Chairman Terry Rambler
San Carlos Apache Tribe
The violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was at best, a display of unfettered privilege. More troubling was that this terrorist attempt to take over the Capitol was the first insurrection since the Civil War.
Individually, the mob was lawless, obstructive, and dangerous. Collectively, this mob was an unchecked threat to the foundation of our nation’s democracy and an affront to all American citizens.
The belief held by so many of us — that the peaceful, democratic transition of power will happen without fail — was shattered as we watched as hordes of delusional criminals entered the Capitol grounds, broke windows, looted, assaulted police officers. One police officer died in the mob assault. The mob threatened elected officials who were attempting to do their constitutional duty and certify the 2020 Presidential Election results.
Members of Congress were ushered to safety in the midst of debating the legitimacy of Arizona’s electors. As an Arizonan, I find this not just offensive, but damaging. The mob was attacking my vote. The mob was attacking the vote of my neighbors, and record numbers of tribal members that voted.
Whether you agree with the outcome or not, those electors represent the legitimate outcome of the presidential election in Arizona. Incredibly, the mob was incited by lies issued by President Donald Trump and his enablers that the election was stolen by a vast conspiracy of Democrats, George Soros, Venezuela and even the Clinton Foundation.
It was of no consequence that over 60 courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and even former Attorney General Barr found not one shred of evidence to support the lies.
There is no question why this insurrection occurred. The sitting United States President himself has encouraged and supported the mob to rise up and fight. The lies he spews and the company he keeps has directly resulted in this attempted coup. He must not be allowed to hold that office for one day longer. President Trump must be removed and he must be removed immediately, either through the 25th Amendment or through the impeachment process. President Trump can also just resign and help save American lives.
President Trump’s currency has always been one of hate and unfounded conspiracies, a hate largely directed at People of Color. Whether Native American, of African descent, Mexican American, or Asian, we continue to be on the receiving end of double standards and imbalanced justice. Our history has been one of victims of aggression, genocide, untoward violence and de facto lynching simply because of our appearance. But we know too well that hate serves only to destroy countries. Hate does not make a country great.
America must reconcile itself if our democracy and our country is to survive. White supremacists, neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, and those surrounding themselves with the confederate flag are not patriots. They are un-American. They do not respect our laws, our courts or Constitution. While they may have found a welcoming home in President Trump’s corrupt administration, America has spoken in favor of integrity, honesty and truth.
Truth is not something that can be debated. There are not two truths—there can only be one. I appeal to leaders in Washington to stand for what’s right and to stand up for our nation.
The insurrection of January 6 shows us that we have a great amount of work to do to address racism, to address inequality, and to address the abuse of power. We can face these challenges together. But it starts with the truth.
If something like this happened on our reservation, it would play out like this. A candidate that loses the election for the chairman’s position would incite our voters to say the election was illegal as that unsuccessful candidate should’ve won. The unsuccessful candidate would spread lies and tell our voters to storm our council chambers and stop our council from certifying our election results. They would try to prevent the duly elected chairman from taking office.
The unsuccessful candidate would ask council members to not vote for the duly elected chairman and instead ask the council members to vote for the unsuccessful candidate as the chairman. This would surely take the constitutional power away from our voters and place it in the hands of our council members to start selecting the chairman’s position. This is exactly what is happening right now in America. We all have to stand up for the sacredness of our vote.
We must fight for the soul of our country. We must stand strong for our constitution and rules of laws. We owe it to our children, grandchildren, and those not yet born.
Terry Rambler is chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.