Voices | Jan. 14-21

Image | Aubrey Hicks

The Shoutout:

Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, leaving several people dead.

Your turn:

Was President Trump largely responsible for the violence? What, if any, action should be taken against the president?

Appalled, upset by Capitol violence

Rev. Robert Collier, Sr., president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity released the following statement after the violence that unfolded in Washington, D.C., last week as lawmakers were in the process of certifying the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.

I speak now on behalf of Black clergy. Just like you, I am appalled, disappointed and upset by

what I saw going on at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Believe me, what we have seen is not a Democratic protest, but anarchy and a terrorist attack on our U.S. constitutional

values. We have a president in office right now, who has encouraged and sanctioned this kind of senseless lawlessness and he has yet to offer a sincere statement of calm. He could have

disbanded his cowardly stance and conceded the election as should have been the case, weeks ago. He needs to ask his followers to disband this demonstration and leave immediately. It is as simple as that. It is not about his ego. It’s about doing what is right and honoring the Constitution.

We as the American people have spoken and elected the president-elect Joe Biden and the vice president-elect Kamala Harris as our next leaders of this country. Every appeal that Donald Trump and his followers launched in the court system was overturned or denied. The fight is over.

The Republicans have lost the presidency and the vice presidency. It is as simple as that. I now call on all those who seek to overthrow our Democracy to stop protesting and allow for the peaceful transfer of power. Let us work together and not against each other. We are better than this insurrection and we need to have it end peacefully. Most of all, we need to protect the lives of those who have been elected by the people to serve the people as well as all of their staff members and any others who were essentially held hostage in the Capitol building.

This cannot happen again. One woman was shot and has since died. We send our condolences to her family. We pray there will be no more shootings and no more deaths. Please stop the violence and the unlawful protests. Let us show the world we are above this violence caused by our current president. Let’s replace the current hate with love. Let us replace the current lawlessness with respect for all lives. Let us join hands and make this a better country by working together in harmony. Let there be peace in the midst of the chaos. God Bless America. Amen

Wrong is wrong: Call it out every time

The nation’s eyes were drawn to the capital last week. An ardent group of Trump supporters gathered to defy Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Buoyed by the president himself, the group sought to challenge an impending congressional vote. But things took a turn for the worse. A segment of the protesting faction turned riotous, infiltrating the Capitol Building. Police  struggled to contain the masses.

The media were all over the case. Twitter teemed with reactions, culminating in President Trump receiving a permanent suspension. Politicians on both sides expressed shock and horror, calling on rioters to stand down. Democratic congresspersons vowed to charge Trump and others with sedition. They blamed the president and GOP for instigating the riots.

The reaction from Democratic politicians and personalities raised an important question. Where was this passion over the summer? Rioters set fire to federal buildings, forcefully seized public spaces, and instigated violent encounters. While many protests were peaceful, others were not. 

I remember the first wave of protests following George Floyd’s death. I could barely recognize Philadelphia. City Hall was shrouded in smoke, flames glowed in the midday sun. Small businesses were destroyed, neighborhoods lived in fear. It was impossible to buy a bottle of water; every imaginable store was boarded up from Northeast to South Philly. Across the country, dozens lost their lives, including African American police officer David Dorn. The destruction was not just “a Walmart” as some would claim.

Alas, many in media and politics bit their tongues. Democratic politicians time and again failed to criticize these brazen acts of destruction, violence, and lawlessness. Many justified the actions as raw emotion or understandable fury. Destruction was justified in the name of justice. Those who called out the rioters were wrong, racist even. A recurring mantra sounded from the left: People over property. Never mind that people died in the melee.

The problem with this rationale is its lack of moral clarity. Anybody can concoct a rationale for

violence – including Trump supporters. Make no mistake. Last week’s assault on the Capitol was heinous. But the hypocrisy of those who failed to condemn similar aggression is palpable. We cannot turn a blind eye to anarchic riots then suddenly express outrage. 

Wrong is wrong. Let’s call it out all the time.

Joshua J. Victor | Philadelphia

Capitol terrorists left shameful mark on America 

In response to the violent attack on the Capitol Building last Wednesday, Pennsylvania Human Relations Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter issued the following statement:

We are horrified by this disgraceful act of violence brought on by the angry mob that stormed the Capitol in an attempt to obstruct the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden. Rallied by unfounded conspiracy theories and lies, these domestic terrorists have left a shameful mark on America that will not be quickly forgotten.

We cannot continue to allow our country to be divided under the guise of hate and deceit for a moment longer. It is only in truth and unity that we can move forward together and heal as a nation. While we are wrought with disappointment, the PHRC continues its mission towards social justice for all Pennsylvania residents, fueled by this horrendous reminder that there is still much work to be done.

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