Dear Editor,

Four people are dead. Rioters and insurrectionists trampled the halls of Congress for the first time since 1814. I watched the news from our Capitol yesterday in absolute disbelief. I looked at pictures of Jake Angeli, known as the “QAnon Shaman” and a mainstay at Q Anon rallies with his horned fur hat and Q Anon cape, standing at the dais of the U.S. Senate. To say my faith in our nation is shaken is to put it lightly.

Already, I see many on social media trying to either excuse those who irrevocably damaged our nation’s integrity in the eyes of the world or trying to make up excuses of how this is a “false flag” operation of some sort. That’s pathetic. I am a Republican. I do strongly believe in the principles of law and order. However, when I see apologists come out for the behavior on the Capitol, all I can say is that we as a party failed to live up to our ideals. During the riots and protests over the summer, President Trump came out strongly against the violence. However, when the symbols of our very nation’s republic are attacked, I am saddened at his incredibly weak response.

I am proud to know Ms. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. I never thought that I would sit wondering if my representative is safe while at the Capitol because of supporters of my party acting dangerously and seditiously. I thank God she is safe but this should never have happened.

We live in a democratic republic. When our institutions do not meet our expectations, we as Americans must work, through civil acts like educating, planning, voting, and running for elected office, to improve those institutions. We are not children and are not entitled to throw violent hissy fits any time we do not get our way.

I am fairly vocal about my frustrations with the justice system that I work within. However, I respond to these frustrations by attempting to educate the public on where our system could be improved. I do not look to break the rules of the justice system when I feel it suits me. The same applies to every American when they are frustrated with their government.

History provides many lessons. One is that it is never a good sign for the strength of a nation when one’s very Capitol is pillaged.

Reuben Neff, Ottumwa, Wapello County Attorney

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