In the aftermath of Wednesday’s attempted coup attempt by the sitting president of the United States, one thing is abundantly clear: There needs to be a major reckoning, and those responsible must be held accountable. We can’t function as a society if we have people among us who are so easily misled and hoodwinked.
People who believe that our elected officials are pedophiles and cannibals.
People who believe that our election was rigged.
People who believe that a man born to wealth, who has a gold toilet on his private plane, and who has never done an honest day’s work in his life, somehow is a “fighter for the average working person.”
As distasteful as it may be, we need to make sure that these people no longer have positions in our government. Or in law enforcement. Or the military. Or our public schools.
We can not have persons who believe in Qanon teaching our children. Or believers in conspiracy theories working as police officers or in the military. And it should go without saying that white supremacists should not be accepted in any line of work or industry.
A good first step would be restoring the Fairness Doctrine, abolished in 1987 by Reagan, in this country, “a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced.”
We also need to properly support and defend our media, especially local newspapers and outlets, which have been damaged by the relentless attacks from this administration and the Republican Party over the last 4 years–and longer.
Beyond that, we need to protect our institutions by insisting on reasonable standards of honesty and integrity.
Some of these actions are simple and relatively straightforward.
For example, the Michigan Republican Party should immediately remove Meshawn Maddock as their incoming state party co-chair. And the Michigan House of Representatives should immediately expel her husband, Rep. Matt Maddock from his seat in the House. The Maddocks helped organize several buses of Michiganders to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally in DC last Wednesday, and both were featured speakers at Trump’s pre-march rally, using their time to exhort the crowd to storm the Capitol Building and attempt to overturn the results of the election. There must be accountability for such irresponsible and dangerous actions.
At the national level, Senators Hawley and Cruz, who led the rebellion in the Senate just hours *after* the insurrection attempt by voting not to certify the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, should be expelled by Sen. McConnell, the leader of the GOP–thankfully only for another week or so.
For these persons not to be held accountable by these institutions would establish a dangerous and untenable precedent, and could lead to even more, and potentially better organized attempts to destabilize our government.
At the local level, as individuals who breached the Capitol are identified by law enforcement agencies, steps should be taken to remove these persons from positions in local governance, law enforcement, military, public health care, and public education. These are not “political” actions–they are eminently reasonable consequences for attempting to subvert and overthrow our government, and overturn the results of a free and fair election. By engaging in these activities these persons have forfeited their right to be employed by that government, and their agencies.
This is not the time for listening to calls from those on the right to “put this event behind us,” or pleas for “unity” and “forgiveness”.
This is the time to rid the toxicity in our system with a heavy dose of truth, honesty, and integrity.
It’s time also to take a hard look at the conditions and characters in our governance systems that have allowed these lies and conspiracy theories to fester in the body politic; to root out the demagogues and carnival barkers who have distracted too many of our friends and neighbors with shiny baubles (“huge tax cuts!!!”) and gaudy promises (“And Mexico will pay for it!!!”), while ignoring the real and pressing problems we face as a nation (Covid19, heath care, unemployment).
Just as the #MeToo movement led to a long-overdue and much needed reckoning around issues of sexual harassment and assault in our society, the most heinous internal attack on our country’s democratic institutions should result in a long overdue reckoning on who should have the privilege to serve those institutions.
Author: Mitchell RobinsonMitchell Robinson is associate professor of music education at Michigan State University. His research is focused on music education and education policy. Follow him on Facebook HERE and Twitter at @MRobmused. His own blog is at MitchellRobinson.net.
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Mitchell Robinson is associate professor of music education at Michigan State University. His research is focused on music education and education policy. Follow him on Facebook HERE and Twitter at @MRobmused. His own blog is at MitchellRobinson.net.
Barb Byrum is currently in her third term as Ingham County Clerk, serving as the county’s chief elections official. As Clerk, Barb has successfully conducted 25 elections, 4 union elections, and served on Michigan’s Election Security Commission, the Secretary of State’s team of advisors tasked with strengthening and better securing elections in the state. Follow her on Twitter at @BarbByrum.