On January 6th, white supremacists stormed our nation’s Capital in a violent attempted coup aiming to destroy our democratic process and halt the historic peaceful transfer of presidential power.
As Alaskans, we believe all eligible voters have a right to have their voices heard. This is crucial for creating a more representative democracy that reflects the diverse ideas and needs of our neighbors. But Wednesday’s events and the actions leading up to them were a direct attack on democracy—an affront to the voters who turned out in record numbers in 2020, and to the officials who heroically administered a secure and lawful election in the face of unprecedented challenges.
The violence we witnessed in Washington, D.C. and locations across the U.S. was fueled by systematic efforts of President Trump and extreme media such as One America News Network and Newsmax to distort the truth about the democratic process, amplify baseless conspiracy theories through online echo chambers, and incite fear and division throughout our communities. It was also motivated by hundreds of years of white supremacy and systemic racism. White privilege was front and center as a violent mob rampaged through government buildings, putting themselves above the law and categorically denying the voices of millions of Americans.
This assault on our democracy is happening right here at home. Our own Governor supported a lawsuit to overturn the national election. Alaskan legislators who are complicit include Representative David Eastman, who was in D.C. at Trump’s rally just before the attack on the Capitol; and Representatives Sarah Vance, Ben Carpenter, George Rauscher, Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, and Senator Lora Reinbold who used their official position in office to support overturning the results of the 2020 election.
These legislators, the President, and conspiracy-promoting bloggers like Must Read Alaska have emboldened local residents to harass and threaten the Anchorage Assembly, Interim Mayor, and their families. They are sowing division and violence, as we hear of more threats in the days to come.
Alaskan leaders who supported this insurrection must be held to account. Legislators who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution in one breath, then seek to overthrow it in another breath have proven themselves unfit for duty, and unable to carry out the responsibilities of elected office. We call upon them to resign from their positions, and if they do not, we call upon the members of the Alaska House and Senate to remove these legislators from office by a two-thirds vote of the respective chambers.
We Alaskans cannot remain complacent at this moment. In addition to holding our elected leaders accountable, we must actively engage our friends, families, neighbors, and coworkers in dialogue and action to protect our democracy. The safety and dignity of current and future generations depend on it.
The Alaska Center, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i, Alaska Black Caucus, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Alaska Poor People’s Campaign, Alaska Public Interest Research Group, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Native Movement, and Enlaces.