18 U.S. Code, Section 2383: Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
18 U.S. Code, Section 2384: If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
These are the current U.S. Federal laws against insurrection and seditious conspiracy.
Just over a week after the seditious Capitol insurrection, President Trump is back in his old mode, traveling for photo ops with staged crowds crowing about his achievements and now denying any role in inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 and temporarily stopped the counting of the Electoral College votes. That denial is a lie.
The allegations that the Presidential election was somehow “stolen” by the Democrats are also lies. All but one of the more than 60 lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign challenging the election results have been denied or dismissed, many by Republican judges, some by judges appointed by Trump himself. President Trump, undaunted, continued to drumbeat the false message that he won the election and planned a rally to coincide with the Electoral College vote count in Congress to perpetuate that lie. This is an egregious act of sedition committed by a would-be tyrant.
147 Republican members of Congress chose to uphold that lie and challenge Electoral College votes when Congress reconvened the night of January 6 after the riot was quelled. Of course, those numbers weren’t nearly enough to reach a majority, so the challenge was a fool’s errand. So, the vote count was certified, and Joe Biden was duly named President-Elect, after four people lost their lives, and one lay in the hospital breathing his last.
This Wednesday, President Trump was impeached for a second time, with ten Republicans joining all 222 Democrats on a single article of “incitement to insurrection.” The article of impeachment must now be sent to the Senate for a trial.
Yet, it seems some Republicans thought they could get back to business as usual on January 7. The RNC national chairwoman has been re-elected for another term. The usual suspects in the U.S. House and Senate are saying the same things they always have: “Violence is never the answer, but…” “Impeachment will divide the nation further…” and so on.
The Republican Party should, and must, immediately take real action to correct this grave violation of our Constitution. Real action is NOT:
• Merely acknowledging that Joe Biden is the elected President. This is simply stating a fact.
• Releasing a statement “abhorring violence.” This is a tired dodge and does not address the seditious acts by Republicans that incited the violence.
• Stating that Democrats “did it first” or “are just as guilty” by referring to actions after the 2016 election or 2020 racial protests. This is not a valid argument. I may not like the Democrats’ platform, but the Democrats have not fomented sedition, nor have they lied to voters about the results of the 2016 or 2020 election.
Republicans who voted to object to Electoral College votes should acknowledge publicly the seriousness and wrongness of their actions. The Republican Party must repudiate Trumpism immediately and move on with a fresh slate for 2022. The entire GOP organization must rebuild voter confidence and trust in our elections with proactive and thoughtful engagement and outreach. Thousands (at least) of American voters were convinced their votes were stolen thanks to President Trump’s false agitprop campaign. The GOP must earn back their trust.
Those of us who came of age in the 1980s, both Democrat and Republican, knew of Donald Trump as the ultimate yuppie—ready to make any business deal on the table and head to the next party. I don’t think any of us imagined that 30-some years later the same Donald Trump would reinvent himself as Head Republican in Charge (after conveniently changing his registration), attempt to upend the Constitution and ultimately incite an armed mob to storm Congress with the goal of overturning a lawful election. We all, especially Republicans, must make sure that the next would-be Trump who walks among us cannot get as close to despot-success as he did.
Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and a former officer in the U.S. Navy. She lives amicably with her Democratic husband and Republican mother north of I-40 where they run two head of dog, and two of cat. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.