Letter — Genuine risk of civil conflict and losing democracy

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

To the Editor:

One year ago this month, January 6, 2021 to be precise, is a date that will never be forgotten in America’s history. That was the day that insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol trying to overturn the results of the November 2020 presidential election. Our elected lawmakers were gathered in the Capitol building that day to confirm the election of Joe Biden as president. Urged on by Donald Trump and others who believed in the now debunked “Big Lie” theory that Trump actually won the November 2020 election, a well-armed and organized mob overpowered the Capitol police and broke into the Capitol looking to disrupt the lawful proceedings while yelling “hang Mike Pence” (then Trump’s vice-president) and “get Nancy Pelosi” (the Speaker of the US House of Representatives). The insurrectionists even built a make-shift gallows in front of the Capitol building. In fear for their lives, all the elected officials and their aids had to be evacuated to a secure location in the building; some took refuge by barricading and hiding themselves in locked offices.

Trump’s ability to convince his supporters that he actually won the 2020 election without producing a shred of credible evidence is remarkable and frightening. He continues to minimize the seriousness of the events of January 6. His related efforts to disavow the election and his assault on American j democracy continues. Trump and his supporters continue to spread disinformation and division among Americans. All unlawful participants involved in the January 6,2021 insurrection (from all levels-from the top on down) need to be exposed and held accountable.

Recently, former president Jimmy Carter, who co-founded the Carter Center to promote democratic and human rights, published an op-ed in the New York Times titled, “I Fear for Our Democracy.” In his editorial he urged Americans to respect free and fair elections, refuse violence, pass election reforms that would make it easier and fairer to vote, and ignore disinformation. Carter stated: “Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. “

There is much at stake in America today. We can restore the principles on which the Founders based this nation: “that all men are created equal” and “ governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We must expose disinformation, autocratic leaders and tyranny.

Myra Wilcox

Dillwyn