“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
— Samuel Johnson, 1775
The mob action and violence that forced its way into the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 should be remembered by most as yet another attempt to overthrow our government, not unlike what took place on Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike those two dates, this threat came from within, not from foreign adversaries, and was orchestrated by the man who was in denial about his defeat in last November’s presidential election.
It should also stand out as the date when Joe Biden showed his presidential gravitas as opposed to Donald Trump, who abdicated his role as the leader of our constitutional government when he threw his lot in with the thugs and patriotic pretenders who humiliated and shamed us all to the rest of the world with their unchecked anarchy.
To all of those Trump enablers — who even as rioters stormed the halls of Congress were still prepared to speak in support of the conspiracies that generated the riots — as well as those who are now saying “enough is enough,” there is blood on your hands for your failure to stop this coup attempt in the months and years that preceded it.
Though people such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley served as the most recent and conspicuous flamethrowers for this insurrection alongside the lame-duck president, it was the silence and inaction of every elected Republican official over the past four years at most given times that provided a path and open door for this sociopath to carry out his autocratic maneuvers.
Trump’s most avid support comes from armed white supremacists, who even before Charlottesville, the El Paso massacre and the kidnap attempt of the Michigan governor have vainly compared themselves to colonial patriots to validate such insurrection as some imagined noble cause in today’s polarized culture.
It’s ironic, however, that what the real American colonials sought to achieve is the polar opposite of what these domestic terrorists are attempting. The American Revolution was fought to separate themselves from an autocratic rule by the British monarchy, unlike today’s revolutionary pretenders who used violence in the hopes of creating an autocratic rule by a deranged demagogue.
I concur with Dalton Gregory’s assessment expressed in his Dec. 18 commentary of the Trump power grab that’s being played out here. But in just that short period of time, we’ve come from thinking that it will soon be over to watching a hostile takeover attempt posing an ongoing threat.
None of us can remain silent any longer and allow threats to our democratic republic to be passed off as patriotic expressions of discontent. There are players in place determined to replace a government of, by and for the people with an autocracy. For those who have, intentionally or not, aided and abetted this ignoble cause, it falls on us to hold them accountable under the laws that were designed to prevent this unthinkable act.