Commentary

Yes Virginia, four of your congressmen voted to overturn the will of voters

January 8, 2021 12:01 am

Police clash with Trump supporters during a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Alex Kent/ For the Tennessee Lookout)

Few living have seen a more disgraceful day at the U.S. Capitol than Wednesday, when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump, whipped into a frenzy beyond reason after months of lies about the election, bashed their way into the building in a deadly spectacle that will live in infamy.

But in a way, the worst was yet to come.

The horror of a violent mob, set to its work by the president of the United States, rampaging through the Capitol, fighting with police, shattering windows and doors and ransacking offices, did nothing to convince Virginia’s Republican congressmen — U.S. Reps. Ben Cline, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman — that maybe voting against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s clear and convincing win in several states, thus perpetuating Trump’s baseless election delusions, wasn’t what the country needs at the moment. Griffith even had the stones to get indignant about Republicans getting called out for lying about the election results.

Rather than admitting, as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham mercifully did, that “enough is enough,” they selfishly decided that their political futures would be best served by pandering to the very people who had just committed an outrage the likes of which had not been seen since a 1954 terrorist attack or the British sack of Washington in the War of 1812.

We should all be embarrassed that none of the Republicans of the Old Dominion, with its long history of statesmanship, could muster the courage of U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican and a staunch conservative, who refused to go along with the crowd, even if it meant signing his “political death warrant.” (Cline, Griffith and Wittman also signed onto a failed lawsuit trying to overturn election results in four battleground states.)

In all likelihood, none of them actually believe that Trump won the election or that there was any kind of legitimate argument against its validity.

It is certainly contemptible, but also almost pitiable, to be so bereft of principle that you knowingly help perpetuate a fantastical lie because you fear so much telling your constituents the truth: that Donald Trump lost fair and square. That there were no irregularities, mass voter fraud, voting machine skullduggery, ballot destruction or any of the other nonsensical claims the president has raised and which have been rejected by virtually every court they have been presented to, Republican election officials at the state level and even by Trump’s own attorney general.

Surely these guys know the bit about gaining the world only to lose one’s soul. What do they stand to gain for debasing themselves so irrevocably for a man who does not care about them, his followers or anyone except himself? Keeping their front-row seat as the minority party gnashes its teeth impotently over the next few years? Owning the libs?

Is it worth it?

I hope so. Because everyone will remember where they stood on Wednesday night, despite their pathetic statements deploring the fact that the people they’ve been helping to radicalize for years — on abortion, immigration, gun control, religion and a host of other wedge issues — actually went and did the damn thing. And it’s not hard to see how priming their party faithful to ignore basic facts, all available evidence and common sense might come back to haunt them in their own future endeavors.

The GOP’s bargain with Trump was always a Faustian one and here we behold the hellish result.

As The Roanoke Times put it, “given their own way, many Republicans would overturn an election that didn’t go their way either because their commitment to democracy is too weak or their commitment to a single man is too strong.”

They’ve lost the right to talk about law and order. They’ve lost the right to talk about election integrity, or integrity of any kind. They’ve lost the right to talk about the Constitution.

We all watched the GOP’s rough beast slouch toward Bethlehem Wednesday. And we won’t forget it.

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]

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