On the evening of Jan 6, after security in the U.S. Capitol had been restored, our Congressman, Mike Garcia, joined 138 other House Republicans and voted to object to the Electoral College certification. They bantered about wild conspiracy theories about fraud, and fanned EXACTLY the same misinformation that brought those protesters to the nation’s capital in the first place.
In declaring his intention to object, Rep. Garcia issued an error-riddled statement on Jan. 4, full of the exact same misinformation that brought people to storm the nation’s Capitol. He referenced shadowy bureaucrats changing election laws, in violation of Article I and Article II – issues specifically examined by the Supreme Court in October, which upheld the constitutionality of mail-in balloting in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and others, yet forced Wisconsin to tighten their rules. Rep. Garcia made vague references to fraud in six states, but provided no evidence – because there isn’t any. In fact, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the allegations made by Republicans on Jan. 6 has been debunked, and rejected by Republican, Democrat, and Trump-appointed judges. Unlike television or social media, when attorneys make claims in a court of law, they are under oath. There are serious consequences for misleading and exaggerating claims in front of an actual judge.
The vote on Jan. 6 deserves special attention. Rep. Garcia and others claimed they were simply representing the interests of “legitimate” voters, and upholding the Constitution. Rep. Garcia stated that Congress is the “final check” on the integrity of elections in each state. This should give everyone cause for concern. If these 138 House Republicans had their way, they would usurp the power to overturn any election in the country, based purely on how they felt about it. Mercifully, this gambit failed. But Pandora’s box is now open.
The protesters in the Capitol and in the Antelope Valley on Jan. 6 BELIEVE that there was widespread fraud throughout the country. Let us be clear: That is not true, but we can accept that they believe it with all sincerity.
Are Republicans repeating it now because they believe it themselves, or do they repeat it despite knowing it to be false? After watching the Senate debate following the riot on Jan. 6, it is clear that Republicans and Democrats alike rejected these conspiracy theories in the upper chamber. Do House Republicans lack the same critical thinking skills?
By repeating these allegations of fraud, some Republicans continue to give rise to the fantasy of the stolen election.
Mike Garcia represents us. He must start using use his influence as a leader to bring our community back to a common reality and shared set of facts. Like many of us veterans, he cites his allegiance to the Constitution. He must then remind us how that document allows us to respectfully and peacefully resolve our grievances through the institutions of democracy.