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Unfit for office

Six years ago, I wrote a blog for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in which I maintained that Elise Stefanik was unqualified when she ran for the seat in Congress for the 21st District. I believed it then, and I believe it now. But now I’m going further, as we now have lots of info since then, and now I see she is UNFIT for office. Ms. Stefanik’s actions just this week were the final nail in the coffin.

Protests, looting and rioting have all been page 1 for a week now over the death of George Floyd by the hand (knee) of a white police officer. The video of the event was horrific and set off demonstrations across the country not seen in 50 years. First, the most powerful person in the country cowardly hid in the bunker of the White House as protesters demonstrated outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. When he realized people saw him as a coward, he felt he needed to show some strength. A plan was hatched for a photo op in Lafayette Square. He marched over with a battalion of shield-bearing riot officers and mounted police. Just in advance, Attorney General Barr has ordered protesters at Lafayette Square to be “dispersed.” Dispersed they were. Rather than peacefully move the protesters along, police stormed the area. They threw tear gas, smoke bombs and flash-bang grenades as well as physically pushing peaceful demonstrators out of the way. There is no denying the demonstrators were quiet, peaceful and were of no immediate threat. As the officers cleared the way forcefully, Trump declared he was “an ally of peaceful protesters.” Of all of Trump’s words, these had to be both the most ironic and most blatantly false.

What does our rep have to do with this? Rather than recognizing and decrying that our president just had peaceful demonstrators attacked and plowed out of the way for what is considered the cornerstone of our democracy, what did the honorable Stefanik do? She claimed this was an “incredibly important moment.” Unfortunately, she did not elaborate for us. Was it important that Trump somehow reminded protesters that the U.S. has the strongest military Earth has ever known? If so, we’ve all known that for decades. For literally hurting and physically attacking people for peacefully exercising our most sacred of constitutional rights, the First Amendment, freedom of speech — what was the endgame? To show people Trump wasn’t a coward because he hid from peaceful protesters in a bunker designed to shelter the president during either nuclear war or an outright alien attack? He chose to trample the Constitution for a photo op that, at best, incited his base but threw gas on the flames of chaos throughout the U.S. World leaders are looking at Trump’s reaction to this with an air of incredulity.

Stefanik could have gained her first nugget of respectability in almost six years by doing what the people of the 21st want her to do — protect the Constitution and stick up for what’s right. Instead, as she has all her power now concentrated completely on being a Trump apologist/supporter/enabler, she couldn’t do even the most basic of what is asked of our elected officials.

This isn’t even close to politics. Doing what Trump did was unconscionable as a leader. Period. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have even believed that a president of the United States could stoop so low, and for so many to defend his actions. This is sickening. In a perfect world — or even in a world of 15 years ago, with George W. Bush as president — this would have led to a possible resignation, or at least a cacophony of bipartisan calls against the action. Unfit to serve.

John Stack lives in Saranac Lake.

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