written 10 January 2021
published 17 January 2021
For as long as history has been written, humanity has struggled to evolve society from the tribal to a more inclusive system. A healthy society nourishes all its members, or it rots from within. America's experiment with a democratic republic still suffers from tribal exclusivity, where some count more than the rest. This flaw manifests in capitalism as the illusions of exclusive gain and externalized costs. The social function of government is to set boundaries on tribalism, and address the needs of the entire society, without exclusion.
In 1986, President Reagan claimed the nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” In the decades since, Republicans have relentlessly disparaged government, sowing public distrust, while working to underfund or eliminate essential social services. This has created massive economic inequity and disenfranchised millions.
Believing they could control him, Republicans embraced candidate Trump, accepting his incompetence, corruption, and disregard for the rule of law, being more focused on power than integrity. In 2020, during the pandemic, the 614 American billionaires increased their net worth by $931B while most Americans suffered. America leads the planet in Covid cases and deaths, due to incompetent federal leadership.
January 6th was the culmination of Republican anti-governmental sentiment when the mob of Trump supporters, incited by his deranged, self-serving lie about a fraudulent election, invaded Congress to stop the peaceful transfer of power. The self-proclaimed "patriots" were armed, had explosive devices, and were prepared to take hostages. This insurrection was coordinated with actions in thirteen state capitals.
The good news is the attempted coup failed. The legislators and staff were unharmed by the mob. Order was restored later that day, Congress returned to business, and Biden was confirmed as the next president.
The bad news is that five people died, including one policeman. Capitol security was easily overwhelmed, perhaps even complicit in the invasion. Trump's defense department appointees delayed authorizing the Maryland National Guard to enter and restore order. Six Republican Senators and a majority of Republican House members voted to thwart the will of the electorate.
Keep in mind, the core of all this is the big lie that the election was stolen and that violence and opposition to the rule of law was somehow patriotic duty. This lie ignores 60 failed legal challenges, numerous recounts, and the certification by every state governor and secretary of state, a majority Republican-controlled, affirming the election was free and fair. Trump just got fewer votes.
The aftermath is still unfolding. Trump, loyal only to himself, abandoned his supporters and belatedly condemned their actions in a stilted video. The Wall Street Journal and the National Manufacturers Association, among others, have called for Trump's resignation. Pence and the cabinet have been requested to invoke the 25th amendment to immediately remove the president from power, but Pence has gone into hiding and some cabinet members have resigned to avoid the issue. The House has begun presidential impeachment proceedings for sedition and insurrection, which could bar Trump from ever holding public office again. There are calls for resignation, expulsion, or censure of legislators who participated in attempting to thwart the will of the voters. Around the country, prosecution of members of the mob are proceeding, based on selfies, cell phone data and social media videos.
It is understandable that Trump needs to believe in fraud, because he is too mentally damaged to admit that he lost. He should be pitied and given psychological care in a safe environment with no responsibilities. But the sad part is the millions of people who have swallowed the big lie, hook, line and sinker, rather than listening to their inner truth.
What does it mean to be an American? Are rich, white, Christians the only people who count? Or are we truly a land of equal opportunity, open to everyone, without regard to wealth, race, or religion? The mob invaded Congress wrapped in flags and carrying crosses. Republicans with integrity need to call out the autocratic faction that has flourished in their party, and excise it like a cancer. Real Christians, who understand the Golden Rule as the essence of Christ's message, need to reclaim the integrity of their religion. It is encouraging to see that this process has begun.