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Democracy Must Hold Those Involved in Capitol Attack Accountable for Their Actions

On January 11th, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Tom Reed, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In the piece, Reed offered his opinion on the possibility of a second Trump impeachment on the grounds that the President inflamed the mob that attacked the Capital on the 6th. The conversation is a hot topic among both Democrats and Republicans. Titled “I want Trump to Face Justice. But The House Shouldn’t Impeach Him,” Reed’s article outlined the reasons he believed the second impeachment of President Trump would be harmful to the country. Arguing that the impeachment is reactionary and rushed, Reed states that it “is not the American way,” and that “a snap impeachment will undoubtedly fuel the divisions between our citizens.” Reed fails to hold president Trump and the violent insurrectionists who stormed the Capital accountable for their actions. 

Democrats and Republicans alike have agreed that the timing of the impeachment, which has since been passed by the House, was not ideal, yet Trump’s outrageous actions needed to be addressed. Regardless of the timeline of the hearing or the Senate’s willingness to convict Trump, impeachment in the House was a necessary decision to uphold democracy. While Tom Reed claimed to want to hold Trump accountable, his language implied quite the opposite. Reed claimed two main things in his piece: one, that there was not adequate time to decide whether an impeachment had legal ground, and two, that an impeachment would further stoke the flames of a divided America. Firstly, Trump’s actions and statements so clearly constituted incitement of insurrection that denying so was just a way to stall until he was out of office. But most importantly, claiming that the impeachment would only incite more violence lifts the responsibility once again from Trump and the insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol. The violence that occured at the Capitol was not the fault of members of Congress who confirmed the results of the election, it was the fault of those who carried out the violence themselves. The democratic functions of this country can not be put on hold so as not to upset an angry mob who falsely believe the election was rigged. If far right supporters decide to demonstrate their anger through violence, they must be held accountable for their actions, along with those who encourage them. 

In hindsight, we know that the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump, and that there was no significant act of violence that has directly stemmed from that decision. While the future outcome of this impeachment is unknown, I believe that even if it was only for symbolic purposes, the second impeachment of Trump was necessary to prove to our country that we hold accountable those who blatantly disregard their duties to keep the country safe. 

To read Tom Reed’s opinion piece in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/trump-impeachment-tom-reed.html 


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