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Random violence is never the answer

Random acts of violence are never the answer — no matter the question, no matter the issue.

The random acts of violence and rioting over the summer in the name of social and racial injustice was not the answer to bring attention to those issues. Storming the U.S. Capitol last week was not the answer or the way to bring attention to the issue of voting irregularities.

This summer I heard and read people’s opinions that the only thing that would get people’s attention on social and racial injustice now was violence. It would be the only thing that would invoke change.

Perhaps in their minds the violence, the random defacing of public property, the destruction of businesses owned by the very people they were supposedly fighting for, actually did bring about change.

I would beg to differ.

I would propose that much of the violence and destruction this summer had nothing to do with social or racial injustice, but rather people using those issues as a reason to randomly destroy people’s livelihoods just because they could.

Before you get upset, yes, I believe the same thing about the attack on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. Do I believe they were all Trump supporters? No. Do I believe they wanted their five minutes of fame? Yes. Do I believe they furthered their cause – whatever it might have been? No, because I believe the majority of them did not have a message they wanted to convey while storming the Capitol.

I do know that people died at the U.S. Capitol last week, people died and were injured in the riots and violence over the summer. And sadly, through it all our country is more divided than ever.

Just as those who want to bring an end to social and racial injustice try to rationalize the violence for their cause, I have heard and read from people who feel the election was stolen from President Trump and they feel violence is the only way for their message to get through.

I believe in fighting for what’s right and fighting for what you believe in, but what we saw last week and this summer was not that. I believe what we saw was wanton, willful destruction for the sake of destruction.

We have to find a better way and we need real leadership, strong leadership. Sadly, we did not get that from President Trump last week.

We did see it with Vice President Mike Pence in his address to Congress when the certification resumed.

I am not discussing Trump’s pre-riot speech here and whether or not Trump incited the violence. (Also another topic for another day is my concern about the totally ineffective and woefully lacking security in D.C. and at the Capitol on that day.)

In my opinion the complete lack of leadership, and my extreme utter disappointment in President Trump came in his speech during the attack on the Capitol, where he blatantly refused to condemn those who rioted.

He was quick to condemn the violence this summer on cities across our country, and rightfully so. He should have done so last week. People want to say there were anti-Trump protesters among those who stormed the Capitol such as antifa. Perhaps there were, but listening to President Trump, he seemed to know who they were, telling them he understood how they were feeling and reiterating the election was “stolen.”

“It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me from you from our country. This was a fraudulent election,” Trump said in his video address. “But we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”

On Thursday, Trump tried to back pedal and condemn what had happened at the Capitol but it was too late. He had a moment to rise above and show the entire country what kind of leader he could be; well perhaps he did show us.

In contrast, Vice President Mike Pence’s message was as follows:

Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift efforts of U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues.

We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls, as well as the injuries suffered by those who defended our Capitol today. And we will always be grateful to the men and women who stayed at their posts to defend this historic place.

To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house. And as we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

So may God bless the lost, the injured and the heroes forged on this day. May God bless all who serve here and those who protect this place. And may god bless the United States of America.

Let’s get back to work.

Well said Mr. Vice President. That is leadership we need. I echo his sentiments. Violence never wins. Freedom wins.

Let us hope that in 2021 and beyond that freedom indeed does win.

Karla Pomeroy

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