On Jan. 6, as Trumpist extremists gathered to violently overthrow the democratically elected government of the United States, the Vermont Legislature convened to represent our constituents in the less dramatic job of governing Vermont. On Jan. 7, we passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the failed insurrection and calling for the immediate removal from the presidency of the insurrection’s leader.
This is state business because under the U.S. Constitution, the presidential election is actually the aggregate of the separate state elections to the Electoral College. In trying to steal the election, Trump tried to nullify Vermont’s constitutionally prescribed presidential election. The Oath of Office of Vermont legislators includes the pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
A violent coup is worse than a bloodless coup, but a bloodless coup is still a coup. The representatives and senators who tried to negate our election through legislative maneuvers may or may not have been within the law technically. But their intent, like the violent insurrectionists, was to undermine the election without actual cause. Their condemnation of violence is right, but hardly heroic.
Trumpists had every right to support their candidate and to oppose Trump’s opponent, then candidate Biden, during the election. That contest ended when the vote count was completed Nov. 7. Contesting the election, Trumpists opposed not Biden but the election officials of several states and the courts that upheld those officials. This was their legal right but they did so without evidence. So they lost, of course. On Jan. 6, in Congress, Trumpists opposed, not Biden, but the Electoral College, which was elected by the people, in elections run by bipartisan authorities and upheld by the courts, many presided over by judges of Trump’s party. All without evidence. Biden was not their target. We the People and our Constitution were. Amazingly, they waved our nation’s flag over their attack on our nation.
I write on Jan. 11, with no way of knowing what will have happened by the time this is read, or what will happen in the future. Threats of further violent attacks continue. These days I’ve drawn inspiration and courage from Winston Churchill’s speech at the time of Britain’s lowest point in World War II, a time of far greater peril than we face now. He gave no cheery, optimistic assurances, which would have surely rung hollow. Nor did he wallow in despair. He gave a full accounting of the situation and challenged his people to rise to the occasion, to make the bad time “their finest hour.” We’re a good people, and we will not be intimidated.
Sen. Dick McCormack