Letter to the Editor: Silence is not always golden

To the Editor:

You’ve heard that saying, “Silence is golden.” This may hold true in some cases, but today, more than ever, citizens need to stand up, speak up and tell the truth!

After reading the article in The Standard by Jodi Peake about her presence at the January 6 rally in Washington. D.C., we cannot, in good conscience, remain silent. Peake described her experience as “joyful and peaceful,” and also stated “the energy was filled with light and love.” That may describe her own experience, but we would be willing to bet that our elected leaders and their staff would disagree when they were forced to flee for their lives as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol.

We also doubt that the 140 Capitol Police Officers who were injured (with many hospitalized from the brutal attack) would describe this tragic event in such glowing terms. Six people died, one of them a Capitol Police Officer while trying to defend democracy in our nation’s most sacred domain.

This definitely was not a typical political rally. Let’s call it what it really was. This was, a full-blown insurrection - an attempted coup - against our own government in an attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

President Trump had exerted extreme political pressure against election officials in several states to change results in his favor. To their credit, none of these officials bent to his unprecedented demands (some of them were Republicans). Election results had already been certified in every state. More than 60 court cases filed to overturn the election were rejected, some of them by judges appointed by Trump. Our Supreme Court (which includes three Trump appointees) refused to hear a case brought before it because they determined the case had no merit. What does that tell you?

For months Trump had been stoking the flames of fear and hate, along with the biggest lie of all - a “rigged election”. Trump invited his supporters (dominated by extremists groups) to the U.S. Capitol January 6 with the promise that it “Will be Wild!” As we all know, this was the same day Congress was scheduled to certify the Electoral College votes.

Everyone has seen the horrific results of Trump’s Big Lie played out over and over again on TV since that day. Never before in history had our Capitol been attacked and desecrated by our own citizens. And the whole world was watching. We find it truly remarkable that any person could describe that tragic day as “joyful and peaceful.”

Several congressmen, while hiding from the uncontrollable, angry mob, begged Trump to call off the insurgents he had incited. It would be at least two hours after the Capitol was attacked before Trump finally issued a pathetically weak message for the misled extremists to “go home”.

Too little, too late. Death and destruction hung over our Capitol like a gaping wound! Trump had put our democracy in jeopardy to feed his insatiable ego and to maintain power. As taught by his father, Trump will never, ever back down or admit defeat.

Trump’s niece, Mary Trump (a clinical psychologist), predicted that he would do “anything and everything” to maintain power. He will “burn the place down,” she said. And he came close. (For deeper insights into Trump’s pathology, read Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How Our Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”)

To their everlasting credit, our elected officials continued their work after being attacked. The results of the Electoral College votes were certified. The insurgents would not deter Congress from fulfilling its Constitutional duty. In the end, the traitors had failed and democracy prevailed!

Twice we have had the privilege and honor of visiting our nation’s Capitol to meet with our Iowa delegation. We also have witnessed the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, in session. There is an aura of solemnity and sacredness, with a deep sense of history in these hallowed halls. We never thought we would live to see the terrible day when our beloved Capitol would be so defiled, nor someone describe such an event as “joyful and peaceful.” Democracy must be protected.

One last thought, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” Please, open your eyes, minds and hearts before it’s too late! Our democracy cannot survive unless everyone tells the truth!

Ric and Betty Zarwell

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