Letters to the Editor

Letter: Expel Eastman

Rep. David Eastman continues to appear in national news for all the wrong reasons: He was among the most prominent names featured in a ProPublica article revealing the membership of appointed and elected officials in the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia whose leader calls for violent resistance to the Biden administration and which was heavily involved in the disturbing events in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. For one thing, this casts his presence in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 in a new light, given that more than 20 Oath Keepers have been arrested for their involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol. At the time, Eastman claimed to be shocked by the breach of Capitol security and, laughably, blamed it on “antifa”; we now know that the head of Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, was telling members to “prepare for violence,” suggesting that they bring flashlights and “legally questionable” collapsible batons, and on the day itself, personally directing Oath Keeper members to enter the Capitol.  

Even if Rep. Eastman committed no crimes on Jan. 6 — and despite his barrage of lies about this and other matters, I take him at his word that he did not enter the Capitol — his mere membership in Oath Keepers disqualifies him for public office. I state this not as a matter of ethical or moral “ought” — although it is that, too — but as a simple matter of law. The Alaska Constitution states: “No person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution.”

Rep. Eastman has stated that he considers it a “privilege” to belong to Oath Keepers; Oath Keepers is without doubt an organization that advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States; therefore, he is disqualified from office. The constitution appears to brook no leeway here. The Alaska Legislature is entrusted with making this determination, and has expelled members in the past. It is their clear and mandatory constitutional duty to expel Rep. Eastman. Citizens who wish to ensure that their representatives carry out this duty are encouraged to sign the online petition I have drafted. Let’s come together and cure ourselves of this dangerous and reprehensible man.

— Ivan Hodes

Anchorage

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