I find myself wishing that parts of the South had won their right to recede from the Union. Good riddance! This applies when they elect people to Congress like Marjorie Taylor Green. I find it also a sad commentary on the quality of our educational system in those areas that elected her when so many show a lack of common good judgment — especially when enough voters elected the likes of Trump and Green.

I admit Trump supporters are scattered throughout the country but, thankfully thinly enough to be unable to elect very many candidates. The Republican Party has disintegrated into shambles.

The strength of a democracy depends on having a choice between two quality candidates backed by two viable parties. This no longer applies to our current Republican party. Too many of its leaders lack the guts or inclination to do what is necessary to restore the reputation of their party.

To accomplish this, they should speak with one voice and tell people like Green and Trump that they can no longer can consider themselves Republicans.

Parties should have not only the right to police themselves, but that right brings responsibility as well, which current Republicans aren’t meeting. If the Republicans neglect to oust Green, the entire congress should boot her out.

They have the power and responsibility to oust those whose pronouncements do not meet its standards, and are remiss if they don’t. This is not an infringement of free speech. No one is being gagged or arrested. It is also called freedom of association. An organization has the right to choose its members and refuse membership as well.

As a party, they have a legitimate right to say who can represent the party.

It seems to me that we have a weakness in our system related to party affiliation. Now a person can choose to run on a certain party slate. In the primary the voters decide who has a place on the final ballot for that office representing that party. The candidates supposedly chose the party the friendliest to their views.

Since third-party candidates rarely win, few on the fringes choose to run as independents or start another party like the Tea Party group did in the not-too-distant past.

Now we find ourselves stuck with a person who literally threatens harm, even death, to fellow members of Congress and public officials. Where are the voices of reason who should be speaking out against this outrage? Congress has the power to police itself and oust members who fail to meet the basic standards of good behavior. Where are those who are willing to accept this burden and act to cleanse their party and Congress of this filth?

Another issue is the punishment of persons who threaten violence against another. No one should have to live in fear and there should be severe punishment for making such threats. Furthermore, if we are to get the best people willing to run for office and serve, we need to make sure they can do so safely without worry about the safety of themselves, their families and property.

Those who recently made such threats should be found, arrested and prosecuted and jailed. To do less is to let our country down. I’ve been pleased to notice that the FBI is still tracking down those who broke into the Capitol Building and are arresting them. I hope they all get 20-year sentences.

I realize the coronavirus problem has reduced the active participation of most voters in their party’s local activities.

Let’s hope that this changes in time for the next elections. Meanwhile, let’s all speak out, and, if we have any power, use it to make sure this mess is quickly straightened out and never repeated.

It is time for voters to realize citizenship means more than going to the polls. We should all actively learn the voting process and participate in choosing candidates we can all be proud of.

Lenna Harding lived her first 20 and past 43 years in Pullman. A longtime League of Women Voters member, she served on the Gladish Community and Cultural Center board. Reach her at lj1105harding@gmail.com.

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