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HICE: Unity at the crossroads
Jody Hice
Jody Hice, a Republican from Greensboro, represents Georgia's 10th District in Congress, including eastern Newton County.

America stands at a pivotal crossroads. Many of us have felt the political tensions rising for months. We began 2020 with a baseless, divisive and ultimately unsuccessful impeachment. Before things had even begun to settle, America was hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing vast overreach by state and local governments implementing burdensome lockdowns and nonsensical mandates. Then came the George Floyd riots and the extremist “Defund the Police” movement. We ended the year with a hotly contested presidential election that tens of millions of Americans – including myself – believe was riddled with fraud and irregularities.

Jan. 6, 2021, was intended to be a day to highlight and discuss the many unanswered concerns surrounding the election by raising objections to the Electoral College certification in a Joint Session of Congress. Instead, our nation’s Capitol Building was the scene of an out-of-control and violent riot that led to the deaths of at least five individuals, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. That death toll does not include the officer who took his own life, Howard Liebengood Jr., or the dozens of officers who sustained serious injuries. My wife, Dee Dee, and I continue to pray for these brave officers and their families.

For those of us who have worked in and around the Capitol, Jan. 6 was a horrifying and deeply disturbing day. My staff and I were there. We were evacuated twice and locked down for several hours before law enforcement regained control of the Capitol complex. The situation got out of hand very quickly and it was every bit as chaotic as it seemed on television. However, things would have been much worse without the heroic actions of the U.S. Capitol Police. I have the pleasure of knowing many of these officers, and I can tell you that they are upstanding and dedicated public servants. These brave men and women stood on the frontlines for hours, being assaulted by violent rioters using lead pipes and other objects, to defend Members of Congress and our staffs. May God bless them and their families, and all Americans should honor their heroic sacrifices.

This never should have happened, and we must ensure it never happens again. We need to fully investigate who these individuals were, how they were organized, how they entered the Capitol in such large numbers, who is responsible for the explosive devices discovered, how the security perimeter collapsed so quickly, and so on. Ultimately, whoever these people are and whatever cause they claim to support, I reject and condemn both them and their actions, and I look forward to seeing them prosecuted fully.

As a Christian conservative, I have always supported law enforcement and the rule of law. For months, I have been shocked and angered by the radical Left’s rampage through our nation’s cities – looting, rioting, burning businesses, targeting police, and attacking innocent civilians, often with the support of liberal media figures and elected Democrats. I have consistently spoken out against this wildly irresponsible and dangerous behavior. I feel no differently about the events of Jan. 6 than I do about the unrest during the summer. Any sort of political violence is reprehensible and un-American. Political violence too often spawns yet more political violence, and we must never respond to it in kind. It must end now.

As shameful and tragic as Jan. 6 was, it does not change the fact that tens of millions of Americans believe the Nov. 3 general election was fraudulent. When the People lose faith in our electoral system and cease believing that they can enact change at the ballot box, we risk losing our entire Republic. The only way to fix this crisis of confidence is by exposing and correcting the flaws in our election system. That is what Jan. 6’s Electoral College certification was supposed to be about!

In the days leading up to Jan. 6, I worked with fellow conservatives like Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, and many others in creating a strong coalition of Members of Congress eager to set things straight. I was to lead the objection to Georgia’s slate of electors with Sen. Kelly Loeffler, thereby giving us two hours to highlight the many unanswered concerns in Georgia. I never anticipated my objection being agreed to by a majority of the Congress or that the outcome of the election would be reversed. This was an effort to restore confidence by shining sunlight on the allegations that must be addressed. Contrary to what many liberal partisans now claim, Democrats have made similar objections numerous times in recent years and there is nothing unlawful or seditious about our objections. Period.

Unfortunately, when I was able to make the objection after order had been restored, we lacked a Senate partner needed for full consideration as Sen. Loeffler and others had backed out after the riot. The storming of the Capitol, supposedly done in support of President Trump, completely undermined our lawful attempt to highlight the evidence of fraud being ignored by the mainstream media and the courts.

This week, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. President-elect Biden has publicly committed himself to restoring unity across the partisan divide and healing the country. I am disappointed but not surprised that Congressional Democrats have thrown that promise out the window by rushing to impeach President Trump in his final days in office. I opposed their misguided impeachment effort because I believe that we, as federal elected representatives, should concentrate on restoring calm and deescalating – not scoring cheap political points.

Going forward, there will undoubtedly be many fierce debates to come. I am deeply concerned by the toxic and extremist legislative agenda being pushed by Democrats in Washington. At the start of this note, I said America stands at a pivotal crossroads.

As Americans, we must decide whether we will preserve our way of life, keep the values and principles we hold dear, and defend the liberty we inherited from our forefathers… Or will we embrace the radical platform of Socialism and Marxism that has seeped into our politics. No matter how ferocious the debates become, we must remain peaceful and abide by the rule of law –and we must use every legal means to stop the rising tide of Socialism and Marxism. That is how we win. That is how we preserve our Republic.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, represents Georgia's 10th Congressional District.