TThis editorial board stands firmly behind the inalienable right of Americans to protest the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
However, we implore those considering marching in downtown Denver to do so peacefully. Non-violent protest is the desire of the vast majority of Trump’s supporters and is also what the president himself requested last week, following an attack on the U.S. Capitol by his followers after a rally organized by the president.
“I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” Trump said. “Now I am asking everyone who has ever believed in our agenda to be thinking of ways to ease tensions, calm tempers and help to promote peace in our country.”
Trump’s Jan. 13 address will go a long way to prevent further political violence from his supporters, and we’re as relieved by his words in this video as we were stunned and appalled by his words on Jan. 6.
We began calling for peaceful protest this summer, and we continue that call now. America has its problems and its faults and we should all strive for better, but nothing is so bad as to warrant violence. The November election was free and fair, and America’s proud tradition of seating a president elected by the people will continue with Biden’s inauguration, although it is a stain on the nation that the transition of power did not happen peacefully. The U.S. Capitol was attacked at the very moment lawmakers were attempting to count the Electoral College votes. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed.
We also implore those who believe the November election was free of widespread fraud to stay home. We can allow protesters with whom we disagree to have their say without interruption or antagonizing counter-protests. It’s time to deescalate this inferno of political anger.
There is a great deal of despair and division in America. But there should also be a great deal of hope.
Two safe and effective vaccines are gradually being administered to millions of Americans. These marvels of modern technology, funded in large part by the U.S. government, will soon slow the tragic loss of life due to COVID-19. Other vaccines are on the cusp of approval.
Republicans and Democrats worked together in Congress to pass emergency aid to further delay the worst impacts of the pandemic on our economy. There’s hope another round could become law, perhaps forestalling a crisis of unemployment, business closures, foreclosures and evictions.
Unity at this tumultuous time may be impossible, but domestic peace, health and prosperity for all are universally held goals that we can strive for together.
We openly shared our fears of a Trump presidency in November 2016. The list was long and while some of our fears came to fruition – mass deportations of our neighbors with small legal infractions, deepening racial divisions, an erosion of civic norms — some did not. Many Coloradans have fears about a Biden presidency – a crippling debt and deficit, socialization of private enterprise, an unconstitutional erosion of Second Amendment rights. We also do not wish those things for America.
The day after Trump’s inauguration we wrote: “We’ve made it no secret that we wish this day had not come. During the presidential campaign and after we have been reliable critics of the man … But we also have rejected ill-advised efforts to block his victory when rogue Democrats tried to change the Electoral College vote, and defended Trump’s right to the office … The Trump we watched on inauguration day presented himself well and spoke passionately about shoring up American values and American prosperity. We hope he is able to deliver on his promises to the people, and wish him well.”
We cannot pretend now that we were not hard on Trump. We were extremely critical of him and his administration. Biden’s political opponents should not give him a pass or take it easy on his administration. We pledge to not give Biden a pass either.
However, the political hatred that has been growing exponentially in recent decades must begin to decline. The violence that we saw on Jan. 6 must not be repeated — it must forever remain the high-water mark of anger and animosity in the United States of America.
We are not asking Coloradans to hold hands and sing Rocky Mountain High around a campfire. But we are asking everyone to focus on differences of policy and to stop disseminating false information going forward. There is no need to demonize one another as we advocate for a better world for the next generation.
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