The acts of insurrection and sedition that unfolded in the seat of our nation’s republic are the result of a long and developing escalation of dangerous rhetoric, lies and half-truths from the Trump administration. The events that transpired in our nation’s capital should not be a surprise to anyone paying attention over the last four years, and as a (former) lifelong Republican, they will remain part of the shameful legacy of a failed presidency, a political party that abandoned its values and an electorate that obliged.

As a former Republican political staffer, I was attracted to the GOP as a young Latino from a small New Mexico community. The party represented law and order, simple family values and the party of Lincoln that brought our nation back from the brink. The party was attractive to young men and women like myself who believed in lower taxes and a strong national defense coupled with a commonsense, passionate approach to immigration; policies that worked to ensure anyone could achieve the American dream through hard work and self-determination.

As the past four years continued to unfold and the slow decline of American political and economic influence waned around the world, any semblance of leadership eroded, along with the reverence once signified by the Oval Office and the leader who occupied that office.

Despite few accomplishments touted by both administration spin doctors and the Republican Party, the legacy of both will forever be one of divisiveness and an inability to unite the nation during crisis. Charlottesville, Va., provided an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and understanding, but instead, the nation witnessed the continued propensity of the administration to engage in and defend racist rhetoric.

There also was the administration’s utter failure to uphold the ideals of the American promise through the cold and dispassionate separation and deaths of migrant children being held in inhumane and barbaric conditions on U.S. soil. He became the third U.S. president to be impeached, and we saw the deaths of more than 365,000 Americans because of a lack of action in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, rejecting science and engaging in a misinformation campaign. It was all to rally his base in a scheme to cover up the administration’s gross mishandling of the pandemic.

Then, in the final days of his presidency, came the unprecedented actions of questioning the legitimacy of a national election, even before the polls opened, and stoking the flames that ultimately led to the acts of sedition that followed — the shameful desecration of our sacred halls of government incited by the president of the United States.

As the final certification of the Electoral College neared, Republican members of Congress prepared an attempt to overturn the election, using the false and debunked accusation of mass, nationwide voter fraud. It’s worth mentioning these members were elected on the same ballots, using the same machines they were prepared to challenge and invalidate, although it’s certain their seats were not impacted by the fraud they claim permeated our national election.

The party of Lincoln has failed the nation through its unapologetic defense of the undefendable. Only now, as members of Congress were hastily evacuated through tunnels donning gas masks as MAGA supporters stormed the halls with zip ties and weapons, are Republican legislators finally breaking with their leader. For many, including myself, their unabashed support and abandonment of our national values and moral compass make these hollow statements too little, too late.

I and many others remain angry but hopeful for a revitalization of our national soul under President-elect Joe Biden.

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 — a day of national disgrace and heartbreak.

Mario Sanchez, who was born and raised in Belen and now resides in Silver City, was a 2019 New Mexico Forty Under 40 and graduate of Leadership New Mexico Connect.

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