This past Wednesday, Spirited Reasoners witnessed, via television and social media, a right-wing coup attempt carried out by persons claiming allegiance to the President of the United States. Unlike insurrections we have seen in the past, all of which took place in countries where democracy either does not exist or is less than stable, this one occurred in what previously had been considered the world’s most stable republic. Our status in that regard has now been lost for the foreseeable future—perhaps for the remainder of our lifetimes and those of our children and grandchildren.
What the mob taught us is how close we all came to losing our constitutional form of government together with all the freedoms guaranteed therein.
Those who might take issue with that last sentence may wish to consider the following questions:
- Upon entering the U. S. Capitol, voices in the mob were heard to shout, “Where are they?” One wonders what would have happen if they had succeeded, for example, in holding one or more members of Congress hostage. One suspects that their principal demand would have been for Donald Trump to be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. What if, to avert bloodshed, those members of Congress had knuckled under to the mob’s demand?
- Short of hostage-taking, what if the mob had arrived before members of Congress had been evacuated? What, then, if the mob had surrounded the joint session of Congress, using intimidation tactics to force an electoral count to their liking?
- Why was President Trump so hard to reach while all this was happening? Was he waiting to see if the mob would be successful in accomplishing any of the above actions? Why did the President refuse to answer calls and messages from government officials who were begging him to help stop the occupation of the Capitol?
- Why does one video image appear to show a police officer waving the crowd into the Capitol? Was that officer part of a conspiracy to allow the mob to intimidate members of Congress? Did any of his superiors know and/or approve of his actions?
- At least two pipe bombs were discovered and disarmed by police. What would have happened if those devices had not been discovered? What was the intent of the person or persons who planted those devices? Were any governmental officials aware of that aspect of the plot in advance?
- What did President Trump mean when he tweeted, back on December 19, “Big protest in D. C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Was he part of the planning process for any of the events described above? Was he in touch with any of the mob leaders before, during, or immediately after the Capitol was breached?
- Surely President Trump was asking for trouble when he whipped up his crowd into a frenzy with a long speech, then instructed them, “we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give–the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote but we are going to try–give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try–going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” (Then, despite the many references to courageous people in his speech, he chose not to join them.) What, exactly, did he expect the crowd to do when they encountered armed guards who would not allow them to talk directly to “our Republicans”?
Those are the types of questions that have Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, talking openly about removal of the President via impeachment and/or the 25th Amendment. Those who, like Sen. Lindsay Graham, for example, think such talk does more harm than good, should take another look at the questions posed above. The fact that the coup attempt narrowly failed, and that President Trump has now stated that he will turn over the reins peacefully, seems like too little too late, especially as we now learn of the death of a Capitol police officer who died trying to protect lawmakers from the mob Donald Trump incited.
Make America Great Again, indeed.