It would be good if everybody had given their attention to how quickly Congress completed its work Wednesday. How, after a brief disturbance, it counted the electoral tallies and validated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s success. That the standards were upheld and the victorious indeed emerged victorious.
It would be good– but it would ignore the elephant in the room.
Many regard the U.S. Capitol with the same type of wonder and respect shown by Jimmy Stewart’s character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington I know I do and, after almost 40 years of being totally involved in the political procedure, I admit a great deal of earnest sentimentalism has managed to make it through beneath my hard-shell journalistic cynicism.
The Capitol is a remarkable building, unique for what it represents. To the world, its dome means flexibility, liberty and equality. It represents the idea every man and woman has an equivalent opportunity to be successful, unhampered by those aspects that in other countries perpetuate class, caste and regional differences. We are, as a good friend frequently reminds me, a fantastic nation full of incredible individuals who often do fantastic things.
What took place Wednesday is an abomination. More than that, it sullies the extremely democratic institutions and procedures those who came to protest the counting of the Electoral College ballots in what they believe is a stolen election stated they had actually concerned secure. Spontaneous or not, the attack on the Capitol was an affront to us all, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike– no matter who devoted it.
As has been argued by others, President Donald J. Trump bears considerable obligation for this insanity. He sent out those individuals off on a mission believing they were patriots withstanding the culmination of a corrupt procedure that rejected him a 2nd term. That is not, nevertheless, an indictment of the nearly 75 million Americans who voted for him in November.
Those who broke the law must be looked for and, if apprehended, punished to the full level permitted by law. Those who entered the Capitol to raid it not just travestied the majesty and routine with which America’s legislative procedure is conducted, they showed the Founding Daddies to have been correct in every way in which they alerted against the threats of the mob.
There is a coarseness in politics today that, for some time, has actually debased our democratic system. James Madison cautioned that partisanship would be troublesome. We can see now how prescient he was. Argument and dissent are now frequently provided as wrong, especially by the individuals on the other side of any offered disagreement. The plain truth is there’s lots of blame to walk around, and the mob that attacked the Capitol were no more “patriots” than the assassins of the 2 New york city City law enforcement officer killed in 2014 while being in their cruiser were “civil rights activists.”
Words are the way we are supposed to settle things– not violence. That’s what my mom and dad taught me and, I presume, it’s what most of you who are reading this now were also taught in your developmental years. The conflicts we have more than the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, whether grounded in reality or a fantasy-fueled attempt to hang onto power, can not and will not be settled by brawling or attacking democratic signs.
As a new administration enters into office, hopefully both Democrats and Republicans will adopt a calmer technique to settling distinctions. The perseverance of our democratic republic is a tribute to the vision of the Founders and the living tradition of men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Kennedy and Reagan– all of whom did so much to offer it life. It is a tribute to them that our institutions and our democratic republic have not yet crumbled on account of the lower lights who have been in some cases picked to lead it.
Nevertheless unfairly Mr. Trump was dealt with throughout his presidency, he should understand eventually that he brought many of these indignities upon himself. He selected to toss sharp elbows and need to not have actually been surprised when they were tossed back. He could have left the presidency on a high note, confident he ‘d developed a motion that would outlive him which, in just 4 years, he ‘d successfully pressed policies resulting in higher peace and prosperity (at least before COVID-19 hit). Eventually, he surrendered to the lower parts of our nature and seems, for the minute at least, to have ruined any meaningful tradition he might have left.
Newsweek contributing editor Peter Roff has actually composed extensively about politics and the American experience for U.S. News and World Report, United Press International and other publications. He can be reached by e-mail at RoffColumns@GMAIL.com. Follow him on Twitter: @PeterRoff.
The views revealed in this article are the author’s own.