The Expel Eastman Edition

At The Alaska Center, we believe a true Democracy is one in which everyone feels safe, respected, and able to participate in public discourse. We entrust our elected leaders to uphold these values, and be accountable to the principles of truth, justice, and equality. They should follow the Alaska Constitution, the fundamental governing document of the State of Alaska. 

Oath Keeper Representative David Eastman has clearly violated these principles and duties of his office, and should be expelled from the State House. His organization, The Oath Keepers, took part in the seditious and deadly activities of January 6th, 2021 - a date none of us should ever forget as it is a milestone of domestic terrorism and an assault on our Democracy. Allowing a member of an organization involved in sedition to serve in the Legislature normalizes the member’s activities and that must not occur.

Article XII Section 4 of Alaska’s Constitution is clear:

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.”

The plain reading of our Constitution applies directly to Eastman: he has admitted to being a life member of an organization that sought to overthrow our democracy on January 6th. He was at the rally that led to the deadly violence in our nation’s capital. Allowing him to remain in the Legislature sends a message that violent and racist insurrections are “legitimate political discourse.”  

In November of 2021 a large group of fellow West Point Alumni penned a letter to Eastman telling him to resign. Their message was clear:

You were present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, protesting this fair and free election. You falsely blamed the day’s violence on “Antifa,” but it is clear the criminal acts were carried out by right-wing insurrectionistsWhat moved us to public comment was the revelation that you are a life member of one such insurrectionist group: the Oath Keepers, one of the largest far right anti-government groups in the United States. More than a dozen Oath Keepers have been charged with crimes for their role on January 6… You have stated that you “will always consider it a privilege” to belong to Oath Keepers. Membership in the Oath Keepers, or any other organization—left or right—calling for violence against our Constitutional system of government, is wildly at odds with the bedrock values of West Point, as well as with the legal oath you swore when you became a member of the Alaska Legislature.

The message of the Alaska State House of Representatives should also be clear: Eastman is unfit by his actions, and by our state’s Constitution to continue to bear the honor and responsibility of Representative. The defense of Eastman by members of the House minority so far has been disturbing, especially after so many other racist and reprehensible offenses by him that led to his earlier censure. But if the House does not take action in this moment to denounce Eastman, they are being complicit in undermining our Democracy.  There will be a hearing on the Oath Keepers today in the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee today at 1:00 p.m (tune in below). 

While a hearing is fine, we already know that The Oath Keeper organization is unambiguously dangerous to our American Democracy.  Oath Keeper David Eastman, who advocates for the violent overthrow of Democracy, is not fit to be a representative in this Democracy and must be expelled. Contact your legislator today and tell them that in Alaska our values include protecting Democracy.

The Alaska Center

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