There is no way that I can let the events of last Wednesday, January 6, 2021, go unremarked in this week's edition of the Sentinel & Rural News.
Were the actions of those rioters domestic terrorism? Yes. Were they the acts of seditious insurrectionists, an attempt to subvert the operation of Congress and the will of the voters in the United States? Yes.
Please do not think for a second that I am laying the blame on all Republicans or the Republican Party. In fact, most of the President's longstanding allies immediately and irreversibly distanced themselves from the actions of the 6th of January. I truly know no Republican who would have condoned the actions at the United States Capitol building.
Since the Civil War, there has been no real and viable threat to the United States government from within. Despite acts of homegrown terrorism, assassination and murder, attempts to change the duties and operations the United States government have been done at the ballot box and in the courtroom.
With over 60 failed lawsuits from the president and his allies, with lawful protests in many states, and even with members of Congress denying and defying the counted votes, all of which were legal and acceptable measures taken by the President and by the Republican Party, what took place last Wednesday was beyond law, beyond precedent, and beyond belief.
In the four years of the Trump Administration, I have written nothing critical of the President. He won the electoral college vote and that was that. Did I criticize him as a candidate? Yes, I did. But, as President, I tend to be more circumspect in my writings.
No matter what some myopic opinion writers may think of journalists with their oft-repeated litany of fake news, there is nothing fake about the video that reveals the President urging his protestors to go to the Capitol. Nothing fake about the hard video evidence of the President and his family going to the safety of a tent positioned near the Capitol building so they could see the assault on the Capitol first-hand.
Yes, the President is to blame. We all know that. He betrayed us. He betrayed his party, his supporters, his nation. But the President was simply being himself—still decrying an electoral loss that has been verified by electors, attorneys-general, governors, and even the United States Supreme Court. And don’t forget: three of those justices were appointed by the President himself. So, having failed all legal attempts and with his own vice-president refusing to exceed his constitutional authority, the President summoned the mob.
At that moment, President Trump betrayed my Republican friends and family. The noble party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt looked more like the party of Robespierre and Marat.
And then there was the mob itself. It wasn’t just the group that stormed the barricades. It was the segment of police officers that pulled back those same barricades and let them approach the Capitol. It was 25 soldiers who had sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. It was not the Republican Representatives and Senators who issued challenges to the votes being verified that day. Once again, that was within their constitutional authority and rights to do so. The Democrats have done that before. And Vice-President Mike Pence performed his duty strictly according to the Constitution and US Code, just like Vice-Presidents Nixon in 1961, Mondale in 1981, and Gore in 2001.
But that mob turned on the Vice-President and chanted, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” It was the mob who turned into thieves and vandals, assaulting the doors and windows where Republican and Democrat Representatives and Senators alike sheltered in safety, resulting in one woman being shot by law enforcement. It was the Blue Lives Matter crowd that turned on police officers and beat one officer to death with a fire extinguisher.
Even more chilling was the discovery of two vans with explosives and insurgents carrying zip-tie handcuffs. What were the going to blow up and who were they going to kidnap?
When it was over, the Congress resumed their task and verified the electoral college results.
We have not seen anything like it. I remember hearing uncles worrying about the possibility of Nixon declaring martial law during the Watergate hearings. But the rule of law prevailed and the vision of James Madison and company was validated.
But who among us could have foreseen this? A sitting, albeit lame-duck, president calling on his supporters to invade the Capitol of the United States was unthinkable.
The Proud Boys are now being listed as a terrorist group by Canada, UK, Japan, and more. They now are in the same category as ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and more. And they call themselves patriots.
During that day, I had friends from around the world text, email, and call me, asking “What is going on?” A friend from Norway said he had never imagined the beacon of peaceful transition of power to be so darkened. A friend in Spain said that it looked more like Myanmar than America. A more antagonistic friend from Austria said, “Who’s the s&%#hole country now?”
We have been betrayed by the one we should have been able to trust. And some of us refuse to see it.
Sentinel Rural News is the leading source of news for Central Wisconsin. We utilize local writers as our content creators while including contributors of expertise from across the country.