Senator Troy Heinert: Words Matter

MISSION, SD (January 8th, 2021) –Hau Mitakuyepi, (Hello Relatives)

Words matter.  Fellow Americans and the rest of the world watched as President Trump called for the large group of his supporters to “walk to the capitol” after implanting the thoughts of “You will never take back our country with weakness. We will never give up. We will never concede. We will not take it anymore.” Earlier in the day his oldest son, Don Jr., challenged sitting members of Congress that wouldn’t support his father by stating “We’re coming for you!”  This wasn’t campaign rhetoric, these were threats, challenges, and ultimatums and they knew exactly what they were doing.  They wanted insurrection.  They wanted people to do their dirty work, and the people did.

Words matter.  The events of January 6, 2021 were not a spontaneous act of oppressed people and it did not happen in a vacuum.  For months, if not years, this President and his surrogates have been conditioning and grooming his supporters for this day.  The seeds of distrust were planted by design and watered daily by prominent individuals in news outlets and especially on social media.  We have seen elected officials latch on to conspiracy theories in hopes of gaining favor with the President.  They have repeated false claims of “fake news” and the formation of a “deep state” to the delight of Mr. Trump.  These words and actions have infiltrated the psyche of many people and the riot at our Capitol was a direct result of that indoctrination.

Words matter.  Support for a political candidate is nothing new and is an important part of the election process.  We are not immune to these actions in South Dakota.  Our Governor and many sitting legislators have shown unwavering support for this President by repeating, in their official capacity, many of these false claims.  What is new, is the vilification of opposing candidates or parties and the lack of acceptance of election results using false data.  Also, our Congressional delegation has also been complicit with their silence.  These actions contribute to the level of discourse that led to the riots and desecration of The Peoples House.  I fully realize that I could also be complicit by not speaking out against this trend sooner and chalking it up to “politics.”  What happened in Washington is far from “politics.”  What we saw was domestic terrorism against elected officials, staff, and employees of the Capitol who were trying to fulfill their Constitutional Duty to certify a free and fair election.  We should all be appalled at seeing a Confederate flag being carried though those hallowed halls for the first time in America’s history. These actions constitute the definition of sedition and border on treason for some individuals.

Words matter.  Peaceful protest consistent with the First Amendment has long been used to bring to light causes, actions, or people that have been marginalized or oppressed.  That was not the case on January 6th.   The President and his legal team has had numerous opportunities to prove that the election was rigged or stolen and they couldn’t.  Over sixty lawsuits alleging voter fraud have failed.  Judges, including those appointed by Mr. Trump have reviewed the evidence and have refused to hear or rebuked all claims of widespread voter fraud impacting the results of the election.  His Attorney General stated that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Losing an election and numerous lawsuits are definitely not a cause to riot.  The Office of the President is not a lifetime appointment, and until now, this country has always accepted the results of an election and respected the rule of law.  I will always support the right to peacefully protest and I will always support the lawful efforts of the oppressed.  I will never support the thwarting of the Constitution for political, partisan, or personal gains.

Words matter.  The actions that took place at the Capitol do not happen if President Trump, after exhausting all of his legal remedies, walks up to a microphone, thanks his supporters, and asks for unity just as previous presidents have.  Sadly, that is beneath his capabilities.  He has spent far too long creating an environment where what we witnessed was the culmination of his efforts to make everything about him and not the country.  The rioters were not fighting for our country they were doing exactly what the President and his surrogates have conditioned them to do.  It was appalling, disgraceful, and illegal.  I hope to never witness it again.

Words matter.  I understand that many people are Trump supporters and you will have an important role in healing our Nation.  It is time to put Country before person and party as the Founders intended.  America will survive without a President Trump. America may not survive with another president like him.  Indoctrination, hyper-partisanship, and “alternative facts” have brought us to the edge of losing a country that has the ability to work for all of us. We must unite to build a future where this never happens again. We must once again be honest and use our words for the good of our people and our country and we must say them out loud.

Words Matter.


Senator Troy Heinert, Minority Leader

Contact: Pam Cole at for more information.