SHAWNEE — With temperatures in the teens, a stiff wind howling and an occasional snowflake drifting past, some two dozen advocates of the democratic principals upon which the United States was created gathered Thursday on the one-year anniversary of an attack by domestic terrorists on the U.S. Capitol to celebrate the many freedoms enjoyed by Americans.
The non-partisan rally, held at the Veterans Freedom Flag Monument on Buckeye Road in Lima, was organized by a group calling itself the Allen Hardin Election Action & Democracy group. AHEAD is a citizen advocacy group of local residents committed to non-violent action for democracy.
AHEAD team member Rochelle Twining called Thursday’s rally, held as part of a national day of action, a “non-political event to celebrate our constitution.”
Democracy came under attack when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol one year ago Thursday in an attempt to halt the certification of the electoral vote and overturn the 2020 presidential election in favor of Trump. The rally had been dubbed a “Stop the Steal” event after the president claimed a litany of election irregularities which he said directly resulted in the election of Democrat Joe Biden as president.
Thousands of supporters marched on the capitol and hundreds forcibly entered the building’s hallowed halls. Five people died either shortly before, during or following the capitol riot.
In the days and weeks leading up to the rally Trump and his allies pursued numerous legal remedies challenging the election results in several states. All those claims were rejected by state officials and the courts but the former president continues to make baseless claims about election fraud and a “stolen” election.
Bluffton University Professor Dr. Perry Bush told the crowd that the country’s founding fathers from the very beginning “saw democracy as precious, delicate, fragile and in need of constant protection.”
Calling dissent of the people “the highest form of democracy,” Bush said the founders created a social contract — the constitution — which he called “a remarkable accomplishment that has safeguarded our liberties ever since.”
Dr. Bill Angel from Ohio State University-Lima said the preamble to the constitution may contain its most crucial message. It reads: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“When it talks about posterity, it talks about our future,” Angel said. “There is an element of hope in this document.”