The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was deplorable. The mob was infused by gems such as Jake Angeli, the Qanon Shaman wearing horns around his head; Richard Barnett, leader of the pro-gun rights group; Tim Gionet, a far-right activist; and Nick Ochs, founder of the Proud Boys of Hawaii. Speaking before the march to the Capitol, President Trump and his minions incited the riot. President Trump fueled the riot for weeks by feeding his base lies and far out conspiracy theories that the election was stolen and fraudulent. In fact, there is no basis whatsoever to conclude that massive vote fraud occurred, as evidenced by recounts, hand counts, and state and electoral college certifications that Joe Biden won. About 60 court cases, including two before the U.S. Supreme Court, were dismissed outright because of lack of evidence.

Trump’s former communications director Alyssa Farah said, “This runaway train that this election was stolen got wind underneath it; that was the time for me to step down…the message that the election was stolen won the day, and it’s wrong. The American people need to know that you can trust its institutions, you can trust your vote; we didn’t win because we just came up short.”

The senators and house members who perpetuated the big lie that the election was stolen also bear responsibility. Ringleaders, like Sens. Hawley and Cruz, did so to further their own political ambitions, hoping to gain the future electoral support of Trump’s base. They should resign or be expelled.

Our representative, Congressman Jeff Duncan, righteously cloaked himself in the Constitution and got on the runaway train to join Texas’ lawsuit to invalidate the votes of 20 million people in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Duncan, who sold his soul to worship at the altar of Trump, should resign for his dishonorable action to undermine American democracy. We need politicians who will put country over party and personal ambitions.

Even after the deadly insurrection, six senators and 139 house members, including Duncan, voted to overturn the will of the American people. They will forever be shamed and stained for their actions. In Sen. Romney’s remarkable speech on the morning after, he stated, “Those who choose to continue to support this dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. Fairly or not, they’ll be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy…the best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth (his emphasis followed by long and loud applause); …the truth is that President-elect Biden won the election, President Trump lost.”

The Republican party is fracturing. Former Republican Sen. and defense secretary, William Cohen, said, “It may be time for a new party, one that abides by the rule of law, abides by balanced budgets, opportunities, fiscal responsibility….” Many mainstream Republicans, like the very conservative Congressman Paul Mitchell, are leaving the party. It has been hijacked by a cult-like figure spewing nonsense that millions of people bought into, many of whom have become mean-spirited and poisoned by misinformation, half truths and fantasy conspiracy theories such as those by Qanon.

Since Nov 3, influential people warned that Trump’s, Hawley’s and Cruz’ actions were dangerous, and over the years several have warned that Trump was unfit for office. These warnings carry fresh, new weight in the light of what Trump wrought upon our nation on Jan. 6. Sadly, the insurrection and its aftermath will be the defining legacy of Trump, not the many good things that he has done over the last four years.

Sartin graduated from Greenwood High and then spent 29 years in the Air Force active duty from 1963-1992, serving in Vietnam, Iran, Germany, Norway, and many US locations.