‘Legitimate Political Discourse’


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To the Editor:

This week, the Republican National Committee declared that the January 6, 2021 riots at the the US Capitol constituted an act of (and I quote) “legitimate political discourse.”

Did our eyes not see the storming of the national Capitol?  

Did we not witness the clubbing and beating of Capitol Police on television on Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS?

Did our ears not hear the threats and screams to “Kill Mike Pence” as the U.S. Senate chamber was invaded by an armed mob?

Did we not shudder at the ravaging of government offices and property of both Republican and Democratic Senators alike? And, did we not witness virtually all of the Republican and Democratic Senators alike condemn the rioters’ behavior when the Senate finally reconvened that evening?

Can anyone truly believe such behavior to have been “legitimate political discourse”?

How has such distortion of truth come to pass and what can we ordinary Connecticut citizens do to bring some measure of peace to our country?

The Republican Party has a storied past in our state and nation.  And whether in or out of power it is clear that the national Republican Party has — until now — stood as a countervailing force to the Democratic Party.

Alas, no more.  

Beyond sadly, the national GOP (self-proclaimed party of ‘law and order’) issues declarations based upon intentionally-manufactured ‘alternative facts’ that equate pillage and violence with “legitimate public discourse.”  

Has the New Order arrived?

But, please, let us clearly distinguish between the vast majority of traditional fiscally-conservative Republicans and the relatively few radicals who have seized the Republican Party apparatus.   

For it is in the hands of the traditional Republican electorate and local Republican officials — repelled by the violence and mayhem of January 6th — to disassociate themselves from this path.

The largest threat to our nation, however, is indifference and silence. For silence in the face of manifest falsehood permits a minority to impose its will. And silence (if left unchecked) will ultimately lead to the destruction of our beloved nation — built on law and the peaceful redress of grievances.  

Traditional Republicans must stand firm for beliefs in conservative fiscal policy and clearly voice your opposition to policies that you feel are not in America’s best interest. But traditional Republicans must also stand firm in supporting the rule of law.

For if violence is ‘normalized’ as “legitimate political discourse,” we shall all suffer the interment of democracy as a Civil Cold-War rends the ideals of the United States beyond salvage.

Matthew Shulman
Groton, CT

Editor’s note: Shulman would like to make clear that this letter reflects his personal opinion, and not necessarily the opinion of any board or organization with which he is affiliated.