The Pillars of Democracy Stand Strong

Under The Hood

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 9, 2021

When this week began, Rep. Vern Buchanan was one of the only Republicans representing Florida who had referred to Joe Biden as President-elect and had not signed onto any effort to throw out electoral votes providing the Democrat his win. But a statement issued ahead of the vote certification on Wednesday suggested the Republican might be open to it.

 “Pelosi supported fellow Democrats who were challenging George W. Bush's certification, saying, ‘The representatives of the American people in this House are standing up for three fundamental American beliefs: the right to vote is sacred; that a representative has a duty to represent his or her constituents, and that the rule of law is the hallmark of our nation,’” Buchanan said. “I intend to follow Wednesday's debate in Congress with Nancy's Pelosi's words in mind.”

But we all saw how Wednesday’s debate played out. Anarchy struck the U.S. Capitol as Donald Trump zealots stormed the building. This resulted in a five-hour delay in deliberations— and five deaths including a Capitol Police officer. But if the desired outcome for rioters had been to overturn the election, the result of their behavior was to dash that already slim hope. Buchanan issued a statement affirming his commitment to certifying the election results.

He acknowledged concerns voiced about how other states conducted election and left disappointing wiggle room for legal interpretations Congress may overturn results of presidential elections in the future. “But after witnessing the sad spectacle that occurred today, I voted to certify the results of the Electoral College because it’s time to move past this election.”

It proved more disappointing watching Sarasota’s other member of Congress. Rep. Greg Steube announced ahead of time he would object to multiple slates of electors and did so every chance he got. But he too condemned rioters who overtook his hallowed place of work. “I witnessed our law enforcement officers being injured, gassed from their own tear gas and afraid for their lives as they attempted to hold the line,” Steube said in a statement. “I and three other Members were barricaded in a room surrounded by demonstrators until the hallway was clear for us to get out.”

Notably, unlike other members of Congress, Steube from that point forward never took any opportunity to grandstand about election integrity or spin conspiracy theories about the riots. That’s a win, and a sign Sarasota’s representatives universally see the value in progressing to a new administration, even one led by another party and where they will hold less influence.

Ultimately, the only concrete result from the chaos in the Capitol was to put on display the fact those seeking to overthrow democracy cared little for America’s ideals, and thus appeasing their attempted insurrection only served to shake the nation’s foundations.

Most important, at the end of the day and in the face of a violent attack on the nation’s government, the pillars of democracy stood. That’s more than a silver lining. It’s affirmation of national principles that set us apart from those places where elections serve only as window dressing to corrupt power structures.

To those who long viewed Donald Trump’s antics as an existential threat to democracy, this week proved his pursuits to be futile. Within 48 hours of the riots, the president released a video conceding he will leave office soon, there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and the election is over.

While many now long to his resignation, impeachment or removal, it’s the certification of legitimate election results that already guarantees his departure in a matter of days. That’s how democracy should work, and it did.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA.

Photo from Shutterstock

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