FROM THE PUBLISHER: It's up to Congress to do better

It was depressingly sad to watch the scenes in the Capitol last week as destructive rioters took over the historic building, furious at the outcome of the presidential election.

I have been in the Capitol, as have many Alaskans - for meetings and on tours - and have enjoyed the annual Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts on the Capitol lawn. I have stood and watched orderly protests, and felt good that the building is so accessible to the public. The Capitol is a monument to laws, not lawlessness. It should be a source of pride, not anger.

Sadly, that changed on Jan. 6. The world changed for five families who lost loved ones in the melee. The safety for members of Congress changed as they ran for cover.

Now the job for Americans is to ensure it is a temporary change.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave office on Jan. 20. What he does and what happens to him should not determine the future of the United States. The test will be whether Democrats and Republicans in Congress can remember why they are there: To improve the lives of people, not promote their own reelections.

Political partisanship, grandstanding and irresponsible accusations have dominated Congress in recent years, fueled by egos, elections and the ease at which anyone can post most anything regardless of accuracy on social media. But there is hope.

Less than 48 hours after the Capitol was cleared, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski started the discussion. She held a phone meeting with "a bipartisan group of colleagues that are really concerned about where we are, and how we move forward," she said in a Jan. 8 interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

"I think I am including myself as part of a group of members that wants to work to try to bring things together in the Senate and wants to try to get some business done," she said. "This is going to be a (Biden) administration where I'm going to be disagreeing with where they're taking us on a lot of issues and policy, but I would like to think that we're never going to question their fidelity to the oath of office," said Murkowski, who is starting her 19th year in the U.S. Senate.

The Alaskan was the first senator in her party to question Trump's fidelity to the oath of office so much that she called for him last week to resign. "I want him out. He has caused enough damage," Murkowski said in that same interview.

Working together to repair the damage of last week - and all the damage of recent years - is the job of 535 senators and House members, especially those who still support Trump and dislike President-elect Joe Biden. There is too much that needs to be done to help rescue Americans from the economic damage of the pandemic. There are too many global issues that need attention, starting with Russian hacking of U.S. government agency computers.

There was too much animosity in the Capitol, even before the protestors stormed the building. Members of Congress need to learn how to govern and compromise without name calling and without throwing more mud than you could knock off a Wrangell boot in the fall.

It's good to hear Murkowski speak up. Her colleagues need to join her.


Reader Comments(1)

Guadalupe Rogers writes:

Lisa Murkowski is starting her 19th year in the Senate. Sen. Murkowski no longer represents the Republicans and has become an embarrassment to our country.

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