This week started with several local politicians announcing their candidacies for Richardson City Council or Richardson ISD Board of Trustees. It all felt so traditional, so inspiring, so...American. And then Wednesday happened. Suddenly, the America I love and remember seemed so long ago.
As the US Congress gathered to officially count the electoral votes and name Joseph R. Biden the winner of the presidential election, defeated President Trump incited his followers to reject the electoral defeat and instead to march to the US Capitol, where they stormed the building, and occupied the House and Senate chambers and many elected officials' offices throughout the Capitol. Afterwards, Trump empathized with the insurrectionists' hurt feeling over the "stolen" election and expressed his love for them. His behavior was shameful. Their insurrection was shameful. Anyone who doesn't give a full-throated condemnation of what our President has incited is also shameful.
That brings me back to our local politics.
Don't tell me that Richardson politics should be kept separate from what's happening in Washington, DC. American democracy hangs in the balance. Local democracy can't survive if our national democracy fails. So, first things first. Before I can turn my attention to zoning issues, property or school taxes, bond elections, or any of the usual school and city issues, I need to know what, if anything, all of these local candidates think about the attempted coup in Washington, DC. I want to ask them if they support the President in his attempt to overturn the election.
A person can't support democracy locally and what Trump is doing nationally. And I can't support anyone who can't state that clearly. So, to all the local candidates: do you condemn Trump fanning the flames of insurrection at the US Capitol? No dodgy, cagey, duplicitous answers allowed. Give me a straight answer. Then I might listen to the usual Richardson politics and your appeal for my vote.
Yes Mark, I condemn what happened and the language that led up to it - from the President or otherwise.
On a personal level, I was frightened for my younger sister who works in DC as a federal employee. In these situations, the protective older brother instincts kick in even from halfway across America. Thank God we live in an era with cellphones so that my family knew she was at home and safe.
Candidate for Richardson City Council, Place 4
Joseph Corcoran, thank you for your prompt and clear statement.
We are long past the time of pretending national politics do not effect local politics. Yesterday's planned coup and our president's abdication of responsibility is just one of many continuous, deleterious degradations on our democracy. We must address these issues locally instead of turning a blind eye.
We are also in the midst of a deadly pandemic and I see images of our current council maskless. I hope you and other watchdogs will hold these politicians and candidates accountable during these elections for their actions and inactions. I know I will.
Thank you Mark!
Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker posted this comment on Facebook:
"Mark, what we all witnessed yesterday was shameful. We as a country often point at others and condemn their actions. We see acts of mob rule and fights in parliaments and government bodies and say that could never happen here. Well, sadly, that high ground is no longer ours to claim.
I am reminded of the Oath of Office that I and so many others at Federal, State and Local levels have taken. It is times like these that reviewing those words is appropriate. I am sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the State of Texas. No one is above this. No party is above this and no President or Mayor is above this. A leader, as President-elect Biden stated yesterday, can at their best inspire and at their worst incite those that they represent.
President Trump’s words have shown what we all know. Words matter. And we all must take responsibility for the words we use.
It is time for cooler heads to prevail at all levels of government.
My hope is for the smooth transfer of power on January 20th and I look forward to the day we are recognized and admired by all, both foreign and domestic as the republic that stands as the stalwart of democracy."
Chris Miller asked city council members to comment. This was the response he received from Bob Dubey:
"I personally condemn the actions of those involved in the incident at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. I am thankful for law enforcement and their efforts to maintain public safety. I believe those wishing to express their 1st amendment rights need to follow the law when doing so, to keep us all safe and well. I hope this helps you understand my position and I agree with you that politics in the city of Richardson is and should remain nonpartisan."
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