From your chairperson 1/9/20

St. Francis of Assisi tells me to be a channel of peace. Native American tradition tells me to become hollow bones for the same reason.

Those who know me personally know I can nearly always find something good in whatever happens. So this is where I’m headed.

The best thing about the Republican attempted coup January 6, 2021, is that it brought clearly into the light exactly what the Republican Party has been working toward since Newt Gingrich introduced the idea that Democrats were the enemy instead of just fellow patriots with different ideas about best solutions for our country’s future.

It has taken years for the anger and hatred the Republican Party has nurtured to come to a head. Their nomination and election of their 2016 candidate is simply the culmination of what began with Gingrich.

We’ve all watched as Republicans have relinquished control of their party to extremists and as they have lied to defend the current president and keep that base.

In two days we’ve seen the results of their willingness to accommodate white supremacists, antisemites, conspiracy theorists, and armed gangs they mistakenly call “militias.” 

On January 5, voters in Georgia turned the U.S. Senate over to the Democrats. Democrats may have lost some seats in the House, and that’s something we need to work on, but the presidential vote flipped in states the 2016 Republican presidential candidate won, Democrats kept the majority in the House, and Democrats gained enough seats in the Senate to have a one-person majority.

This transference of power is directly related to the current president. Republicans let a popular television star with no moral compass, with no governing experience or skills, with no compassion, with no loyalty, with no understanding of history, governing, or the Constitution to be their candidate, and then they defended and supported him NO MATTER WHAT, even when they knew he was dangerous and a liar.

On January 6, we all watched with horror the attempted coup of the Republican base, a coup constructed on the lies of the President of the United States and promulgated by many Republicans in positions of power.

There is no way to deny or hide the awful scenes at our nation’s Capitol, just as there is no way to hide or deny who is responsible.

I listened to Republican after Republican speak when the Senate was “debating” Georgia’s Electoral College vote, and each of them said in some way it was time to stop calling the other side the enemy, to begin to work together for the good of our country, to tell the truth even if it wasn’t what their constituents wanted to hear.

Mitch McConnell gave what I think is probably the best speech of his political career when the Senate reconvened after the failed coup, sounding like someone who finally understands the gravity of what his own words and actions have wrought.

The majority of Republican Senators were shaken and willing to speak the truth. All but seven of them voted to accept the Electoral College vote of every state.

If those Republicans will continue to stand for truth and unity, treating their colleagues on the other side of the aisle as patriots with different ideas instead of as enemies to be vanquished, this can be the beginning of a major change in how we do politics in the United States of America.

It can be.

It will depend on them. And it will depend on us as well.

I know I can’t see the big picture. What I can see is that oftentimes what looks like something horrible can be exactly what we need to effect change for the better.

Today, after the 2020 election and the failed Republican coup, my hope is that enough Republicans will begin to speak the truth, that they will stop calling Democrats the enemy, that the light shining on where they are—in the untenable position of having encouraged an attack on our democratic processes—will be enough to show them the way to a better, less hate-filled place.

I’m not naive. I know many self-serving media personalities and Republican lawmakers are already trying to change the narrative and shift attention from what really happened and who is responsible, continuing the lies that stoke hatred and division.

But that attack on our government, what we all saw happening at the Capitol, is too stark to be ignored. Our leaders and our fellow Americans were shaken, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and those who consider themselves not really political.

We all have seen the fragility of our democracy. We all have seen we cannot take it for granted.

We also have overwhelmingly elected a President who won’t fan the flames of hatred and division.

My hope is that all of our elected officials have learned that what happened January 6, 2021, is the end result of spreading lies, of calling other citizens the enemy.

My hope is that WE, the people of this precious and injured country, will hold our officials accountable if they casually spout hatred and that we will practice restraint with our own words even when we disagree vehemently.

I believe in our country. I believe in our ideals. I believe we have seen the worst of ourselves and we can and will rise from this horrendous place lying and calling each other the enemy has taken us.

The United States government has been so ill for so long. I believe the horror of January 6, 2021, can be the beginning of healing for the United States of America.

This is the best my hollow bones can deliver.