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Wittman's Weekly: A Reflection
Washington, January 9, 2021
In his last public speech given in March 1799, Patrick Henry pleaded, "Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs." Today, I am reminded of those powerful words. While our nation faces deep divisions, we are also united in the sadness, anger, and disbelief we all experienced on Wednesday while watching the senseless and criminal attack occur on the Capitol building, the very symbol of our Republic and democratic system of government. The deaths and injuries associated with this attack are truly heartbreaking. Officer Sicknick, a twelve-year veteran of the United States Capitol Police, was killed defending our government, our Capitol, and our Constitution. The Capitol building itself was damaged and a democratic process was halted. Let me be clear: this violence, destruction, and chaos is completely unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-American.
The Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday was supposed to showcase the solemn work of certifying the Presidential election. Thoughtful deliberation is at the heart of our Republic, and ensuring the peaceful transition of power is at the very bulwark of our democracy. Leading up to and following the Presidential elections, I heard constantly from constituents who had concerns with the administration of the 2020 Presidential election. I believe Americans’ concerns deserve to be heard; we must have faith in the electoral process and continue to take steps to ensure fair and free elections. But having that debate or being in favor of that debate is in no way, shape, or form being in favor of the tragedy we witnessed at the Capitol. I want to be clear: I don’t support anything except the constitutional way to question the system and seek answers. For me, this has always been about allegiance to our Constitution and our constitutional processes, not to a single individual.
What happened on Wednesday is a blemish on this nation. We may disagree on policy and who we support for President, but this country is built on law and order. We must continue to stand for the great American tradition of peaceful disagreement and debate rather than anarchy and violence. I stand strongly against anyone who comes to our nation’s Capital - or anywhere for that matter - to perpetrate violence.
I've been asking myself lately: Where do we go from here? Our nation is hurt and divided. We need to understand that this is an unprecedented time in our history, and tensions are running high, but we also must understand that words matter. Tone matters. Rhetoric matters. We must all work to lower the temperature. Divisive words, tone, and rhetoric need to be tamped down. Every citizen has a responsibility in this quest to unite our nation.
I believe our focus now needs to be on unifying our nation and moving forward as one. By count of the electoral college, Joe Biden becomes President-Elect and Kamala Harris becomes Vice President-Elect, and the peaceful transition of power will occur on January 20th, just as it has every four years since 1792. I wish President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris the blessings of good health and sound judgement as our nation navigates these unprecedented times.
What we saw Wednesday is not the best of America. But I believe there is a better America to come. It is together that we will face the future, and we shall do so as one nation. I promise to do my part to unite the country and help work on solutions to America’s challenges. I am praying for our nation as we move forward as one. May God Bless America.