Rashid: Compassion Matters, But So Does Justice

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By Qasim Rashid

January 25, 2021

In order to move forward, we must hold people accountable for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

STAFFORD-In January 2017, my then 8-year-old asked if the Muslim ban meant we had to leave? I assured him I’d never let that happen, and that we’d continue our fight for justice by leading with peace, compassion, and honesty.

Joe Biden’s inauguration speech focused on unity, reviving our economy and democracy, and combating racism and white supremacy. Wasting no time, within hours of his inauguration President Joe Biden rejoined 196 nations in the Paris Climate Accords, rejoined the World Health Organization, repealed the discriminatory Muslim ban, extended student loan and rent moratoriums, and reallocated resources from the border wall to meaningful national security projects.

The Democrats now control the House, the Senate, and the White House. Joe Biden now has an opportunity to deliver a powerful future for the middle class, and must embrace this opportunity to deliver for America’s working families. This includes raising the minimum wage nationally to at least $15/hour, as Florida already has. This includes student loan cancellation, lowering taxes on small businesses and working families, and making broadband Internet a public utility nationwide to ensure every person has meaningful access to the 21st century.

RELATED: Rocky Mount Officers Charged in Connection With Capitol Attack

Justice Matters

The Democrats and justice minded Republicans should likewise act to ensure the deadly insurrection on January 6 never happens again. As time passed, we’ve learned devastating detail after devastating detail. 

As released by the FBI, we now have clear evidence that someone(s) inside the Capitol was guiding Nazi led insurrectionists in real time about the location of members of Congress. They had instructions to “seal them in and gas them.”

We now know that Donald Trump intended to install a new attorney general who would be supportive of fabricating a claim of mass voter fraud. They planned this, even though former AG Barr and the Justice Department made clear no such evidence exists. We also know that the Trump campaign paid $2.7 million to rally goers, who then proceeded to incite and to partake in the deadly insurrection. What else will come to light during the Senate impeachment trial?

Unfortunately, everyone in a position of power involved is lying. Facebook claims no one used their platform for this sedition. Meanwhile the instructions on where to gas members of Congress were sent on Facebook. The Trump campaign claims they had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile we know they spent at least $2.7M organizing the rallies that merged into the insurrection. Senate and House Republicans are refusing accountability. Meanwhile we know some gave tours to unknown persons right before the attacks and illegally brought firearms into the Capitol.

All People Face Justice

America’s strength is in ensuring all people are treated equally under the Constitution—including the wealthy and powerful. We need justice and a full investigation to protect our national security, our democracy, and our safety. To expect unity without accountability is to be complicit in this sedition. Actions have consequences. Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and 147 members of Congress, including Rob Wittman (VA-1), perpetuated the Big Lie that the election was stolen. Each of these politicians must face accountability per the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3 which states:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Even after the deadly insurrection, 147 Republicans, including Rob Wittman, sided with the seditionists and voted to overturn the election. This unjust act further divides our nation and gives merit to the Big Lie of an allegedly stolen election. President Joe Biden can fulfill his inaugural promise of unity, justice, and combating white supremacy, by ensuring those behind our disunity, injustice, and inciting white supremacists to commit deadly sedition face accountability for their rebellion against the United States and her people.

On the day of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration, my now 12-year-old asked if I thought his 5-year-old sister could also one day be Vice President or President? Representation matters. Compassion matters. Justice matters.

Qasim Rashid is an attorney, author, and former candidate for US Congress. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.

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