Cruz, Hawley, Brooks and Colleagues Follow the Constitution
Posted January 15, 2021
Conservatives condemn the violent actions that took place at the United States Capitol last week. Our self-government is founded upon the rule of law, and violence as a form of protest is never acceptable. Unlike most Democrats, we condemned the violent actions of rioters over the summer. We condemn the recent violence with equal vigor.
But one thing is also clear: the actions of 8 Senators and 139 House members, including Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Ted Cruz, and many others, who intended to or did debate the certification of certain states' 2020 electors is not, and never will be, tantamount to violence. The right and ability to object to electoral certification is written into the Constitution and housed in the procedural rights of those who represent us.
It is why Democrats in the House, and in one case, the Senate, rose to object to elections in 2001, 2005, and as recently as 2017. Those Democrats - which include currently sitting Reps. Clyburn, Davis, Grijalva, Hastings, Jackson-Lee, Lee, Pallone, Schakowsky, Thompson, and Waters- were not assigned motives of treason, or sedition, or violent overthrow of the government, and for good reason. Our representatives using the constitutional and procedural rights afforded to them as elected officials is not, by definition, an incitement to violence.
Our self-government exists to deliberate, debate, and resolve issues of consequence to the country. Exiling or in any way punishing those who try to use the bodies as they were intended - as national forums where voters see their concerns raised and considered in a democratic fashion - will diminish what has made our republic strong. It sets a precedent that foreshadows a dangerous disintegration of the consensus that has held us together: a respect for dissent, a vigorous but respectful airing of views, and peaceable resolution by democratic means.
Moreover, we reject opportunistic attempts by some to use last week's events as a pretext to dismiss legitimate concerns about election irregularities, and illegal and unconstitutional actions. The 2020 election was conducted in an unprecedented manner: largely by mail, and in a way that overwhelmed the capacities of many states. It is not at all unreasonable to review the manner in which votes were counted.
Indeed, if the goal is to restore faith in future elections, then a comprehensive review and analysis to determine what went wrong, what went right, and what is in need of reform should be a critical next step.
The violence committed at the Capitol was reprehensible and without defense. The overwhelming majority of protestors were peaceful, however, and did not participate in criminal activities. They are still Americans, their concerns still matter, and they cannot be wished away by legislators as inconvenient.
Our politics should be where we solve problems. It should not be a forum for violence, or for politically motivated purges. Moving forward from here will require more speech, not less; more deliberation, not demagoguery. Moves to punish or to exile will not build us up, they will only serve to marginalize, radicalize and destroy. We urge all our leaders - and all conservatives - to oppose them.