President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize the outcome of the election is not only unprecedented, it is a national disgrace and a national crisis. Without evidence, Trump says we cannot trust the election. He says, in effect, that elections do not determine the country’s leadership.

Without elections, we do not have democracy; we have tyranny.

With Trump’s intransigence, President-elect Joe Biden is denied access both to sensitive briefings about national security and to funds necessary for the smooth transition of power.

Trump is violating one of the great glories and traditions of this country: over 200 years of regular, peaceful, and even gracious transfer of power following elections, in obedience to the will of the people.

The Founding Fathers of our country crafted a system of checks and balances to ensure the welfare and principles of the nation are preserved. At present, the responsibility for ensuring the checks and balances work rests with Congress and the courts — and, especially, on the shoulders of elected Republican leaders. Congressional Republicans can choose to support the president in casting doubt on the election. Or they can choose to support the rule of law, the election, and the voters. It is as simple as that.

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Republican leaders are called upon to put their country ahead of party, personal ambition, and short-term goals. In our 8th Congressional District here in Minnesota, this means Congressman Pete Stauber is on the spot.

Rarely in a lifetime in politics does the opportunity and need for patriotism stand out so clearly as it does at the present moment. Republican leaders can choose to preserve and defend the Constitution and our democracy, as patriots. Alternatively, they can choose party loyalty and subservience to a divisive and unstable would-be dictator, as traitors.

The choice is clear, Congressman Stauber.

Charles Gessert

Duluth