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Opinion | Shame on those who stoke the fires of insurrection

“There is no reason to be proud of our congressional members who stoked violent insurrection.”

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP PHOTO/JOSE LUIS MAGANA)

Yesterday, supporters of President Donald Trump carried out an act of violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump incited the mob that brought chaos to the nation’s Capitol, but he was not alone.

Alabama’s Congressmen Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt, Gary Palmer, Barry Moore, Jerry Carl and Mike Rogers, along with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, also fueled the lawless rioters’ seditious actions by falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was tainted by fraud and by pretending they had the power to overturn the results of the election.

Their actions were those of craven politicians more beholden to their conspiracy-addled leader and the far-right flank of the Republican Party than the Constitution of the United States.

Only Alabama’s Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Terri Sewell emerged true to their oaths of office.

Each one of those individuals spoke a simple fourteen-word oath before taking office. It reads: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”

Only Shelby and Sewell honored their oaths. The other seven brought disgrace to themselves, their offices and the people of Alabama.

Oh, they will offer a half-baked excuse that they were defending the election’s integrity.

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The individual states certified the presidential election, the challenges adjudicated in courts overseen by judges appointed by Republicans and Democrats. Still, they question the outcome because their preferred candidate didn’t win, and their base demanded they debase themselves like cowards.

Brooks is truly mad, and Moore and Tuberville suffer from a vacuous naivete, but Aderholt, Palmer, Rogers, and Carl know better and still acted with weakness and disregard for the laws that distinguish our Republic from a third-world dictatorship. They carried out coup-like charades to overturn a free and fair election. No one should forget their actions, which are as close as it comes to trying to defraud voters of their legitimate choice for president. 

By joining Trump’s liars’ chorus claiming a stolen election, their words were sparks on the kindling that caused yesterday’s attack.

As the scripture informs: “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

Our Capitol was defiled by those claiming to be fighting for our country; Brooks and his followers continue to do the same by speaking lies.

Scripture also reminds us that, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Many Alabamians voted for Trump, but more Americans voted against him and for President-elect Joe Biden.

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The Republican Party once stood for the conservative values of many citizens. Today, it has been subjugated by an unprincipled base that is neither patriotic nor adheres to the Constitution or the rule of law.

Love of country in the United States is built on our laws, institutions and shared values. When we have differences, they are settled by law, not by mobs.

However, these seven Alabamians abandon sacred principles at the urging of a man who lives without conscience or loyalty, prostrated themselves for political gain, and became a part of the festering cancer that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.

President Abraham Lincoln said: “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

With the exception of Brooks, Alabama’s congressional delegation is comprised of decent people. However, there is no reason to be proud of our congressional members who stoked violent insurrection in the hallowed citadel of liberty on Wednesday.

You should be ashamed. 

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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