Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement ahead of the counting of electoral votes on January 6th and political gatherings in Washington D.C.
“On November 3rd a record number of Americans voted. Their votes were counted and consistent with state law, in some cases, recounted. More than 50 legal challenges were heard, adjudicated, and resolved. Election results in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were certified and duly appointed electors have met and cast their votes for president and vice president. Efforts by some members of Congress to disregard certified election results in an effort to change the election outcome or to try a make a long-term political point undermines our democracy and the rule of law and will only result in further division across our nation.
“The United States of America faces enormous challenges that not only require an orderly transition of administrations, but the focus of the incoming Biden administration and the new Congress, and cooperation across party lines. We urge Congress to fulfill its responsibility in counting the electoral votes, the Trump administration to facilitate an orderly transition for the incoming Biden administration, and all of our elected officials to devote their energies to combatting the pandemic and supporting our economic recovery.”
Appropriate context, and Mr. Donohue is right on every point. Our republic is built upon orderly transitions of power, and our nation is strong because we respect these processes. Most important to me, our elected officials on both sides of the aisle need to focus on supporting our continued economic recovery.
Then January 6 happened – and we saw attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy. I want to be sure to share my respect and appreciation to all of the law enforcement officials at the local, state, and federal level who protect our government, our elected officials, and our fellow citizens on a daily basis.
What our nation witnessed yesterday is hard to fathom. As I sat and watched the news coverage, I thought how much this felt like the day I watched the coverage of 9/11. Different events with different outcomes, yet both are days I will never forget. Like September 11, 2001, I also reflected on how blessed I am to be a resident of a Eagle County and what a privilege and honor it is to work with friends and neighbors to build our community and help us continue help drive our economic recovery and improve our business environment. I am grateful for our small town sensibilities, lack of partisanship, and roll-up-our-sleeves attitude to solving the challenges ahead of us.
In the end, almost of all of us in this country get up and go to work to forward our goals, provide for our families, and pursuit our own version of happiness. It is that dedication to daily life, no matter how mundane, that is the glue of our country and will carry us on. The events on January 6 are inherently not political; they are not partisan; and (I can’t believe this needs to be said) patriotism doesn’t reside in one political party. It’s based on action and behavior, not a baseline of fear.
When great leaders lead by example, they create a picture of what’s possible; conversely, poor leaders incite fear and wallow in the mud. Our small businesses, local communities, and the nation pay a steep price when demonstrations turn violent and destructive, so it is critical that we have peaceful transitions of power now and in the future. Be better, America. I have every confidence we will be.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com