Community perspective: An open letter to Rep. Cline

A contributed perspectives piece by Charlotte Shristi

Dear Representative Ben Cline,

I am a constituent of the 6th District of Virginia, and live in Rockingham County (22802). I’ve worked internationally in the conflict transformation field in active conflict and post-conflict zones. What happened in our nation’s capital on Wednesday of last week is nothing less than an attempted coup, by Donald Trump who has openly exposed himself as a dictator by attempting to hold on to his presidential power and thwart the peaceful transition of power to the democratically elected incoming president. He is willing to sacrifice our nation’s democracy for his own personal and political goals. If these exact circumstances had played out in any other democratic nation, I ask you to consider what your reaction would have been.

Trump should be immediately removed from office and face criminal charges. Those who have aided his attempted coup should also face criminal consequences, regardless of their agenda. But considering their openly flaunted agenda of replacing our democracy with a white supremacist fascist state, it must be treated as the most dangerous terrorism that threatens our nation.

Shouldn’t the Republican party of “law and order” be leading this charge? Lawyer Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of the House and former district attorney states in Politico, “The FBI should be involved in the investigation. The highest levels of the Justice Department should be involved because of the question of the president’s apparent criminal liability.”

Lawmakers who supported the attorney general of Texas’ lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s victory in four swing states, including 126 Congressmembers who signed on, also need to be held accountable. The Senators and Representatives who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, even after the attempted coup, must be held accountable.

The 14th amendment, Section 3 of the Constitution states that no congressmember “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” And can be removed from office. The attempt by the “Sick 126” to overturn a democratically held election qualifies as insurrection and/or rebellion. You, Mr. Cline, signed onto the Texas lawsuit. You also voted last week to reject the electoral college votes of certain states, attempting to overturn our election results, the bedrock of our Democracy. You should not be allowed to serve in the next session of Congress. Please resign.

Charlotte Shristi lives in Rockingham County

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