This week the Jamestown Gazette brings our readers a special group of messages from members of our local, state, and federal governments. These are voices of reason which, in troubled times, must rise above the voices of disorder and violence.
We begin with a timeless voice from our past, Dr. Martin Luther King whose day we celebrate of Monday, January 18.
We thank our four contributors this week—regardless of political affiliation—for their powerful agreement and commitment to civil, peaceful government for the benefit of all citizens.
A Statement from Andy Goodell
New York State Assembly
“I was appalled at the violence, force and intimidation in Washington DC that disrupted Congress.
We have the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, but we do not have the right to resort to violence, vandalism, or rioting to express our views.
Our great country is based on the rule of law, not mob rule. Our legal institutions must be respected and allowed to perform their respective responsibilities, regardless of our political views.
I did not criticize President Trump for seeking judicial review of the election in the Courts because that was his absolute right. Nor did I criticize members of Congress for voting on the qualifications of electors, which is their legal right. But I cannot in any manner support the efforts of some people to take matters into their own hands by resorting to violence.
We all have a responsibility to act in a peaceful and lawful manner.”
A Statement from Eddie Sundquist
Mayor of Jamestown, NY
“I am sickened at the insurrection at the US Capitol Building on Wednesday by domestic terrorists attempting to overturn the results of the presidential election. It must be condemned in the strongest of terms. My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones, including a Capitol Hill Police Officer murdered by the rioters. Everyone who was found to be participating in the violence and destruction must be prosecuted to the strongest extent of the law.
Unfortunately, this is what can happen when those in power continually lie to their supporters about unfounded conspiracies about the election. This was entirely avoidable had those who wanted to cynically fundraise and gain more personal power had simply told the truth and accepted the state-certified votes in the election. Those in power who fomented this heinous act by their inciting words should not escape responsibility for their actions. As a country, we must all come together to stop the growing anti-democratic extremism that is taking hold.”
A Statement from Paul “PJ” Wendel Jr.
Chautauqua County Executive
“What we saw Wednesday was not peaceful protest. When you wear military style helmets, gas masks and body protection you have an intention. We as a nation are better than this. We can never accept this behavior as a means to bring about change. Having been in the Capitol in December and walking those very streets nearest the White House and Capitol Building where history has been made, I am shocked as I never believed this could happen. Sadly our Capitol building was stormed by Americans, not invaders. The last time this building was invaded was 1814 by enemies of this great country. This cannot be condoned in any manner. Violence can never be condoned in any form. As this is posted, there will be opposition based on my political affiliation alone, but my day is always consumed by the business and focus of this county and not the national politics. In no way do I now nor will ever support this behavior WE are better than this, WE, as Americans MUST be better than this.”
A Statement from Rep. Tom Reed
“Violence such as what we are seeing at the Capitol is absolutely unacceptable. We must de-escalate the situation immediately. We are Americans and do not do this.
My heart breaks for our nation right now. Our country and its beautiful democracy is better than this. Our Constitution calls for the civil transition of power and though we may not agree with the election results, we must agree to always act with honor and civility towards all. We believe in the right to peacefully protest, but we must emphatically reject these horrible instances of physical attacks on our governing institutions and let democracy proceed.”