Publisher’s Perspective

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune

Like most of us, I was going about my work day last Wednesday when our country’s Capitol was suddenly under siege by pro-Trump extremists.

My first reaction was one of sadness.  Then, I was angry as I watched film of the outgoing president calling for his supporters to storm the Capitol, restating his lies about conspiracies and how “they” had stolen the election from him.

Trying to undo a fair and free election in the greatest Democratic Republic in the world borders on treason and should be condemned by all–Republicans and Democrats alike. Still, anyone paying attention to Trump’s tirades over the past few weeks should not have been surprised that he took an opportunity to whip a mob of supporters into doing his bidding and storming the Capitol.

Last Wednesday’s events weren’t just about partisan politics, although the partisan rhetoric in the past few years has escalated to the point of being hate speech and demonizing one or the other side of the political scale. No, this was about one man and some of his extreme supporters, fueled with disinformation.  Supporters who believed the false claims from the president who somehow still believes he is above our nation’s Constitution, our laws and the very basis of our democracy–our elections.

So, despite the sadness and then the anger, now I feel some hope and even a bit of optimism that America will rise from this dark place and again become the “beacon” for freedom and the country where discourse, not violence, results in the peaceful transition of governmental power.  We should be hopeful that all Americans can come together in condemning the actions of a few and reinforce the idea that our Democratic Republic will continue on, more committed than ever.  Committed to the idea that all Americans have the right to express themselves by participating in an election, and then accept the results of that election.  Both parties and candidates have to learn how to win and they have to learn how to lose.

The president’s spewing of conspiracy theories and even lies about fraud led many to believe something that simply wasn’t true.

The truth is, he lost the election and despite more than 60 court cases brought to dispute that, all were either thrown out for lack of merit or defeated because of lack of evidence.  Election officials, most of them Republicans in the states in question, stated many times over that there was no fraud and Trump’s own Homeland Security Advisor said the election was one of the safest and most fair elections ever conducted. He of course, was fired.

Former U.S Attorney General William Barr, one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet, resigned just last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son. Before resigning, Barr said there was no widespread fraud in the election, defying Trump, who at that time had made those false claims the basis of a failed legal bid to overturn the results and stay in power.

Overturning an election to stay in power is the key take away from that last statement.

All Americans will see a new president in just nine days.  Meanwhile, President Trump’s legacy of disinformation and attempts to usurp the United States Presidency are now a dark stain on the history of this country. We can do better.