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In America today we are witnessing what failure looks like. The failure comes not from the lack of American spirit but rather from the lack of American leadership. Americans expect and deserve leadership from those officials we elect to secure our safety by taking responsibility for what happens on their watch. The unforgivable failures of today’s leaders come not only from our national leadership but also from the elected officials who represent us at the state, local and county levels. The failures of leadership in the past several years manifested themselves in three significant events: the gross mishandling of the pandemic and the fear mongering and racial hatreds stoked in 2020. The defining characteristic of conservative values has always been personal responsibility and accountability. Yet these values were cast aside in addressing the before-mentioned events. They were replaced with lies, finger pointing, scapegoating, denials and refusal to take responsibility that goes with leadership. The president was the chief propagator.

But Donald Trump did not do these things on his own. He was enabled by certain media outlets who gave him the forum to peddle his poisonous lies and also by sycophants in Congress. These sycophants pledged their obedience and loyalty to Trump, not to the Constitution, American values, the rule of law or service to American citizens. We, unfortunately, have one of these “loyalists,” Guy Reschenthaler, representing the 14th Congressional District. He made his mark as a Trump toady during the congressional hearings surrounding the Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 election year. He mimicked Trump’s demeaning and disrespectful comments toward an American war hero and lifelong public servant. I was one of the "suckers and loser" who had the privilege of serving with Robert Mueller in the Vietnam jungle in 1969. So, it was surprising that Reschenthaler, a military officer himself, would take such a disrespectful attitude toward a fellow warrior. 

Unlike the 9/11 attacks, event number three comes from within our own country. The attacks on our institutions, values and freedoms in the past several years culminated in claims of a fraudulent election. Reschenthaler's undiminished fealty to Trump and support for Trump’s un-American attacks on our free and fair elections continued beyond the presidential election. His signing on to the Texas lawsuit to invalidate Pennsylvania's election results was thrown out by the Supreme Court without a hearing because it had no merit. Strangely, had the plaintiffs been successful Reschenthaler's own reelection would have been invalidated! And now there was the political stunt to overthrow the will of the American people by not approving the electoral votes certified by the states. Reschenthaler was part of this coup attempt. He will tell you that there was reason to do so because of irregularities in the voting process. Utter nonsense. It was nothing more than a cynical ploy to promote his own political ambitions for future political office.

Ed Belfoure

Washington