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By BWSTimes Editorial Board
Yesterday, January 6, 2021, the United States of America faced an undeniable terror attack; an attempted coup.
The President of the United States incited this attack with lies, inflamed rhetoric and endless intimations of violence. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford stood alongside him every step of the way.
For the first time since 1812, the United States Capitol was breached and attacked. For the first time since 9/11, congressional leaders were evacuated through underground tunnels by Capitol Police and Secret Service.
Domestic terrorists shattered windows, broke down doors, assaulted officers, disgraced our democracy – and they did upon the seditious foundation Senator Lankford laid for them by joining the baseless and treasonous effort to overturn an American election.
This scene, while startling, is not new to those familiar with the history of this nation.
In 1921, a mob of white domestic terrorists stormed Greenwood with madness and rage blazing in their eyes as they burned the most preeminent Black community in this country to the ground. One hundred years later, that same madness and rage blazed in the eyes of the seditionists who attempted to overthrow our government.
Senator James Lankford, the junior Senator from Oklahoma, was mid-sentence when the chamber was evacuated. But he, a United States Senator and a member of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission, was not a victim in yesterday’s attack – he was complicit!
Lankford was speaking on national television in an attempt to disenfranchise Black voters across the nation by trying to overturn a free and fair election.
His actions up to and in that moment sowed doubt in our democracy, supported conspiracy theories, enhanced racist dog-whistles of voter suppression and propped up the bedrock of this coup attempt.
He is complicit in this insurrection, and he must resign from both the Commission and the Senate immediately.
No hollow statement calling for peace will repair the damage done to one of the most iconic symbols of our democracy.
No explanation or attempt to justify will wash the blood of the four people killed in and around the U.S. Capitol from his hands.
No weak attempt at recanting his abhorrent stance (a recant delivered on the Senate floor with an inexplicable joke) will ever undo the irreparable harm that all but displaced us as a beacon of freedom in this world.
Nothing will ever change the fact that he put his political career over the health of the Republic.
Yesterday in America, a congresswoman called her husband to let him know where her last will and testament was in case she did not survive the day.
Yesterday in America, our Vice President and Speaker of the House were ushered to secure locations by secret service members as terrorists took the building.
Yesterday in America, elected officials barricaded themselves in their offices, texting their loved ones, ready to fight for their own survival.
Yesterday in America, supporters of the President planted explosive devices across Washington, D.C., accosted law enforcement officers and desecrated our Capitol building.
Yesterday in America, an almost exclusively white mob who believed this nation belongs to them and them alone, sought to overthrow the government; enraged to the point of insanity by the notion that an election could possibly be decided by the votes of their Black and brown countrymen.
Yesterday in America, President Trump’s actions delivered a violence upon our nation eerily reminiscent of the 1921 race massacre; a violence aided and abetted by Senator Lankford.
On July 11, 1861, ten United States senators were expelled for their treasonous support of the confederacy.
Senator James Lankford has joined the infamous likes of these individuals. He does not deserve the office he holds.
He betrayed his country, and pointedly, he betrayed Black Americans.
He must resign from the 1921 Commission.
He must resign from the U.S. Senate.
He must resign or be removed.
And it must happen immediately.