New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
All six Greek American members of the House of Representatives condemned the violent invasion that occurred on Wednesday and disrupted the meeting to confirm the vote of the College of Electors. The Republicans Nicole Malliotakis and Gus Bilirakis didn’t mention who were the invaders and what motivated their actions.
New York Republican Nicole Malliotakis, had decided to cosign on the effort to challenge the process.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 or 10k or 100k illegal votes. It doesn’t matter if it’s enough to change election results. This is about rooting out fraud, holding those who commit it accountable & ensuring the integrity of our election system which is the foundation of this nation,” she had Twitted on Tuesday.
Following the invasion, she posted on her Twitter account.
My staff and I are safe and have been brought to a secure location by the Capitol Police. Everyone who is responsible for this violence and lawlessness must stop. This is absolutely unnacceptable and un-American.
A couple of hours later she posted:
Thank you to the @CapitolPolice
and all law enforcement for all they are doing to restore order at the Capitol and to keep us safe. I condemn in the strongest terms those who are participating in violence and lawlessness. They must be arrested and prosecuted!
Malliotakis was the only Greek American member of Congress who voted against the conformation of the electoral votes. In a message she explained that “I voted against certification of the two challenged states not to “overturn an election” but to highlight need for a proper hearing into unconstitutional rule changes, irregularities and alleged fraud. I swore an oath to the Constitution and REFUSED to turn a blind eye.”
Following reactions by her constituency, Nicole Malliotakis said “Democrats in Congress raised objections to every elected Republican President since 1989 but when THEY do it, it’s “Democracy at work.” Nancy Pelosi and other members objected to George W. Bush in 2005. At the time, she said: “This debate is fundamental to our democracy….The representatives of the American people in this house are standing up for three fundamental American beliefs: The right to vote is sacred; that a representative has a duty to represent his or her constituents; and that the rule of law is the hallmark of our nation.”
What Malliotakis forgot to mention was that in the examples she said, the Democratic presidential candidates has concede and congratulated their opponents. Trump who had endorsed Malliotakis, not only didn’t mentioned his opponent, but he incited the violence and announced that he will not attend the inauguration.
Florida Republican Gus Bilirakis was diagnosed with Covid-19 and he didn’t attend the Congress meetings. He posted on his Twitter account during the invasion:
My staff has been told to shelter in place for their safety, and I am watching the scene at the Capitol unfold. While I support the Constitutionally-protected right for peaceful protest, some of the images I am seeing on the news do not constitute a peaceful demonstration. (1/2)
These unruly behaviors are completely unacceptable and place law enforcement and countless individuals in harm’s way. (2/2)
Democrat Dina Titus from Nevada posted on Twitter:
As I shelter in place, lawless domestic terrorists encouraged by the President of the United States are attempting to destroy our democracy. They will not succeed.
Rep. John Sarbanes (D, MD) posted:
Today’s rhetoric from President Trump and the violent actions of his supporters struck at the heart of our democracy. I am safe. The Capitol is now secure.
My colleagues and I will continue to carry out our Constitutional duties and finish counting the Electoral College votes.
Democratic congressman Chris Pappas from New Hampshire posted:
Evacuated our office and was told by Capitol police outside to get as far away from the complex as I safely could. The atmosphere outside the Capitol is highly, highly charged, and we all know exactly why. I hope to get back as soon as I can to confirm the election results.
It’s essential the confirmation of the presidential election continues tonight. If the conspiracy theorists still object, we will overcome those objections.
Our democracy belongs to the people, and we won’t let it be hijacked by the rioters or undermined by the extremists.
I am both sad and angry that an officer has died because of the insurrection at the Capitol. I saw the courage and professionalism of the Capitol Police yesterday. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for the job they do every day to protect our democracy. https://twitter.com/cnn/status/134
Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist from Florida posted:
I am shocked at the heartbreaking, anti-American events we have witnessed in our United States Capitol today. I urge my fellow Americans to reject this false, unpatriotic, and harmful misinformation, cease the violence, and honor the will of the voters. Peaceful protest is a sacred right enshrined in our Constitution, but this is not peace, it’s insurrection.
Congress will reconvene and do the work of the people. The election will be certified.
Supreme President George G. Horiates has issued the following statement:
“Our members are proud the ancient Greeks forged the notion of democracy. The ancients believed in the right of self-governance, which is the very foundation of our great nation as adopted by our Founding Fathers.
“During our nearly 100-year history, Ahepans have witnessed many trying events and fought and sacrificed in wars to protect liberty and democratic ideals.
“The violence perpetrated by today’s rioters at the U.S. Capitol is condemnable, disgusting, and appalling to all who respect and value democratic ideals and institutions and the peaceful transfer of power that is fundamental to democracy.
“We urge law and order to be restored, the situation to be resolved peacefully, and for those responsible to be held accountable so that the election certification process and peaceful transition of power can be completed, as it must be.”
HALC Condemns the attacks on American Democracy
The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) joins the ranks of Americans of good conscience who have spoken out against the violent riots and attacks on Congress perpetrated yesterday. We are appalled that the President of the United States openly instigated yesterday’s incidents, encouraged the anger and conspiracies that led to the violence, and made only half-hearted attempts to defuse tensions and safeguard American democracy and American lives.
On September 11, 2001, the heroes of Flight 93 gave their lives and prevented Al Qaeda from flying the jet into the U.S. Capitol. That evening, the U.S. Congress – Senators and Representatives, Republicans and Democrats – stood united on the steps of the Capitol, gave voice to their resolve, and sang “God Bless America.” That those scenes of unity and resolve at this altar of American democracy were replaced with scenes of violence, anarchy and disdain for democracy make January 6, 2021 a day of infamy in American history.
Let us be clear, while we join the ranks of those condemning the attacks on American democracy, our condemnation is not limited to what we witnessed yesterday.
Over the last several years, American democracy has been threatened by conspiracy theories, normalization of behavior and ideologies that belong in the ash heap of history, and levels of complicity and cowardice that are unworthy of America.
As we learned that the woman who was shot dead yesterday was a QAnon adherent, we recall that four years ago Edgar Maddison Welch drove 360 miles from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. with three loaded guns – a 9-mm AR-15 rifle, a six-shot .38-caliber Colt revolver, and a shotgun. His target was Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, a place that Welch and others had delusively identified as central to a fictitious child abuse network.
Less than one year later, self-identified members of the alt-right, neo-Nazis and white supremacists paraded through Charlottesville, Virginia – carrying the Nazi flag, the Confederate flag, torches, and yelling racist and antisemitic chants. One of them used his car as a ram against counter protesters, killing one and injuring 35. President Trump responded by declaring that there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville.
This past October, the FBI announced the arrests of 13 suspects accused of involvement in a domestic terror plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and attempt to violently overthrow the government of Michigan. Instead of condemning these domestic terrorists and their ideology, President Trump attacked Governor Whitmer on Twitter.
And just last month, the disgraced but pardoned Michael Flynn – who has still not been held to account for being an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey – took to the airwaves to speculate about President Trump imposing martial law and invalidating November’s election. We are still waiting for President Trump to disavow these dangerous musings.
Yesterday’s outrage was the culmination of four years of appeals to the worst instincts in Americans. Once again, outrageous rhetoric was accompanied by violence. While several members of Congress finally realized the dangerousness of indulging conspiratorial movements and undermining our democratic tradition of a peaceful and orderly transition of power, we regret that 147 members of Congress – even after the trauma caused by yesterday’s attempted coup – continued to enable those that would falsely and disingenuously attack American democracy merely to cater to a portion of the electorate.
Ultimately, American democracy held. Some Republican members of Congress belatedly realized that they had to openly defy Trump, and they did. Federal judges across America demonstrated that their loyalty lies to the U.S. Constitution, not to the individual that appointed them. Republican state officials courageously faced down political threats and threats of violence to protect the integrity of one of our most sacred institutions – our elections.
Democracy, however, by the definition requires more from the people. Unity will not result merely from us willing it. We will increase our public education programs, our civic activism, and undertake more voter registration and voter protection initiatives than we ever have. We will encourage dialogue and debate, while vigorously challenging baseless conspiracy theories. We will condemn those who – like some of yesterday’s protesters – introduce neo-Nazi symbols and t-shirts with 6MWE (“6 Million [Jews] Weren’t Enough”) into American public discourse. Finally, we will hold our commitment to the rule of law front and center and will hold public figures accountable on this front.
The road back is not a short one, and it is not the responsibility of a single Administration or a single Congress. As Odysseus Elytis wrote in “The Axion Esti”: για να γυρίσει ο ήλιοςθέλειδουλειά πολλή/For the sun to turn it takes a lot of work.
We are ready for the work.