Over the weekend, I read the Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (“The January 6th Report”) (Cleadon Books 2022). While the 724 pages of the commercially published version might seem daunting, each chapter is followed by several pages of end notes citing the evidence which supports the statements in the text. These end notes are important to show that the Report’s statements are not made up, and material in many of the notes is interesting in itself, the actual text of the Report is much shorter.
What emerges clearly from the Report is that the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol was not a spontaneous event. It was a calculated part of a strategy, begun before the 2020 election, to keep donald trump in power no matter how Americans voted.
The most distressing and frightening element of the Report is the number of Republicans who were committed to keeping trump in the White House despite knowing he had lost the election. I’m not talking about people like the “QAnon Shaman” who actually invaded the Capitol and battled police. I’m talking about Republicans in government, in academia, and in the private sector who would normally be thought of as “mainstream” conservatives. Many of them knew and acknowledged that the strategy to overcome the result of the lection was illegal. They pursued the strategy anyway.
While the illegal strategy to keep trump in power despite losing the 2020 election failed, barely, Republican disregard of the law has not always been unsuccessful.
In Ohio Republicans have gerrymandered our General Assembly and Congressional districts in violation of the Ohio Constitution. We had to vote last year using those illegal districts despite three decisions of the Ohio Supreme Court that the districts are illegal.
While Republicans tout themselves as the party of “law and order,” it is, in fact, the party committed to the principle that the end justifies any means, whether or not that end is desired by the people they govern. This is a relatively new approach to government and politics in America having had its first visible applications under Richard Nixon in the 1970s. It is an approach popular with world leaders as well; “strong” leaders like Stalin, Mao, Castro, Mussolini, Hitler and, currently, Vladimir Putin. It is not hyperbole to say that this is the direction many conservatives obviously wish to take our country.
There are ways to defeat the Republican movement to government by the will of the few. One is in process as you read this. Petitions are being circulated to put the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment on the ballot for Ohioans to vote on this November. A substantial majority of Ohioans believe that a woman’s decision to carry a pregnancy belongs to the woman, informed by her doctor. Ohio Republicans believe, and have legislated, that this decision belongs to the Government. The Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment will enshrine that decision as an individual right in our Ohio Constitution.
Getting the amendment onto the ballot requires hundreds of thousands of signatures by registered Ohio voters on petitions by mid-June. In Clermont County, the effort needs between 6,000 and 8,000 petition signatures. People are circulating petitions in many places. One place you can count on being able to sign the petition is at Clermont County Democratic headquarters at 174 East Main Street in Batavia. Hours listed below. Please make your voice heard in support of individual freedom. Please sign the petition.
The petition effort in Clermont County needs not only signatures but also more circulators gathering signatures. Being a circulator is not difficult. It involves standing in a public space and making it known you have the petition. It can also involve door-to-door canvassing. Circulators who have knocked on doors with petitions so far report that they are being welcomed by our fellow Clermont Countians and that it is a very effective way to gather signatures. If you have the time to be a circulator, please contact Patty Lawrence at (513) 919-4857.
Run for Office
Another way to fight our slide into autocracy is to serve in government yourself. Offices such as school board members, township trustee, township fiscal officer, and municipal council members will be on the ballot this November. These are “non-partisan” races, meaning that the candidates do not have to identify as Democrat or Republican. These offices provide the opportunity to have a major impact and do good in your community. Petitions to run for these offices are due at the Board of Elections by 4:00 p.m. on August 9, 2023. If you may be interested in making this contribution to your community, please call me at (513) 621-9603 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 As noted in previous columns, I do not use initial capital letters for trump’s name. Initial caps are a sign of respect. It is now clearer than ever that donald trump deserves only loathing, not any respect.