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Bergman must resign

To the editor:

I join a growing consensus of voices that are calling for the resignation of our representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, Jack Bergman, for his participation in the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. A number of letters to the editor in the Gazette recently have called for his resignation, and there is a Facebook poll set up to determine how many of his constituents think he should resign. Nationally, there is emerging a widespread belief that those who voted no to certification of the votes for President Elect Biden must be held accountable. Many companies are planning to deny campaign contributions to the congresspeople who voted against certification on the grounds that they enabled the attempted coup.

Congressman Bergman denies, in his letter to his constituents and in the article of Jan. 8 on the front page of the Gazette that drew from it, that he condones the violence that occurred. Surely he must realize, though, that his signaling to the rioters beforehand that he planned to vote against certification emboldened them. This is sedition. The votes had already been certified by the states; the Electoral College had already determined that Biden won the election; the Judiciary had already determined that the election was fair and that Biden won. Over 60 judges and the Supreme Court weighed in here. The job of Congress was simply to establish that procedures had been followed. Congressman Bergman, however, has claimed that there were irregularities, though he has not yet indicated what they were. It is clear that he decided to vote no on the basis merely of allegations of irregularities perpetuated by Trump, his supporters, and conspiracy theorists. His vote was a serious over-reach of his authority. This was not supposed to be a vote about irregularities. It was supposed to be a vote about procedures being followed.

The attempted coup and the votes of its enablers can be explained as a big step in the direction of fascism. Actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, who grew up in Austria, compares the riot to Kristallnacht in 1938, the beginning of the rise to power of Adolph Hitler. Specialists on fascism say that its success is based on the power of a Big Lie–the scapegoating of Jews and other minorities in the case of Nazi Germany. The Big Lie in this case is that Trump won the election, a lie that Bergman promotes. The storming of the Capitol building is justified on the basis of the lie that the election was stolen. The equivalent of the Jews here are Democrats, i.e., liberals who were presumably responsible for the steal.

We cannot have a congressperson representing us who voted against certification, even after the riot, even after affirming that his own election was not stolen. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, our highest-ranking military officers, defend the election of Biden. Bergman, though, a retired Lieutenant General in the Marine Corps, does not, a position that seems clearly motivated by political expedience rather than principle. We cannot have a representative who does not defend the Constitution of the United States, which he has sworn under oath to uphold. He must step down.

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