraud allegations, spending far more time than the average Joe and working from a base of knowledge accrued from 40 years in journalism. Sure there was the garden variety type of election fraud made significantly worse by covid, but the allegations Trump was making were bogus. That’s why they failed in court.
For example, Trump and his minions argued that secret software manipulation from China dumped 30,000 votes into the voting machines at the 11th hour, swinging the Georgia vote. But there was one little problem, when the physical votes were counted over and over again, there were no mysterious 30,000 fake electronic votes. It was simply not true. Yet Trump continued to perpetuate this lie, risking the very stability of our nation and dividing our country like no one has in its history.
I liken my experience with Trump to being married to a decent wife with some good attributes. Then one day you come home and find her in bed with another man. That’s a deal killer. It’s over. Nothing can repair that. That’s the way I feel about Trump and January 6. And I want to know exactly how it all went down, gory details and all. This is not something you sweep under the rug. Not personally, and especially not as a great nation.
Guest’s opponent is Michael Cassidy, a Mississippi newcomer. He’s a former jet pilot. That’s impressive. Like Trump and Guest, Cassidy has conservative positions on many important issues. Surprisingly, he’s very liberal on some issues like the child tax credit and medical care, which could be quite costly.
I might have voted for Cassidy, but not after he blasted Guest for voting to investigate January 6. In fact, for me, that is a reason to vote for Guest, who put pandering aside and did the right thing with great political risk. That beats being a jet pilot any day.
An important part of being a good human being is to swallow your pride and admit you were wrong. Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes. That’s human nature.
Far too many Americans are too prideful to admit they make a mistake about Trump. Character matters, even more so than politics and public policy stances. It’s time for America’s conservative base to face the facts: We screwed up. Let’s move on and get it right next time. We should vow to never again sacrifice character for charisma, honesty for expediency or loyalty to our Constitution for partisan politics.