Democracy On The Line - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2009145

Democracy On The Line

There is no question that many hard-working Americans are experiencing significant economic pain in their lives. Notwithstanding the economic uncertainty and the anxiety it brings, these problems tend to be cyclical.

Our democracy, however, doesn’t function like the economy.

Our 250-year-old constitutional republic was predicated on the assertion that all power flows upward from the people, and not the other way around. This proud history came dangerously close to ending on January 6, 2021, predicated on the actions of the former president and a number of members of Congress who aided in these efforts, including our own, Lee Zeldin.

Before the election Mr. Trump declared that the only way he could lose was if the other side cheats. He has continued the drumbeat of a stolen election, notwithstanding the fact that he had been told by Attorney General Bill Barr, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and other high-ranking White House staff members that there was no fraud in the presidential election.

Incredibility, on January 6, the president callously suggested that the security officials inside the Capitol should stop using the metal detectors, at a time when he knew his followers were armed. Simultaneously, there was a chorus of attackers shouting, “Hang Mike Pence!” Instead of attempting to calm the crowd, he tweeted, “The vice president didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary to protect our country from a stolen election.”

Many members of Congress, after witnessing the violence of the insurgents, the death threats to the vice president and the speaker of the house, and after running to safety themselves, proceeded to vote against the certification of Joe Biden as president. One of the leaders of this illegal and cowardly act was our own congressman, Lee Zeldin.

Rest assured, as a former prosecutor, defense counsel and New York State Supreme Court judge, I have no hesitancy in stating that the vote against certification had no legal, factual or evidentiary basis. Its sole purpose was to support the president’s desire to remain in power.

Congressman Zeldin and all those who voted against certification after the horrific events of that day violated their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The American people, particularly New Yorkers, should insist that Mr. Zeldin, and all those who joined him, never serve in elected office again.

This was an insurgency born of sedition. We Americans believe that government overthrows can’t happen here. The lesson of January 6 is that it can, as efforts of the seditionists came perilously close to success.

Democracy, and its future viability, is on the ballot this November. It should be every American’s primary concern. Gas and food prices eventually come back to normal. Failed democracies do not.

Peter Mayer