This editorial appeared in the Press-Republican on July 28:
PLATTSBURGH — It is disheartening to see something as serious as the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 turn into a political mud fight.
The events of that dreadful day were horrifying, and to see them used as fodder for nasty and misleading political attacks is another low point we’ve reached in this nation’s politics and government.
It is also disappointing to see north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s remarks regarding the hearings aimed at getting to the bottom of the attack. Stefanik said [July 27] that essentially it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fault that the Capitol was breached by a mob that day.
Let’s not forget what we saw happen with our own eyes.
Hundreds of people, many wearing clothes in support of Donald Trump, waving Trump banners and shouting pro-Trump slogans, forced their way past police barriers. We also saw Confederate flags, QAnon symbols and other far-right paraphernalia.
Windows were broken, doors forced open and there was open battle with police officers all over the Capitol grounds. Dozens eventually made their way into the Capitol building and searched for Pelosi and other leaders of Congress. Some even chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”
It was total mayhem. Members of Congress, including Stefanik, and their staffs were rushed to safety. Those who could not make it out hid in fear for their lives.
In all, five people died and more than 140 people were injured. It is unbelievable that such an event could occur in this country in 2021. It seems plainly clear that the mob was spurred on by Trump himself who nurtured distrust in Biden’s win and held a rally right before the attack, urging his supporters to “fight like hell (or) you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Stefanik and other Republicans are now taking the stance that Pelosi is responsible because she did not take measures to add more security to the Capitol despite knowing about threats beforehand. Pelosi is not responsible for Capitol security. That’s up to the architect of the Capitol, the House and Senate sergeants at arms, and House and Senate committees.
To say that Pelosi is culpable for the riot not only is wrong, it is downright ludicrous. Had she not been ushered out of harm’s way in time, Pelosi might have been maimed or killed that day. That one rioter made his way to her office and propped his feet up on her desk is just startling.
This game of blaming the victim to serve self-interests instead of pinning responsibility on those truly involved is un-American and getting old fast. The testimony of Capitol police who fought for their lives on Jan. 6 is emotional and heart-wrenching.
This affront to our democracy deserves to be treated with so much more respect and reality than what we’ve seen so far. For the sake of our nation and our democracy, we expect better from our elected officials.
© 2021 Press-Republican