The Storm After the Storming

Published: January 8, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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photo from C-Span video

The assault on Capitol Hill yesterday that the entire world witnessed was nothing less than a 9/11-like domestic insurgency willfully initiated by a president whose words of derision and division lit the match of anarchy akin to the Civil War.

American history has endured irrational demagogues before – Joseph R. McCarthy, George Wallace. Now, we are experiencing the diseased, unhinged-from-reality cult of Trump whose followers are so consumed with hate that many are ready, willing, and able to sacrifice their souls to attack valued institutions of democracy in the name of a man who has become a clear and present danger to the country.

Yesterday will go done in history as “a day that will live in infamy,” as Franklin Roosevelt declared after Pearl Harbor. However, over four years, the disease of Trump has devoured Republican members of Congress where some, even now, continue to support a cluster of lies and false conspiracy theories that have led to their dereliction of duty. I had hoped that last night’s treasonous actions at the Capitol would stop the insanity inside, but after certifying the Electoral College, six Senators voted to sustain the objections raised.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Kansas Senator Roger Marshall, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy (a disgrace to his namesake), and Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville.

Despite zero evidence of corruption, dishonesty, or fraud, these six Senators voted in violation of their oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic [and] bear true faith and allegiance… to the same…”

Their only allegiance is to a self-serving demagogue and their careers.

Reaction to yesterday’s actions from the more reasoned was swift.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf characterized Trump’s actions as “tragic and sickening,”

“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” former attorney general William Barr said. (Where was Barr’s outrage when he was doing Trump’s bidding?)

Former Trump chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney resigned telling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger called on Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to stabilize the two weeks before the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, saying that Trump has become “unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.”

And if he refuses to work with the president’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, the vice president is complicit in Trump’s actions.

In the aftermath, several White House staff and officials have resigned as others were pondering. For God’s sake, people, what’s to ponder? The security and sanity of the country are more important than a book deal.

In his final speech that has proven prophetic, Senator John McCain schooled his colleagues with a stern warning.

“…to abandon the ideals, we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

“We have a moral obligation,” McCain said, “to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t.”

The questions before us, Joe Biden and Congress are clear –

What will it take to return to the ideals and principles we have lived by and honored for over 200 years?

And how do we restore trust and stability to an unstable America that so desperately needs both?


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