January 6, 2021, was one of the most tragic days in American history. The Capitol, our most treasured symbol of freedom and democracy, was ransacked by mob of our own citizens, incited by a sitting president who refuses to concede his defeat.

Closer to home, groups of committed neighbors have been demonstrating in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, calling for accountability on the part of Rep. Rob Wittman. For his part, Wittman first argued that Trump had a right to avail himself of legal options. More than 50 lawsuits later, all swiftly dismissed as meritless by more than 50 judges including Trump supporters and the U.S. Supreme Court, did Wittman shift his position?

No. Rather, he joined in support of a failed “Texas folly” last-ditch attempt that too failed. But even that wasn’t really enough. Though he has justified his actions with frequent use of the “C word” (Constitution) in the wake of the January 6 catastrophe, after all that had transpired, he joined over a hundred of his colleagues in voting to disenfranchise the voters of our sister Commonwealth, Pennsylvania, of their voice in the election! Did he not listen to Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who took to the floor in the joint session to painstakingly describe the history of Pennsylvania’s bipartisan changes to its voting laws a few years back?

Though Wittman wasn’t among them, there were a few true statesmen evident on the terrible night of January 6. One was Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who challenged his Republican colleagues by saying, “What do we tell our constituents? We tell them the truth.”

By abetting the sprouting and growth of the toxic seeds that Trump planted by claiming the election was rigged or stolen, Mr. Wittman is complicit in the breakdown of trust and acceptance of a free and fair election. He is complicit in a big and dangerous lie. We either come together as a people, or we watch our country get destroyed. It’s that simple. I know Rep. Wittman, and I hold out hope that he is capable of principled leadership. It’s high time for him to prove it.

-Gerald Bunn,