Powel: Well, Doctor, what have we got?
Franklin: A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.
Powel: And why not keep it?
Franklin: Because the people, on tasting the dish, are always disposed to eat more of it than does them good.
What happened at the Capitol last week was dangerous. But perhaps not just for the reasons you think. We’re living in perilous times and if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves at war with… ourselves. You can certainly feel the tension. You would have to be sleeping under a rock if you are now just becoming aware of it. It didn’t start here however as some will have you believe. We’re seeing a Great Hypocrisy run wild in our Democracy (ok Democratic Republic, but the line was too good to pass up).
President Trump was impeached for the second time, only days from writing this. What is remarkable, is that the case could actually be made for this and be reasonable, unlike the first, but politics being Kabuki theater, was rushed through. Up to this point, his team had every legal opportunity at their disposal to prove malfeasance. The media would say the assault of the Capitol was the Rubicon.
I’d argue differently, the President has every right to gather people wherever and whenever, peacefully. I don’t think he intended to storm the building with violence. He is more of a WWE showman than revolutionary in attitude. A smaller portion of supporters split off from a largely peaceful rally, with agitators from the left embedded as well and overran security. You would think however according to the popular current, that 74 million people did. Every one of those perpetrators who broke in should be prosecuted in court, and rightly, are being pursued. It was all a failure. An embarrassment for our country. We’ll know more as details unveil themselves.
I don’t think that was President Trump’s perilous move however. While a black eye to the country and we were blessed that it wasn’t worse, his real failure was the pressure of Vice President Pence to give himself powers he didn’t have. That is dangerous. That is where he failed. When we anchor ourselves as we do to the Constitution, it becomes clear when tyranny comes in. The tyrannical move here, wasn’t President Trump’s lack of wisdom in his end game but the direct move to usurp powers that were not granted. The electoral game should have been won long before that if he had a chance at winning the election but this isn’t commentary on Republican electoral strategy. To be fair, I’m simply calling out the right’s failure.
The left is not off the hook for responsibility of the state of our country. Upon this sad moment, I’ve taken notice of the reaction. I’ve noticed the rage and anger, justified, at the sight of the besieged Capitol. I’ve also noticed commentary in media and in friends feeds giving victory laps, show-boating that we should have expected this, as if innocent themselves. I’ve noticed a swift censoring and the calling of “deprogramming” of conservatives, who unjustly are swept into one broad dustbin and straw-maned.
I’ve also noticed tyrannical fruit from the leftist tree in the form of collusion between large companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, banks, PGA, among others and Democratic messaging to silence opposing viewpoints. It’s easy to shut down someone who isn’t popular like Trump. A dictator isn’t the loud mouth, it’s the one silencing it’s opposition.
The great hypocrisy here is two fold: 1. Where was this outrage when violence ran through the streets this summer? 2. Where is the outrage for the overt tyranny that is now taking place?
Because I don’t remember the same groups, outlets, and friends having the same standard when applied to earlier this year. Actually it is eerily reflective of group think. (Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people makes irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the belief that dissent is impossible (psychologytoday).
As I watched the vote count of the Electoral College after they returned, a Congressman commented about a false equivalency between what happened at the Capitol and this summer. Another said that these hallowed grounds are the tabernacle of our democracy and this was a desecration. I would agree that watching the seat of our national governance under siege is terrible, I think most rational people would. What I don’t understand is how you can watch as businesses and homes burn, statues undemocratically get toppled, people beaten and killed in the streets, sections of cities claimed autonomous and turn a blind eye, and not feel the same pain. As if violence and insurrection is only terrible if it’s the other team’s players.
The right isn’t rallying behind the Air Force woman who was killed and telling you to say her name. Or blacking out social media to dissenting voices. Or intimidating people to kneel before them to show support. Or using the private sector to censor ones ability to communicate. That is happening on the left.
Everyone has their cause and justice should be blind. The left and right should beware of group think and consider their own hypocrisy before pointing out someone else’s. If President Trump’s charge of incitement is punishable, should not the actions and promptings of the Congressional leaders who advocated for violence last summer? Or perhaps the same application of fairness when the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot up the Republican baseball game, critically wounding Congressman Scalise and garnering crickets? Can we not get on the same page and equally say that we want peaceful rallies, that we want fair justice, that violence in the street is not a good thing, that free speech is imperative – even when we disagree, and lastly that liberty is not shutting down others ability to think openly? What I’m afraid of, is that the answer to that, is no, but that’s not American ideal.
We need to be careful and reject tyranny within ourselves. We all have a right to our own viewpoints. You don’t have the right to silence or intimidate others. Vigorously fight for your belief but violence isn’t the way. Follow and consider facts, even if it’s not popular then live it out so it’s so attractive someone else would want to see what it’s about.
I’ve been to D.C. a number of times and seen many things but what I’ll never forget is the Holocaust Museum. There is a poem that is engrained in my mind upon the walls as you leave written by a survivor…
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for meMartin Niemöller
If censoring is allowed to happen to one group, you better believe it can happen to you. Don’t let groupthink settle you into the the great hypocrisy. Let freedom ring for all.