Jessica Morse is the Deputy Secretary for Forest Resource Management at California Natural Resources Agency. Many of us got to know her when she ran for CD04 in 2018. Prior to that Jessica ran for Congress in 2018 in California’s 4th district to bring practical solutions, integrity, and public service to California’s Sierra and Foothills communities. The campaign swung the district nearly 18 points and had a 75% voter turnout. The campaign mobilized 5,000 volunteers, raised nearly $4 million, and reached out to over 300,000 voters in person. An example of one of her ads can be viewed here: Jessica Morse – Voting
In January, she sent an open letter to Tom McClintock. We include it here.
Dear Congressman McClintock,
Today, as our nation grapples with the fallout from the first violent transfer of power in our long history, your calls for “unity” and “magnanimity” ring hollow as you voted against impeachment and therefore consequences. In the face of unchecked domestic terrorism, Trump lit the fuse, but, Congressman McClintock, you helped build the bomb.
This is not a moment for platitudes, this is a moment for action. The only words your constituents need to hear from you are: “forgive me.” You have spent years on talk radio giving legitimacy and voice to Trump’s fascism and enabling white nationalism to take root as your party’s political platform.
You should fall to your knees in front of our Constitution and beg forgiveness. And then show real repentance by shouting these truths to all who follow you: “ The election was legitimate. Trump is a false idol. We must do better.”
As a nation, we should be united in our grief, united in resolve to restore our democracy, and united in our commitment to rooting out the evil that brought our nation under siege.
Today, you stood on the House floor, with bullet holes in the sacred doors behind you, absolved the President of the culpability, and perpetuated his propaganda. You quoted Abraham Lincoln, asking us to “Bind up the nation’s wounds.” Yet you voted against impeachment, unwilling to remove the bullet from the wound you wish to bind.
Where were your calls for unity and magnanimity when Joe Biden won the election? Months before and after the election you toured talk radio and Fox News, claiming that mail-in-ballots were fraudulent and undemocratic. You have won consecutive elections where nearly 90 percent of your constituents voted by mail, yet you never declared your own victory false.
In your official capacity, as a trusted officer of the Constitution, you claimed the American election was rigged and democratic freedoms are stolen. What response did you expect from those who trusted you? Did you expect them to mobilize voters? No, they were outraged. And outrage without an outlet festers into radicalization and violence.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are a dozen registered hate groups in and around Congressional District 4.Seven out of the ten counties in our district have or recently had a Sheriff aligned with the Patriot Movement, a right-wing association of militias propagating conspiracy theories. Racism and hatred have rooted themselves in our community. As our member of Congress, you should have sought briefings about hate groups in your district from the FBI and others that track potential violence in your community. But rather than working to root out violence, you perpetuated the conspiracies and lies that became the rallying cry of domestic terrorists.
This fall, I helped organize a security simulation to anticipate post-election violence for California leaders. Having had a front-row seat to the rise of an insurgency in Iraq, I and many of my friends in the national security community had grown concerned. We pulled together mayors, state law enforcement officials, communications experts, and local law enforcement, to help identify triggers for post-election violence and seek solutions. We identified one foundational trigger for violence: widespread propaganda claiming election fraud. The simple solution: Prepare trusted local voices, from elected leaders to clergy, in communities with militias and hate groups, to speak up about the legitimacy of the election, inoculating communities against the extremist propaganda flooding their information bubbles.
As the person in our community with arguably the largest local platform to reach radicalized groups, you scoffed at your responsibility and became an enthusiastic advocate for propaganda that led to this violence.
You described the lack of security at the capital last week as the consequence of “a lack of imagination.” In reality, the attack on our capital is the consequence of a lack of courage. At every step, you have failed to speak truth to power. You embraced propaganda and lies to cement personal political gains. You gladly followed the path of least resistance to its logical and devastating conclusion.
If you are sincere in your pleas for unity, then join us in unmasking the illusion of Trump, rooting out white nationalism from our communities, and dismantling domestic terrorism and its propaganda machine that ravaged the heart of democracy. It is not imagination that you lack, it is courage.
Some may say that your vote against Impeachment today cements you on the wrong side of history. But in reality, history rarely records cowards. Your name will be filed away in the appendix of history books, your legacy a footnote to be forgotten.
How else can you help?
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