Even in the Civil War, the Confederate flag never got close the Capitol. More than 150 years later, the sight of a man casually carrying one outside the Senate floor was a piercing reminder of the persistence of white supremacism.https://t.co/l2fW7HHBOn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 9, 2021
I attended my first public protest in 1966.
It was against the Vietnam War and took place in New York City’s Central Park. The war was still popular in its early stages, and we were greeted by a mob that pelted us with rocks.
Being called dirty Commie traitors by the mainstream media was a daily event. Undeterred, I continued to show up for such events, including the rally in April 1967 at the United Nations where the speaker was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had less than a year to live.
On October 21, 1967, I rode to my first ever visit to Washington, D.C. for a rally at the Pentagon. I wore a tie and jacket, as did my fellow high school classmates, and we were polite. I found myself at the spot where the hippies were placing flowers into the gun barrels of the soldiers (82nd Airborne, calm and professional compared to the National Guard units I observed literally shaking in their boots). I learned later that the Yippies had surrounded the Pentagon in order to levitate the building but failed.
I returned to Washington for the November 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam and again in May 2000 for the Million Mom March for stricter gun control along with 400,000 others. I obtained a press pass, took photos, and almost got trampled by then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service detail.
During all three of these demonstrations in Washington, not once did anyone even think of invading, trashing, and desecrating the nation’s Capital. On January 21, 2017, millions of Americans marched in protest of Donald Trump’s agenda. Never once did any of them try to prevent his inauguration.
What we saw on January 6, 2021, was the domestic terrorism equivalent of September 11, 2001—only this time, the terrorists were incited and inspired by a sitting American president.
This attack was preplanned and premeditated on far-right social media platforms weeks before it happened. Donald Trump held a rally the same day where he exhorted his followers to march to the Capitol building to prevent the Electoral College vote. He promised to march there with them, but the blowhard that he is, he never did.
It’s equally incredible that after planning this unprecedented assault and rejoicing afterward, right-wing media and their adherents pretended that the riot was carried out by Antifa, the non-existent scapegoat of the right.
In this, they are not only thugs and bullies, but cowards as well. Like their adored dear leader, they are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. Already, Trump’s MAGA mob is planning another violent action to greet President Biden’s inauguration. As a former hippie peacenik, I never thought I’d say this, but I hope they are met with an overwhelming preventive force—the only thing bullies understand.
I also have no sympathy for the Republican Party who after four years of enabling, supporting, and turning a blind eye to Donald Trump’s criminal behavior and actions, is now having a Come to Jesus moment and realizing that they have created a monster. A monster who is equally intent on devouring them. Their crocodile tears over the mob run amuck in the House of the People came too little and too late.
Even after this later day of infamy, over a 100 Republican legislators refused to confirm Biden’s election while voicing support for false voter fraud claims.
Sorry, folks, but unless the Republican Party demands Trump’s removal or at least forces him to admit that the 2020 election was free and fair, the GOP will be rightfully stained as the party of insurrection, domestic terrorism, and, yes, I dare say, sedition against American Democracy and the Constitution.
I realize that there are many decent Americans who vote Republican and hold conservative views.
Many are people who proudly serve their local communities. But what we saw in Washington D.C. on January 6th was beyond the pale of any set ideology. It was a violent mob, drunk on psychotic conspiracy theories who sent a message to the world that our cherished traditions of freedom and liberty were meaningless words.
American Exceptionalism is a myth. As one Third World dictator was quoted as saying, “The United States no longer has the right to lecture us on our behavior.”
No, we don’t, but we can sure lecture our fellow citizens to see whether their allegiance is to the United States of America or to a corrupt, dictatorial con artist like Donald Trump.