LETTER from ANDREW D. STAMMEL
To the Editor:
Millions of Americans watched in horror as partisan domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to prevent the lawful election of Joe Biden. I join in the anger and disgust at the destruction of public property and the desecration of the hallowed citadel of democracy. I despair at the unnecessary loss of life, including brave Capitol police officers.
But I also angrily denounce the ongoing incitement by the President and allies in the Republican Party as well as their tepid or non-existent denunciations of the appalling insurrection.
Although I am a proud Democrat, I gain no satisfaction in acknowledging the obvious sickness and dysfunction in the Republican Party. We will not survive as a republic unless both major parties are able to eject the violent extremists in their midst and reject damaging conspiracy theories.
The latest conspiracy propagated by Republican elected officials who know better is the monstrous and obvious lie that the 2020 election was somehow stolen. This madness must end. The Republican election conspiracy is the latest in a growing list of fantasies that have damaged our republic. In recent years we’ve seen Obama birthers, Sandy Hook “truthers,” climate change deniers, COVID-19 minimizers, anti-vaxxers, and Q-Anon lunacy. Add this potent stew of know-nothingism to Republicans flirting with violent extremists like the neo-Nazis of Charlottesville, the white supremacist “Proud Boys”, and armed right-wing militias.
We have a toxic combination that has exploded and will continue to lead to violence until a critical mass of mature adults in the party speaks the truth.
Locally too, we see the poison of this right-wing radicalism and the flaccid Republican official response. One of my county board colleagues has for months been positioned as the mouthpiece for a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” (2AS) movement. This movement has been rejected by our county district attorney and Sheriff, the highest law enforcement officials.
Behind closed doors, my Republican colleagues will tell you they agree with the legal advice of the county attorney and understand the movement is illegal and unconstitutional nonsense. But they fail to stand up and join Democratic colleagues and speak truth to their radical base. The fantasy is allowed to continue, as this election fantasy was.
I am not anti-Republican. I was registered as one at some points in my life. They have had great moments and great people in their history, including Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, and McCain. But the party needs to be saved immediately. Democrats and independents cannot do it for them. Course corrections have happened before.
In the 1950s, the party finally came to its senses and rejected McCarthy’s witch hunt. In 1974, party elders finally approached Nixon to tell him it was over and he had to go. I know there are enough decent people left in the Republican Party. Please, Republican friends – specifically, elected Republicans, stand up and do the right thing. If you fail to do so, insurrection and domestic terrorism will happen again and the future of our democratic republic is in doubt.
ANDREW D. STAMMEL
County Representatives Town of Oneonta