Local View: Its teamwork eroding, Stauber, GOP a growing threat
From the column: "There was no stolen federal election, but on Jan. 6 there was a crime against our federal government and rule of law."
Minnesotans are trained to embrace teamwork. Through our families, sports, and communities, we teach our kids to work with others to improve our play, work, and service.
Recent developments within the GOP have begun to threaten its teamwork, as illustrated by the changing profile of Rep. Pete Stauber and his relationship with the previous president.
Many Republican leaders in the state and federal government have taken a radical turn to the right, leaving many Minnesota voters wondering about the quality of teamwork in our communities, economy, and systems.
Since the twice-impeached president helped provoke a federal insurrection to stop the counting of Electoral College votes, Stauber's relationship with President Donald Trump has only seemed to grow.
In late September, Stauber flew on Air Force One with the president to a political rally in Duluth. Hundreds of people showed up for the rally without knowing the president was bringing with him COVID-19. Most at the rally were maskless. The day after the president returned to Washington, it was revealed he was infected. This didn’t seem to push Stauber to question his political teamwork. To him, it seemed, party was more important than country.
An obsession with political loyalty was then demonstrated by Stauber after Trump lost the election by 7 million votes. Without any evidence of widespread fraud, Stauber joined Republican partners in supporting a suit brought by Ken Paxton, attorney general in Texas, who sought to disqualify the wishes of federal voters in a number of states and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. This act of sedition has to haunt Stauber and his GOP colleagues.
There was no stolen federal election, but on Jan. 6 there was a crime against our federal government and rule of law. I fear this violation of American teamwork will affect voting in November 2022.
Another indicator of Rep. Stauber’s deepening political trouble was his vote on May 12 to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from the Republican federal leadership team. Her crime, as one of the most conservative members of the GOP caucus, was telling the truth. She stood up for American democracy and identified Trump as a huge threat to it and to the rule of law.
Since GOP leaders in Congress have decided to sustain their loyalty to Trump, they could not tolerate Cheney’s truth-telling. Stauber voted with his Republican colleagues to punish her for honoring her oath of office and for her commitment to our rule of law. This was another reason for citizens to be concerned about Stauber’s leadership.
These negative indicators can be added to the congressman’s inaction on climate change and our climate emergency. The earth’s climate — which supports all communities, nations, political parties, and life — is warming at an accelerating rate. We have 10 years to shrink our emissions and use our community and cultural assets to preserve life, ecosystems, and economies without destroying the future for our kids. Stauber has failed to act, even though these threats affect all air, water, land, and life resources. These threats may destroy delicate balances in every community and economy, as we risk triggering nine tipping points in our global systems.
Stauber and his GOP partners have put our systems, priorities — and teamwork — at risk. Minnesota’s kids deserve more truth and better American teamwork.
Bill Mittlefehldt of Duluth taught civics and economics for 30 years.