Ed. note: This article was originally published in the AJC. Click here to view.
As Charles Dickens wrote so eloquently, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
On Wednesday, Georgia started the day recognizing the elections of the state’s first Black and the first Jewish United States senators. As active members of state Republican politics, we wish them well and hope they will seek to represent our state and country’s best ideals.
Only hours later, however, the nation was shocked and dismayed when thugs attacked the very heart of the American experiment in democracy in a shameful attempt to subvert a free and fair election.
Historian Theodore H. White once wrote: “Heroes and philosophers, brave men and vile, have since Rome and Athens tried to make the transfer of power work effectively; no people has succeeded at it better, or over a longer period of time, than the Americans.” Make no mistake: the events earlier in the week at the Capitol were acts of domestic terrorism and sedition intended to arrest the peaceful transfer of power, which is the cornerstone of a free people and government.
Our Republican Party — created on the principle of Thomas Jefferson’s vision of limited government, Abraham Lincoln’s drive to eliminate slavery, and Ronald Reagan’s big-tent philosophy — must respond to the trauma inflicted upon the nation and our democracy this week.
As fair-minded Republicans, we recognize that our friends in the Democratic Party similarly seek to build a more perfect union. We just disagree on the means.
Georgians can look to their past leaders, from Democrat Sam Nunn and Republican Johnny Isakson, who understood that successful politics is about addition and not division. Now is a time for reconciliation, a moment that demands a higher standard of leadership.
Statesmanship, not partisanship, must be the norm in these difficult times. Words may not hurt you, but they can encourage harm. Let’s not use this abyss for more threats and insults.
We must seek our better angels, not retweets. Georgia and these United States need two strong parties that lead on principles, seeking hope and opportunity, not fear and resentment.
Let us work together for a greater country, one where all Americans are truly equal under the law. Let’s fight to restore a nation in which political institutions are preserved, election results are respected, and common decency is required.
As U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, stated, “The American people are tough, our Constitutional order is strong, and we will meet this moment with strength and grace.” Following the rule of law, we will be stronger and successfully lead our state, nation, and world to much greater heights.
Edward Lindsey is a former Georgia House Majority Whip, Sam Olens is a former Georgia Attorney General and Eric Tanenblatt is former chief of staff to former Gov. Sonny Perdue. All three are now with the global law firm Dentons.