The scenes Wednesday from Washington of right wing belligerents vandalizing our democracy are repulsive but, unfortunately, not at all surprising.

Donald Trump has spent the past several years happily feeding one lie after another to a fan base that eerily resembles a cult. If you’re not singularly devoted to parroting every one of his ideas, you’re a leftist radical hell bent on destroying the nation.

That perverted notion served as the flimsy rationale for those who decided to impose their will on the electoral process. They deluded themselves into believing the presidential race was stolen from Mr. Trump, and disrupting the work that members of Congress carried out could force a different result.

Of course, it’s clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the Nov. 3 general election. Numerous claims of widespread voter fraud have been thoroughly debunked. Virtually every lawsuit challenging the slate of electors approved by various states have been dismissed for lack of evidence and/or proper standing on the part of the plaintiffs.

This hasn’t stopped Mr. Trump and his allies, including U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, from perpetuating the false narrative that the election wasn’t legitimate. Congress’s formal role in certifying the votes of the electors must be altered, they argued, to ensure the correct result.

The emotions that Mr. Trump and Ms. Stefanik crassly manipulated in the two months since the election led to a showdown in Washington on Wednesday. Mr. Trump appeared before scores of his angry supporters and urged them to march on the Capitol building.

And march they did. At some point, they decided to do more than just protest. They overwhelmed police officers and stormed into the Capitol, sending legislators and staff members scurrying for cover.

One woman tragically died after being shot by an officer, and at least three other people succumbed to medical emergencies during the riot. Many other injuries ensued while objects were destroyed and offices ransacked.

Police finally regained control after several hours, and members of Congress continued their work. Despite objections raised to the slate of electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania, legislators carried out their constitutionally mandated duties and verified the victory of Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.

Mr. Trump, Ms. Stefanik and others, including U.S. Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, bear some responsibility for the egregious attack on our democratic process. They laid the foundation of untruths that their supporters soaked up day after day. In doing so, they betrayed their oaths of office and brought shame upon themselves.

This event must never happen again. Mr. Trump is in last few days of his term, and Republican leaders must begin taking stock of the train wreck he’s left them. Returning our governmental institutions to some sort of normalcy will require an honest assessment of what went wrong and how they allowed Mr. Trump to sow such discord throughout our nation.

Our democracy has always been held up as a beacon of freedom and hope for the rest of the world. What people from other countries witnessed Wednesday was incredibly unsettling. If we cannot maintain order as we transfer power from one presidential administration to another, what moral authority do we have to advise other societies on their affairs?

We must restore a greater sense of trust and cooperation with each other to move forward. Ms. Stefanik’s constituents must hold her accountable for supporting a distorted picture of this election for her own political gain.

Through different methods, they should vigorously press her on why she felt the need to align herself with Mr. Trump while he repeated blatant lies about the election. That made her complicit in his falsehoods and liable for the harm they caused.

She needs to explain what she and more than 100 other federal Republican legislators hoped to accomplish by pursuing objections that were bound to fail. They accomplished nothing but feed people’s misperceptions about the election, which led directly to the violence in Washington. Inciting an assault on our government is reprehensible, and we deserve much better leadership in Northern New York and on Capitol Hill.

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(29) comments

oldfarmer

Stefanik is supposedly a Harvard Law grad but her rationale for her objection to Biden's electors was totally illogical. It's a good thing she's not a practicing lawyer, she'd get disbarred for incompetence.

zeitgeist

No, Stefanik did not earn a law degree at Harvard. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in government.

hermit thrush

very good editorial.

Havenford

What a horrible representative Stefanik turned out to be. Here we are at a time of national crises and her twitter feed is ALL about her. She and her staff seem like the most selfish and horrible people --literally spending hours on this day yelling about the governor.

You are an office holder now, Stefanik. Your horrific posts from your staff are beyond the pale.

I cannot imagine any representative being more of an embarrassment to their district or any less useful.

minder

I could not agree more. Her time as a representative of NY-21 has been an incredible disappointment. Sadly, I expect more of the same over the next two years.

Havenford

She will continue to be a liability to the region. Do people here realize how much the region is losing without ANT pull in DC. People keep calling her the future of the GOP, but the GOP has no power in DC. None. Her "star" power benefits only her. She's in it for herself only.

KRobbins

Here we are at a time of national crises and her twitter feed is ALL about her.

Amen! Yes, her Twitter is back to making nonsense attacks on Cuomo to try to distract from everything else.

zeitgeist

New, exemplary and important thought from the editorial board. Good for the 21st district, the north country, and the nation.

Pat Luppens

General/President Eisenhower would be turning over in his grave. What ever happened the the Republican party? They were once the ballast that kept the ship of state on an even keel. Now it looks as if they want to scuttle that same ship.

Pitbull

Eisenhower? He wouldn't even recognize this country. What happened to the Republican Party? Ask the liberals who have driven the "shop of state" off the left side of the nautical road. Since Eisenhower, we kill babies legally, we let one side run rampant while the other loses free speech rights, and we pay more heed to people's sexual equipment and melanin than the content of their character.

Pitbull

Ship of state

hermit thrush

"we pay more heed to people's sexual equipment and melanin than the content of their character."

someone is in desperate need of a history lesson.

spetkovsek

Thanks for finally calling out Stefanik. She is an obviously smart person who is willingly and knowingly abetting the president in his lies and conspiracy theories. She knows these are untrue and yet uses them to further her own political career at the expense of American democracy. She needs to be held accountable because she is complicit in the coup attempt and has enabled anti-democratic and anti-American terrorists. Instead of realizing her error and apologizing, she has doubled down on the lies despite national and local calls for her to accept responsibility for her actions. I am embarrassed that she represents us in the North Country and has chosen the president and party over country and democracy.

minder

[thumbup]

Havenford

It is so clear that she has almost no care at all about the damage she has caused. At least five people -- including an officer -- would be alive right now if she and her cabal of conspiracy nuts hadn't spent months attacking everyone under the sun. Attack election workers, attack liberals, attack other GOP officials, now attacking the people in her own district who want her to listen to them.

These people have no shame. And that Alex in her office is a real piece of work. A petulant whiner spewing filth all day today. Her twitter feed is a cesspool or bitterness and hate.

alisonpower

Thank you for this editorial

heroman

Excellent commentary from the faux aristocrat owners of a dying medium.

CJ

Because I've prepaid for a 3 month subscription to this newspaper, I cannot cancel but I will not renew. If I wanted to read or hear about more "clutching of pearls" from the media about how Trump and his supporters "encouraged" this break-in, I'd subscribe to the NY Times or the Washington Post. I'm ashamed that Watertown TV channels and newspapers are repeating the rhetoric from the left, in spite of being the city and county of Fort Drum. Maybe the incoming administration will decide to relocate or eliminate Fort Drum altogether. Oh, the irony if that should happen....

KRobbins

If I wanted to read or hear about more "clutching of pearls" from the media about how Trump and his supporters "encouraged" this break-in, I'd subscribe to the NY Times or the Washington Post.

God forbid you read a reputable national newspaper. The Wall Street Journal just called on Trump to resign in an editorial, too. Also, I believe the NY Post may have. So, I guess they’re not “safe.”

I’m really trying to understand the logic of why the WDT should be filled with Trump propaganda because Ft. Drum is in Watertown. Anyway, there are plenty of sources to find people willing to lie to you. Vaya con Dios.

Holmes

“there are plenty of sources to find people willing to lie to you” you can start with the democrats and then the media.

KRobbins

“there are plenty of sources to find people willing to lie to you” you can start with the democrats and then the media.

But yet you’re the one that comes here and tells us it was an antifa false flag operation or some such. When there’s some real lie why don’t you point it out instead of just sliming the media based on nothing? You’re still grasping at straws to somehow defend Donald Trump. If you’re a lawyer maybe you should offer your services.

KRobbins

Won’t someone please hold my hand and tell me Trump really won and bears no responsibility for the sacking of the Capitol? Won’t anyone think of the true victims: Trump and His supporters?

Holmes

If the media thinks that Trump will be the last one to challenge the swamp and corruption they are foolish.

KRobbins

If the media thinks that Trump will be the last one to challenge the swamp and corruption they are foolish.

And you seem to somehow actually believe that Trump “challenged” the “swamp?” Does that even mean anything?

harrison

The ed. only told the truth. trump has been whipping his base into a frenzy since he lost on Nov. 3rd. He's made constant references for them to be ready. On the 6th he incited them to storm the capitol. He did this on live tv and it is easily checked. Him and her bear great responsibility for what happened in our capitol on Jan 6 2021.

Holmes

If anyone was 'fanning the flames' it was Biden and Harris last summer. No wonder the media approval has dropped 16 pts since 2016 to an all time low. Of course Congress is right behind to them. Here's a newsflash: if you think 75 million people are going to just submit to and 'just unify" I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale, needs work. They are not going to go away!

Baxter

Is it any surprise to most of us that Trump and Stefanik created this atmosphere based on false claims of massive voter fraud and feeding this big lie to the MAGA group. Did Trump and Stefanik not realized by creating that big lie they were subverting our Constitutional process. They are both unqualified to hold the office they have and should resign.

Holmes

“false claims” if people believe this they are either blind or ignorant.

minder

[thumbup]

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