Commentary: My mother taught me many life lessons. Haste makes waste. Be careful what you wish for. Wear clean underwear. If you screw it up, fix it.
That last one may be the hardest. It involves being honest with yourself and held accountable. When I was around nine or ten, my mother sent me to the store to buy her cigarettes. (Kids could do that back then.) After getting her Raleighs with no filters, I slid a candy bar into my pocket.
When I got back home and handed mom her smokes, she noticed the candy bar in my shirt pocket. After she asked me about it I confessed I had stolen it. With a look of disappointment on her face, she instructed me to go back to the store, return the chocolate bar and apologize.
The embarrassment I felt that day taught me a lesson that has lasted a lifetime. Being held accountable for one’s actions is a message well learned.
America is at a crossroads after the insurrection of January 6, 2021. One of the biggest questions the nation faces is whether we have the balls to hold those responsible accountable. Mitt Romney, (R-Utah), said, “If we are going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice. If incitement to insurrection is not an impeachable offense, what is?”
When the president of the United States leads a failed coup, and that’s what it was, we must hold him and all participants and enablers accountable. If a coup attempt goes unpunished it will have been a training exercise and will surely happen again.
Imagine the insurrection of January 6 was successful. But for the heroic actions of a few undermanned Capitol policemen and women, Vice President Mike Pence would have been hung from the gallows the rioters erected on the Capitol grounds. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have been assassinated and probably had her mutilated body put on display in a scene reminiscence of Iraqi’s reveling at the fall of Saddam Hussein. The Confederate flag that was paraded around the Capitol would have a permanent home there.
The same people who complained about Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the national anthem used the flag to assault policemen during the insurrection. They replaced the American flag on the Capitol grounds with a Trump flag.
Besides the blood of 425,000 Americans on his hands, Trump’s trail of death and destruction includes the hundreds, maybe thousands, of self-described patriots, who stormed the Capitol on that fateful day. Lost jobs, ruined lives, and jail time await many of the gullible Trumpers who bought what the con man was selling, that the election was stolen. They believed his lies.
They sacrificed everything for a traitorous tax cheat and sexual predator that sided with Russia over his own intelligence agencies, raised their taxes and gave the money to his rich friends, killed hundreds of thousands of them with COVID, issued a pardon to the man who stole their money, and attempted a coup against his own country. Their country.
Reality bites. Many Retrumplicans, who committed treason in the name of Trump and are responsible for the deaths of two policemen, hoped for pardons from the president on his way back to his golf resort. He couldn’t be bothered. Many more, especially the QAnon conspiracy dupes, expected a Trump miracle on inauguration day. They believed Joe Biden would be arrested at the last minute and he along with all the “Democratic traitors” would be rounded up and carted off to jail. Be careful what you wish for.
Calls for unity and to move on are coming from the GOP. Some pols say it’s too late to impeach the former president since he has already left office. Instead of placing blame where it belongs, one congressman says we are all responsible.
From this day forward, the Republican brand will be forever associated with far-right ideologies, including neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates. The GOP seems fixated on pretending January 6 did not happen, ignoring it and staying silent like they have about all the other atrocities of the past four years. Their silence must not go unnoticed. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” said The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
True Republicans must reclaim their party, please. They must renounce Trumpism and the insurrection and vow to “fix it.” Right now, it seems they would rather blow the country up instead. Every one of Trump’s insurrectionists, including the twice-impeached former president, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Instead of a chocolate bar, Trump’s terrorists tried to steal our democracy that day. Just as my young self was held accountable years ago, we as a nation need to hold those involved in the acts of sedition to account, as well. Truth and accountability are required before unity and reconciliation.