I am sorry to say this column was not accepted by my newspaper for publication this week. However, I think it is worth sharing. The target audience is very local, my county and city, but it applies to public office holders where you live too.
Ontario County Republicans office holders, you need to go on record and state loudly and clearly where you stand.
Geneva Republican City Council members Bill Pealer, Frank Gaglianese, Paul D’Amico, and John Salone, you need to go on record. State Assemblyman Jeffry Gallahan and State Senators Samra Brouk and Pamela Helming, you need to go on record. Tom Reed and Chris Jacobs, you need to go on record.
Republican judges, clerks, elected law enforcement officers, and elected members of boards and councils in Ontario County, you need to go on record.
Do you embrace and endorse the statement made by the National Republican Party that the January 6th attack on the Capitol was “legitimate political discourse?” Do you stand with that declaration by your Republican Party leaders or do you renounce it?
Every citizen of Ontario County deserves to know exactly where you stand — it needs to be published widely. Finger Lakes Times, investigating and publishing each office holder’s statement regarding this declaration is a journalistic responsibility — and not yours alone, but any and every media outlet across the country. Is a planned, armed, and violent attack on an organ of government legitimate political discourse?
If you agree with your National Republican Party, then our county courthouse and any outlet of government in Ontario County is a legitimate target for armed attack when any group organizes opposition and seeks to disrupt or stop governmental decision-making and administration. If you agree with the G.O.P. statement passed by a unanimous vote, then you welcome becoming a legitimate target of organized animus just as Vice President Pence was on January 6th.
It is time to take public office holders at their word, and to hold them responsible for their words. Either you, Republican office holders of Ontario County, agree with and embrace the normalizing of political violence or you don’t. Which is it?
This is a fish or cut bait moment in the United States. We should leave nowhere to hide for political leaders and public office holders. There are people legitimizing false narratives about the outcome of elections, condoning violence against those they disagree with, some even fomenting civil war — all of which is bringing us closer to the brink of a stark and dangerous disintegration. I do not think it is too much to ask, nor impolite to insist, that our office holders go on record about where they stand.
This is not be a Democrat and Republican issue. It is the Republicans this time because their national party, meeting in Utah, made the statement. Next time it could be the Democrats and I will demand to know where they stand.
Please, join me in this. Bring your voices to bear and insist that we should know where they stand. If you know one of these Republican office holders in Ontario County, insist that they tell you. Ask them to publish their answer. Tell the Finger Lakes Times you want to know where these office holders stand. Find some way to leverage your voice and vote as a resident of Ontario County. This is not too small a thing to ask, to insist upon, to demand. Where do you stand? Do you embrace and endorse the attack on the Capitol as “legitimate political discourse?”