Reader's Forum

Last week The Athens NEWS wrote that many local Republican officials “. . . denounced the riots that ensued wherein pro-Trump demonstrators charged into the U.S. Capitol Building . . . .” The same article mentioned that “State Rep. Jay Edwards, in contrast, did not immediately say anything.”

In a related article in this same issue, the Athens News claims, according to Jay Edwards’ post on FaceBook, that “some of the demonstrators who took over the U.S. Capitol Building last week were affiliated with the far-left group antifa.” The very next sentence of this article reads: “The FBI said in a news briefing Friday there is no evidence that antifa . . . played any role in the storming of the Capitol.”

It strikes me as odd that a group described as “far-left” would risk invading the Capitol Building in an attempt to overturn the election results confirming a president for whom they had likely voted.

Be that as it may, Mr. Edwards says the point being missed here is the media are being hypocritically inconsistent in that the behavior of the Black Lives Matter protesters of this past summer is portrayed less harshly in the news than the behavior of the Stop-the-Steal protesters of Jan. 6.

“If you’re one of those (media) people,” says Mr. Edwards, then “get a grip.”

I agree. There IS a point being missed here: Black Lives Matter protesters are railing against the historic unjust treatment of people of color; Stop the Steal protesters are railing against the trumped up phantasm of a fraudulent election. The former events ACTUALLY HAPPEN all too often; the latter event DID NOT HAPPEN at all, and no less than a Supreme Court comprised one-third of Trump appointees agrees.

While I absolutely do not condone violence, I myself find it easier to sympathize with those who historically have suffered from indignation than with those who voluntarily suffer from delusion: Dead people voting? Didn’t happen. Boxes of illegal ballots being dragged out from under tables? Didn’t happen. Dominion voting machines recording Trump votes for Biden? Didn’t happen. Signs posted in voting booths saying votes for Rep. Edwards’ Democratic opponent will not count? Didn’t hap— ... No, wait. That last one actually happened.

Rep. Edwards, though, is not alone in his short-sightedness: While Mr. Edwards has called upon Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to join in the legal effort to overturn the presidential election in swing states, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson voted in Washington to object to the certification of Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, this at a time when major companies are pulling their donations to candidates like Edwards and Johnson who continue to dispute the presidential election.

If Edwards and Johnson still support these “steal” allegations and if indignant corporate donors were to request their corporate donations be refunded — as per the Hallmark Company — Rep. Edwards would have to return at least $8,708 to FirstEnergy (or give this corporation’s donation to charity as a number of democratic representatives did) while Rep. Johnson would have to return over $240,000 to his various contributors (dollar amount courtesy of opensecrets.org).

But to return to his point about consistency, Edwards poses these questions on his FaceBook page: “If Trump had won, do you think there would have been rioting and looting? How do you think it would have been covered in the news?” Truthfully . . .? Probably truthfully, I would hope, and I don’t recall rioting and looting in 2016 when Trump DID win the election but lost the popular vote. I’m sure his questions were posed rhetorically to illustrate his point about the media, but when considered in the context of the present milieu, Rep. Edwards’ questions appear more divisive than hypothetical.

All of which begs the question: How well do Jay Edwards’ opinions correspond to those of the 94th District (which includes the city of Athens) at large?

I would also ask the same question of U.S. Representative Bill Johnson regarding those of the 6th Congressional District.

Furthermore, do we WANT our representatives taking these precarious actions based on “allegations of allegations?” Would we want them to risk breaking our democracy on our behalves? We’re better than this.

I beg Representatives Edwards and Johnson as one of their constituents to “get a grip” themselves, embrace the inevitable reality of the current situation, and, for the sake of the common good, lead the Districts to the best of their consensus-forming abilities through these perilous times.

Editor’s note: Hager is a retired science teacher who cares about his neighbors, this country, the environment, and social justice.

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