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Congressional courage

Following the most harrowing day in our government’s history since the British burned the White House during the War of 1812, Congress returned immediately to work Wednesday night once the U.S. Capitol’s corridors were cleared of insurrectionists. Debating throughout the night, they did their constitutional duty and verified the electoral college results early Thursday morning.

Vice President Mike Pence, after several days of resisting Donald Trump’s demands that he had the power to single-handedly overturn the results, read the count and confirmed the presidential election for Joe Biden.

Several Republicans who had planned to oppose accepting the election results from battleground states announced, after the takeover was quelled, that they were dropping their objections.

Others, like our First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn, denounced the violence but went ahead and voted against accepting ballots from Arizona and Pennsylvania. At least, Hagedorn did not repeat Trump’s contentions that the election was rigged or fraudulent. He said his objection was based on the legality of those states changing their election laws without seeking legislative approval.

There are many questions to be asked in the next few days — how could the Capitol Police have been so ill-prepared; didn’t the FBI have any inkling of the potential violence; why weren’t National Guard troops dispatched much earlier. The biggest question being asked is whether Donald Trump should be allowed to remain in office for the next two weeks.

But the important question about the state of American democracy was answered quickly and firmly early Thursday morning by the members of Congress and Vice President Pence. It is strong, and will not be deterred by violence.

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