The Institute for Free Speech condemns the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. These rioters sought to undermine our Constitution, a peaceful transition of power, and intimidate or even physically harm public officials. We express our sympathies to the families of those victims whose lives were lost and our well wishes for full and quick recovery to the police officers injured in the rioting. Those responsible for violence and illegal acts should be punished.
We strongly support the rights to peacefully protest and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, but peaceful protest does not include assault, forced entry, property destruction, or incitement to riot. These actions threaten our democracy and our liberties.
Elected officials take an oath that says, in part, they will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
Elected officials do not “support and defend the Constitution” or “bear allegiance” by misleading citizens about how the government operates to transfer power. They have a responsibility not to mislead about any issue and to tell the public the truth, especially about the legitimacy of the elections.
Too many elected officials have failed in those responsibilities. Too many have acted recklessly.
In the tense weeks ahead, we call on all public officials and all Americans to respect the Constitution and rule of law. Exercise your First Amendment rights to speak, publish, assemble, and petition government. But always use your rights peacefully and respectfully.