The insurrection at our nation’s Capitol Wednesday was no sudden event or senseless action. 

If we examine the riot for even a moment, we know exactly how it came about: it was a violent uprising fueled and fanned by the words and decisions of our elected officials, including our district’s Rep. Tom Cole and the other four Oklahoma representatives. 

Despite the hours of lockdown they had just been through as insurrectionists broke into the Capitol and wandered its halls, Cole, Stephanie Bice, Frank Lucas, Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin all decided to object to certifying the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona Wednesday night.

Sen. James Lankford narrowly spared himself from being part of this group by deciding not to object to Wednesday’s certification, but is still responsible for spreading the rhetoric that these rioters clung to. 

Sen. Jim Inhofe is the only Oklahoma congressperson who does not bear responsibility in this particular incident, as he rightly noted that he would not be doing his constitutional duty should he object to the results.

While Cole is the only representative who we can directly hold accountable as members of his district, we know that all Oklahoma’s congresspeople represent the image of our state on a national level. 

What they showed the nation Wednesday night is that Oklahoma is a state more committed to conspiracy than fact, more interested in justifying violence than supporting a peaceful transition. Our election was run safely, fairly and accurately; our elected officials know this, and decided to ignore it.

Our 4th District representative should be ashamed that he chose to give credence to baseless concerns and conspiracies regarding Joe Biden’s wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The fact that Cole initially decided to object in itself is shameful enough, but the fact that he clung to his objection after the attack on the Capitol is indefensible. Cole claims that he was representing the will of his constituents, but what he actually did was elevate lies that he had the opportunity to quash.

By voting as he did, Cole tacitly gave his approval to Wednesday’s violence, indicating that the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol were defending a just cause. They weren’t.

The Norman Transcript Editorial Board includes Publisher Mark Millsap, Editor Rob Collins and guest members Brandi Coyner, Keith Gaddie, Kathy Haney, Karlos Hill, Marc Nuttle and Michael Ridgeway. For comments or questions, please email editor@normantranscript.com.

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