Divide and conquer or unite and prosper
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The events that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2020, will and shall live in infamy and serve as a reminder of what should never happen again. America has always been a country that welcomes passionate debate and responsible protest. What I witnessed two weeks ago was neither. In the hours following this vicious attack on our Constitutional Republic, both sides of the aisle put party aside to continue business in the People's House. Republicans and Democrats came together, just hours after the Capitol building had been desecrated by violent protestors, to send a message that tyranny of the mob will not deter our democratic process. Whether it is violence in Kenosha or Minneapolis or on Capitol Hill, our leaders must condemn all actions that undermine the rule of law and put our fellow Americans, including law enforcement officers, in danger.

Through tragedy comes greater strength and the opportunity to grow and heal as a nation. During America’s darkest moments, our ideological divides mend, and we unite around the majesty and promise of the greatest country known to man. After all, there is more that unites us than divides us. This truth is the essence of American exceptionalism — we must remember that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The 117th Congress is invigorated by a historic wave of diversity in ideology and background. Both sides of the aisle must find common ground and adopt common-sense solutions that benefit all Americans. My goal this Congress is to achieve bipartisan solutions to the most critical issues facing Floridians, such as criminal justice reform, ensuring Americans have access to capital, making sure each child has access to a world-class education, keeping our water clean, and remaining a country of, by, and for the people.

As outlined in the Constitution, our three branches of government’s leadership at times will change, but our responsibility as members of the legislative branch does not. We must remember that extremists’ actions do not define the hearts of the sane. It is disheartening to see the Democrats adopt a Stalinesque “blacklist” of duly elected GOP members of Congress based on their decision to vote based on their convictions and those of their constituents. Just as troubling, Democratic House members are seeking to adopt measures to expel or silence members like me, effectively undoing Southwest Florida voters' will. The spirit of the Jan. 6 rioters cannot continue through partisan, polarizing politics that attempt to quiet half the country's voices.

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Unity and healing in the days ahead will require steady leadership from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerRon Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-N.Y.). They must work with Republicans, not just Democrats, to put forward an inclusiveness agenda representing those in middle America, not only New York City and San Francisco. I encourage this Congress to follow the Apostle Paul's advice and put aside selfish ambitions and vain conceit. As elected officials, our legacy rests not on how we enhance our power and opulence but on the actions that better our constituents’ lives and honor our Constitution.

America is the greatest nation known to man, and I will always fight to ensure that it remains so.

Donalds represents Florida’s 19th District.