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The Real Political Heroes of Another Dumpster Fire Year

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Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Getty

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear badges. Some wear boots. Some wear neckties. Some wear pant suits. Some even wear tennis shoes. And in these troubling times, during the darkest time of the year, we need to celebrate the real-life heroes in and around American politics. This is my list for 2021:

The year began in dramatic and tragic fashion, with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Capitol police officers proved themselves heroic, particularly Officer Eugene Goodman, who brilliantly diverted the mob away from the chamber where U.S. Senators were holed up. “In short, he tricked them,” Randolph Sturdivant of WUSA-TV put it, “willingly becoming the rabbit to their wolf pack, pulling them away from the chambers where armed officers were waiting, avoiding tragedy and saving lives. Lives which include their own.” As captured on another video, Goodman also led Sen. Mitt Romney (a hero from last year’s list) to safety. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if Goodman and his colleagues weren’t on the job that day.

Despite what some may contend, Capitol rioters weren’t there for a picnic. They were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” because, despite enormous pressure (and after consulting with former Vice President Dan Quayle), the vice president determined his oath to support and defend the Constitution superseded his loyalty to Donald Trump. It’s easy to say that Pence could not have blocked the certification of Joe Biden, even if he had wanted to—that he did not have the legal authority to refuse to certify the election (and to send it back to the states)— but we can all be grateful we didn’t have to watch that play out. “It would have been chaos,” explains ABC News chief White House correspondent Jon Karl, author of the book Betrayal. “What would [Nancy] Pelosi have done? How does it end? How do you get out of that? Eventually it wouldn’t have stood but how? The Constitution’s not going to help you at that point. He’s basically stopping the last step in the certification of an election and that step is required for Biden to become president. So what if Pence just stopped it?

Read more at The Daily Beast.

We’ve Already Come Too Far To End This Now.

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