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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

In Our View: Rep. Vicki Kraft unfit to serve, should resign

The Columbian
Published: January 13, 2021, 6:03am

State Rep. Vicki Kraft has embraced divisive anti-American views that undermine our democracy and foster the kind of discord that resulted last week in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

The Vancouver Republican has demonstrated a disdain for democracy that should result in her resignation from the Legislature. Short of that, she should be ostracized and censured by members of her party in Olympia.

Rather than defending the pillars of American government, Kraft has chosen to believe unfounded conspiracy theories and echo the falsehoods of radicals who attempted to overthrow the federal government.

“Many of these issues have been raised and distributed on media outlets, other than mainstream media, including social media,” she wrote in an email interview with Columbian reporter Calley Hair.

Following Joe Biden’s decisive victory in the November presidential election, President Donald Trump and his supporters have persistently claimed that the election was fraudulent.

These claims have been found to be inaccurate. More important, they have routinely been rejected by the courts. To which Kraft responded: “It’s well known that most courts in our country are run by more liberal judges.”

This ignores the fact that Trump appointed many of the judges who have rejected his claims because there is no evidence to support them. Yet Kraft insists that Trump’s lawyers would not have pursued the cases if they did not have evidence.

In the process, Kraft has opted to believe what she sees on social media rather than judges who are chosen to uphold our laws. She has opted to believe assertions, presented without evidence, from a president who has delivered more than 25,000 documented lies while in office. She has opted to spread falsehoods that sully her office and violate her responsibility to constituents.

While Kraft is entitled to her opinions, she is willfully ignoring the facts. This is not only unbecoming for an elected official, it is dangerous.

The seditious rhetoric that has lingered since the election bubbled into a horrifying spectacle last week in a citadel of democracy. Five people were killed as Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol, sending lawmakers running for cover. Even more disturbing, some of the rebels sought to seize elected officials and hold extrajudicial trials.

“I do not condone violence,” Kraft wrote. “I do support the people who came out peacefully to make their voices heard.”

That does not go far enough. Our democracy is under assault, and for an elected official to declare anything less is an abdication of duty. Kraft has been complicit in an egregious lie that has cost lives.

Kraft recently was reelected to represent the 17th Legislative District in a close election. Rather than spewing falsehoods, she should ponder how she would react if her opponent’s supporters refused to accept the election results, invaded the state Capitol and engaged in violence. That is what happened in Washington, D.C., and it must be condemned in the strongest of terms.

There are not two sides to this issue. There are facts, and there are lies that have resulted in violence. Kraft has promoted those lies, undermining public faith in our elections, our judicial system and a media that pursues the truth rather than echoing propaganda.

In so doing, Vicki Kraft has demonstrated that she is unable to effectively serve her constituents and to effectively defend democracy. She should resign or face severe consequences from fellow legislators.