Jan. 6 was the one-year anniversary of a violent insurrection. The investigation and gathering of evidence still continues and we have yet to serve justice on all those who plotted, funded, and encouraged supporters of the outgoing president to commit those lawless and treasonous acts. Former President Trump’s role in this worst domestic attack on our democracy ever was not his first, coming just days after attempting to pressure the Georgia secretary of state to overrule the will of the people and fraudulently change Georgia’s election results.

Having lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College votes needed to stay in power, Trump led a campaign of lies, attempted to fraudulently influence state certification of election results, and then incited right-wing extremists to violent acts of domestic terrorism against Congress. Those terrorists gained control of the House and Senate chambers and offices. The insurrection failed only because members of Congress were removed to safety by Capitol Police just before the Senate chamber was breached. This was not tourism or peaceful protest; 140 police officers were injured in the attack.

The duties of the House and Senate to formally acknowledge the rightfully elected Joseph Biden as president were delayed, but not prevented.

This remains a dangerous time for our democracy until the plotters, promoters, participants, and those lying to downplay the treason and terrorism we saw are brought to justice. That includes a number of sitting Republican members of the House and former president Trump.

If the reader is one of the unfortunate Republicans who fondly remember when their party was the party of Lincoln, I feel for you. If it were still true, I’d be a Republican today. But the time is long gone when the Republican Party leaders stood for “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The party that once believed in human rights and fair elections now embraces undermining election fairness, or even disregarding election results and declaring their own winners. Republican leaders now embrace racism, white supremacism, fascism, violence, and treason in the halls of Congress and in statehouses across the country. In my book, what today’s Republican leaders stand for isn’t democracy. It’s a lawless, violent, and oppressive dictatorship.

Some Republican current and former elected officials talk about Democrats as vermin and make veiled threats of assassination against other members of Congress. That’s talk straight out of the playbook of dictators and Nazi strategists, not of admirable nor free countries. We can’t continue down that path. Such talk isn’t OK, and has incited threats of violence and death upon elected officials and poll workers.

I still believe in the best intentions expressed in our founding documents, above all, that all people have the same rights, and in truth, justice, and government of, by, and for the people. In 2022, let’s all work, regardless of party, to bring justice, respect truthfulness, and restore fair and democratic elections.

Christopher Johnson of Somerville, a former state representative, is chair of the Lincoln County Democratic Committee.

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