Remember their names.
U.S. Sen Roger Marshall. U.S. Reps. Jake LaTurner, Ron Estes and Tracey Mann.
These four men’s decision to support a challenge to the Electoral College results fueled a fire that blazed into a full-blown coup attempt in our nation’s capital on Wednesday.
They knew that Joe Biden would become president anyway. Yet they put political expediency ahead of common sense. They put their own ambition ahead of their country.
Our nation has now paid the price.
We must also take a moment to mention U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. They are from different parties, yet both recognized the importance of upholding our system of government. They stood strong, and they deserve our thanks.
The immensity of what happened Wednesday can’t be understated. The Senate and House chambers were invaded by political extremists, insurrectionists who hoped to overturn our system of government and install President Trump in a second term – and perhaps beyond.
What’s more, that same president instigated their actions. He spurred them on. In the final, desperate days of his presidency, Donald Trump tried to annihilate the government of the country that once, four years ago, elected him to its highest office. History will judge him harshly, if he isn’t impeached or charged criminally first.
And after all of that, after witnessing the provocations and coup attempt, U.S. Sen Roger Marshall and U.S. Reps. Jake LaTurner, Ron Estes and Tracey Mann still decided to undermine the election. They still decided to back baseless allegations that Trump had won.
They should be ashamed.
Kansas has its own violent election history, of course. Back before the Civil War, our state featured dueling pro-slavery and anti-slavery legislatures. The “Bleeding Kansas” years paved the way for the full-scale outbreak of violence between the North and South.
Surely our differences today are less dramatic than those we fought over then. Surely Republicans and Democrats recognize the process we have made in the 150-plus years since.
Yet we can see from last week that far too many Americans are willing and eager to take up arms against their own country, to indeed battle the members of their own government. But in such times, it’s the responsibility of our leaders to lower the temperature and to be honest and forthright with their constituents.
The four Kansas men who voted against certifying the election didn’t do that. When the moment arrived to do what was right, they flinched. Remember their names.