Jan. 6, 2021, has already been recorded among the most frustrating, disappointing and maddening days in the lives of many Americans.
I’d like to say that I’m in disbelief with the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday. Yet I’m not surprised by the assault, given the tenor of political discussion in this land since the November election. But this wasn’t just a mere protest, a building invasion or a threat to elected officials—this was an assault on Democracy itself. My disappointment is compounded by knowing that a sitting president, having urged protest in the streets and at the Capitol in the first place, would disregard the violence and refuse to take immediate, necessary action to remediate what was clearly devolving into a riot or arguably a siege.
Words matter. Not one person in this nation has a more powerful voice than the president. I understand the frustration of losing an election, especially one with the cloud of suspicion that many believe produced that outcome. But to continue to demand a reversal at this point in the process, and add fuel to the fire by calling for a massed assembly in protest, far exceeds acceptability.
The past five years have been the most combative in terms of political civility associated with a president. Rather than rising above it, he has responded to that with bullying, tantrums, inappropriate Tweets and pure combativeness. Donald Trump has redefined the word “presidential,” and not in ways that instill American pride.
As I write this, I sit in disbelief that we’ve reached the point where discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment is gaining traction among members of the House and Senate and in the media. As loyal as many of us have been to support the pro-growth policies of this administration—to the point of tolerating President Trump’s lack of maturity—it’s hard to see how even the most loyal followers can remain in support of the actions of Donald Trump.
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley from our own state of Missouri remain vocally outspoken in support of Donald Trump and in challenging the outcomes of voting in a handful of key states. The photo of Mr. Hawley raising his fist in encouragement of the protest on Wednesday was the last straw for me.
As much as I respect our election process and those who earn an elected seat, I’ve had it with Donald Trump. My preference would be that he do the right thing and resign immediately, but his history of noble deeds makes for short reading. One could argue that we’ve endured 47½ months of him, so we should just ride out the next two weeks. I’m not sure someone with the lack of stability he’s demonstrated since Nov. 3 deserves that consideration and if anyone could stimulate the prospect of war in this timeframe, he’s uniquely qualified.
If he won’t go on his own, I wouldn’t object to having him quickly removed, either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment. And he should forever be prevented from running for or holding elective office in this nation. Jan. 6 was among the saddest days in America history. It’s time for our elected officials to realize they’re employees of American citizens, not agents promoting the interests of a political party or the interests of a would-be dictator.
I pray for stability in our nation and a peaceful transition of power on Jan. 20. With luck, we’ll see Mike Pence appointed as president in this interim term before Joe Biden is sworn in and begins what we hope will be a peaceful and progressive succession.
I hope the attack on our Capitol in Washington becomes a teaching moment, one that restores full appreciation of the critical need for civility. And I hope that the assault on the Capitol won’t go down in history as a 21st-century reprise of the attack on Fort Sumter.
Lest We Forget.