Last Wednesday, January 6th, is one that will be remembered as a near miss. Seditionist terrorists loyal to the cult leader Donald Trump descended on our nation’s capital, attacking the Capitol, in order to overturn the results of a free and fair election. At the time of publishing, five people have died. Dozens of our Congressional representatives could have been killed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage will have to be paid from federal dollars. And it could have been so, so much worse.
There is plenty of excellent reporting on the day’s events and the possible consequences for our country. We are not going to talk about those things here. That work is best done by the journalists who risked their lives on Capitol Hill that day, to cover the historic siege on American soil by Americans. Those journalists deserve all credit for the work they are doing to document the events and people who wrote things like “MURDER THE MEDIA” on doors of the Capitol building.
Instead, we point to another widely reported incident that happened last Wednesday. On her second day as a member of Congress, Mary Miller, a newly elected Representative to the House from Illinois District 15, spoke at a rally prior to the siege on the Capitol. In her prepared remarks, she invoked the brilliance and success of Adolf Hitler:
You know, if we win a few elections, we’re still going to be losing, unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing: He said, ‘Whoever has the youth, has the future.’ Our children are being propagandized.
These comments are outrageous. There is nothing that can justify her comments.
Miller somewhat begrudgingly walked back her comments on Friday. Her statement was insufficient and disingenuous; she apologized for “any harm [her] words may have caused.”
Yet Miller is causing actual harm by remaining in office. Her white supremacist worldview, coupled with her unqualified resume, have already inflicted real damage on this nation, the state of Illinois, and her constituents. She knowingly peddles in debunked conspiracies, sowing seeds of misinformation among those desperate for validation. Miller is dangerous, and has no business serving as an elected official.
Likewise, Tyler Evans, the mayor of Thomasboro, declared that he was among the seditious crowd that breached the Capitol on Wednesday. In a publicly available Facebook post, Evans refers to the day as “euphoric,” and that there was “no violence out there,” even though he admits there may have been some “bad eggs,” who were “out for somebody’s head, or whatever the case might have been.” He says this through a smirk as he stifles a chuckle, wearing a Make America Great Again hat. He goes on to say that the worst part about the siege was that there weren’t any porta potties. He shared other publicly available videos from the day on his personal Facebook page.
Evans must resign.
These are just two of Central Illinois’ elected officials. They are just two humble servants of Donald Trump, the GOP, and merchants of chaos and white supremacy. They are the low-level, seemingly dismissible whackos who pave the way and push open the door for fascists like Trump and Ted Cruz, and the Murdochs and Kochs of this world. They are the means by which the mice enter the cupboard, eating and shitting on your food and destroying your entire pantry.
In the case of disease-spreading vermin in Central Illinois, we must look no further than Rodney Davis. His years of sycophancy and complacency haven’t gnawed points of entry into our pantry — they’ve opened the cabinet door. His tepid response to Miller’s summoning of the teachings of Hitler (which is not available on his website or his Twitter page) is just the latest on a long list of disturbing and anti-American behavior. He is just as dangerous as Miller and Evans.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to go from small, local events, like the recent “protest” at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department, to a full national crisis resulting in the attempted assassination of elected officials and murder of police.
How many more white supremacists hold positions of power in East Central Illinois? Quite a few, we reckon.
As their constituents, we must demand their resignations, work to elect reasonable, rational, independent thinkers who are actually, literally pro-life and literally believe that all lives matter equally, and tell our friends and family and neighbors that this will no longer be tolerated. Their views and their hate are not welcome here. If we continue to enable these actions by failing to call for accountability, we are complicit.
Update, January 12th, 10:07 a.m.: According to reporting from DailyEasternNews.com, the Eastern Illinois University student-run newspaper, according to one of Miller's daughters, Miller is said to be "owning" her Hitler comments, and doesn't care that people are outraged and disgusted.
The Editorial Board is Jessica Hammie, Julie McClure, and Patrick Singer.