Letter: Leaders need to state the truth

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2021

I can’t seem to shake the heart-breaking images of the mob storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. The images I saw live are seared in my memory forever: the mob breaking windows and doors, the mob beating Capitol police with weapons and American flags, our elected representatives and vice president rushed to safety in locked rooms as the mob invaded. We later learned the people who take care of the Capitol also had to seek safety and then return to clean up the mess that was left behind: tossed papers, damaged statues and furniture, urine in the corners and feces on the floor.

How did this happen?

In a nutshell, former President Trump spent months pushing the big lie — that the election was stolen from him and that he had won. He ignored the facts: Joe Biden won the election by more than seven million votes and by a large margin in the Electoral College. The election was certified by the electoral officials of all 50 states and by courts at all levels and jurisdictions. Mr. Trump’s last desperate hope was to force Vice President Pence to reject his duty of carrying out the process of certifying the election. Mr. Trump asked his supporters to come to Washington, then spoke at a large rally and encouraged them to march to the Capitol to stop the processes of democracy. They did just that. 

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That is the essential point: The lie that the election was stolen resulted in the attack on the Capitol. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary that all political leaders affirm the truth.

I was encouraged that the Minnesota House of Representatives in January passed a resolution reaffirming that the 2020 election was fair and legitimate. I thank Rep. Bennett and other Republicans who voted for it. In several email conversations, State Sen. Dornink also affirms the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

However, our communications with Congressman Hagedorn were distressing. He sticks by his vote to reject the Electoral College results, thereby fueling the insurrection and attack on the Capitol.

My wife and I have also contacted the chairs of the local of Republican Party (Brad Edwin in January and Robert Hoffman elected in February), asking the local Republican Party to affirm democracy and the results of the 2020 election, and the election of Joe Biden.  They have not yet responded to our requests.

On Jan. 6, just a few hours after the Capitol attack, Sen. Mitt Romney felt compelled by duty and respect to the voters to tell the truth: that Joe Biden won and Donald Trump lost in a legitimate election. He added that those senators who supported the lie of a stolen election will forever be seen as complicit in the actions of the mob.

That is all we ask, that leaders strengthen democracy and state the truth. We look forward to hearing from them.

Ted Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea