Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:
The Decatur Daily on a U.S. congressman from Alabama accused of inciting the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol:
On Wednesday, our nation saw events unfold that we are used to seeing in other countries — not here.
As a result of his role in causing those events and because of their deadly fallout, we are calling on the 5th District’s member of the U.S. House, Rep. Mo Brooks, to resign immediately.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered for a rally in Washington, D.C. They listened to speeches by the likes of former New York mayor and presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who called for settling the 2020 presidential election through “trial by combat,” and Rep. Brooks of Huntsville, who told the crowd, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
Within hours, those “patriots” were storming the Capitol, breaking windows, looting and forcing the elected representatives of the people of the United States to take shelter. One of the most chilling images from those events showed Capitol security, their weapons drawn, guarding the main doors to the House chamber.
It was the most serious assault on the Capitol since 1954, when Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the House chamber’s visitors balcony, injuring five congressmen, one seriously.
President Trump’s early response to the violence carried out in his name was, at best, tepid. He released a video via Twitter in which he called on his supporters to go home — but not before first repeating a litany of the baseless claims of election fraud that had brought his supporters to the nation’s capital in the first place.
The people who stormed the Capitol were not patriots. They were insurrectionists. That they were not successful in their foolish bid to keep Trump in office does not change that. Most insurrections fail.
Later Wednesday, the U.S. House and Senate resumed the people’s business of counting the certified Electoral College votes submitted by the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some senators, shaken by the day’s events, backed away from their plans to object to the electoral votes.
That did not prevent Rep. Brooks from bringing shame to Alabama and the 5th District. He used his time to weave a deranged fantasy in which “illegal alien” voters supported Biden and cost Trump the presidency. Not only did he fashion this conspiracy without a sliver of evidence, it was a completely different conspiracy from the one Trump has promoted for the past two months.
On a day when some Trump supporters, after months of Trump egging them on, sought to overturn a legal election, Brooks had nothing better to do than use his national platform to go on a bizarre, monomaniacal rant about his favorite boogeymen, “illegal aliens.”
We have had our differences with Brooks in the past, but he is, for better or worse, the duly elected congressman from Alabama’s 5th District. On Wednesday, however, he disgraced his office. He encouraged protesters to start “kicking ass,” and lo and behold they did. Ideas have consequences. He aided Trump’s illegitimate effort to stay in office. And he added yet another paranoid conspiracy to the pile.
Friday morning, after news broke that Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick had died of injuries sustained while he was trying to protect the Capitol, Brooks tweeted, “Officer Sicknick’s murderer deserves the death penalty....” What, then, Rep. Brooks, do those who incited the riot deserve?
In a Democratic-controlled Congress, under a Democratic president, Brooks’ desire to wage scorched-earth warfare against the majority party will result only in north Alabama not having an effective voice in Washington.
As Wednesday turned into Thursday, and Congress finally accepted each state’s electoral votes, Brooks rose to object to accepting the votes from Nevada. Yet because no senator would sign on, presiding officer Vice President Mike Pence dismissed Brooks’ challenge.
In the end, Brooks’ voice wasn’t heard even by other Republicans. By early Thursday morning, he was tweeting baseless claims that left-wing antifa activists were really responsible for the violence at the Capitol, despite all the video evidence to the contrary, taken by the rioters themselves.
Dothan Eagle on a U.S. congressman from Alabama whose Twitter account was suspended:
Don’t look for U.S. Rep. Barry Moore on Twitter; District 2’s new congressman’s personal account was suspended, likely because of a tweets that perpetuating the notion that the Nov. 3 presidential election was “stolen.”
His spokesperson confirmed the suspension but said Moore deleted the account “because of censorship of conservative voices he saw happening.”
Moore then took to Facebook to complain — ironically proving that being suspended from a social media platform for an apparent violation of terms of service is not a First Amendment infringement.
We remind Moore that social media companies are private businesses, and that it’s a privilege, not a right, for people to use the services.
Virtually all social media platforms have stepped up policing of misinformation and falsehood meant to inflame and incite dissent. That’s not censorship, that’s responsibility.
The Cullman Times on the violent siege on the U.S. Capitol:
What we saw at the United States Capitol on Wednesday - a mob ransacking the seat of American democracy - was shameful. It was seditious. It was anti-American in every way possible.
Those who participated, those who encouraged it, those who had the power to stop it and did not, must be held accountable. The storming of the Capitol wasn’t a peaceful protest - that had taken place earlier in the day when thousands of people exercised their lawful rights of free expression guaranteed by the First Amendment - this was mob rule attempting to take over the United States Capitol. This was terrorism.
Imagine this scene, as described by Los Angels Times reporter Sarah Wire, “On the floor, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a former combat Marine, was holding up his escape hood and explaining to other members how to use it. There were about 150 lawmakers down there, and Gallego was shouting to get their attention.”
Let us emphasize: This took place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Not in a combat zone, not in a war-torn country, but in the chamber where our elected representatives do the work of the people.
There have been suggestions that these were not people who came to hear the president talk; that they were, in fact, “outsiders” who came to take advantage of the situation.
Perhaps there was an element of that, but here’s who we know, for certain, were among the mob who invaded the Capitol: Jake Angeli, he of the painted face, flowing fur and horned hat, familiar in Arizona as a member of Q-anon; Richard Barnett, who invaded Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, is a known Trump supporter from North Arkansas; and Derrick Evans, a recently elected member of the West Virginia Legislature, who recorded - then deleted - video of himself storming the U.S. Capitol.
The one thing all these people have in common is blind loyalty to Donald Trump. It is one thing to support the president and his policies. It is quite another to go to war against fellow Americans while carrying his banner.
Five people died in this attack on the Capitol, including an Air Force veteran, Ashli Babbitt, 35, who was shot while attempting to climb through a shattered window into the Capitol. Babbitt served multiple tours in the Middle East but died trying to breach security at the United States Capitol.
Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, died Thursday of injuries he received defending the United States Capitol. Those who participated in the riot and those who incited it have blood on their hands.
It could have been worse. Police found two pipe bombs in the vicinity and a cooler of molotov cocktails. You know who uses pipe bombs? Terrorists.
There are those who will go through mental gymnastics to defend what happened Wednesday. They will say, “but what about,” or attempt to turn it into something it clearly was not.
What it was, was an attack against our democracy. Ever since George Washington voluntarily gave up the presidency in 1797, the United States has had peaceful transitions of power. What happened Wednesday was the first time in our history that the transition has resulted in violent uprisings.
As former President George W. Bush noted, this is “how elections are disputed in banana republics — not our democratic republic.”
Mick Mulvaney, former Chief of Staff for President Trump and current special envoy to North Ireland, was among the first to resign following Wednesday’s events.
“I can’t stay here, not after yesterday,” he told NBC in an interview Thursday. “You can’t look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that.”
No one should want to be a part of that. And those who were, and those who encouraged them and those who defend them should be held accountable for their actions against the United States of America, one nation under God.