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American Exceptionalism Shall Rise to the Occasion

This week’s topic was going to be comparatively more lighthearted. After the Democrat-led House of Representatives recently concluded its prayer with “amen, a woman,” the possibilities for poking fun at the wackiness were endless. On a more serious note, I was going to analyze what an all-Democratic Congress, to complement a Democrat president, might mean for the next couple of years. But, then, the collective idiocy and lunacy of far too many of my countrymen – yes, and countrywomen – preempted everything.

Incumbent president Donald Trump was behind 232 electoral votes to Joe Biden’s 306 following the November 3 election. Trump had long insisted the only way he could lose is if the election was “rigged” – and over 80 percent of the almost 75 million people who voted for him agreed. His campaign filed numerous lawsuits directly and other ones were filed on his behalf. The courts rejected all of them, including an original jurisdiction case in which some states sued others, which surprisingly and disappointingly was denied by the Supreme Court. The common theme was that the cases were unlikely to prevail on the merits to the extent that the election’s outcome would change. Still, many insisted that despite overturning the election being their top goal, exposing election irregularities in hopes of not repeating them in future contests – even if it still meant Trump lost – was just as important, if not more so.

The Trump faithful stood by their man, over a hundred thousand making the pilgrimage to Washington on January 6 to protest outside the U.S. Capitol as Congress proceeded to formalize the election results. Unfortunately and unbelievably, many within the crowd, clad in Trump regalia stormed into the Capitol, breaking windows, crashing through doors, and overwhelming the security force there. Law enforcement shot one person, who later died from her wounds.

As I viewed much of this on live television, I knew I was watching the worst terrorist attack on our nation since 9/11 unfolding before my eyes. Even though bloodshed was thankfully little, the concept of attacking the U.S. Capitol, something that hadn’t happened to us since the British did it during the War of 1812, was absolutely mind-boggling. Even more astonishing was that of all the analysis being spewed on the airwaves following the invasion – order was restored after a few hours – hardly anyone asked what I considered to be the most obvious question: “how in the world in this day and age of terrorism is our Capitol building so susceptible to a renegade bunch of rioters?” The following day, a Wall Street Journal article reported that the Defense Department had decided not to have armed military positioned on the Capitol’s steps as it would be bad optics. What a bad decision; those are exactly the type of optics that are needed to convey, unequivocally, that if you dare trespass, you do so at your own risk of life and limb.

What followed was even worse: Americans reverted to their now-reflexive ugliness, blaming one another for everything. The obsessive Trump-bashers immediately identified him as the culprit because, after all, he “incites violence.” He has more “blood on his hands,” to go with all the blood of those who succumbed to COVID. Oh, and for good measure, his supporters – all 75 million of them – are “enablers” and thereby accessories to his crimes. Unconditional Trump apologists (no, I’m not one, if you think am, then I advise you to read my columns more carefully) were near certain that some leftist terrorist group, probably financed by George Soros, had to be behind it, because “Trump supporters don’t break the law.”

I continue to shake my head at this gargantuan difference in perspective: the Trumpies think they do no wrong, and the anti-Trumpies think Trumpies are inherently violence-prone, as encouraged by their fascist-in-chief. To conclude that those spreading violence must be Trump supporters, or must be professional agitators clothed as Trumpies, but to dismiss the alternative in each case as preposterous, is exactly what’s wrong with America today.

The president surely deserves some of the blame: he addressed his followers outside the White House before directing them to march to the Capitol, and encouraged them to keep fighting. “We will never concede,” he said. A few days earlier, he implored them to go to Washington where things would be “wild.” Although none of that amounts to inciting violence, his omission of a strong and clear message not to commit any violence or otherwise break any laws was reckless. His subsequent call for “love and peace” seemed forced and contrived. I’m not saying he supported the invasion, but he did not seem genuinely outraged that it happened. The Supreme Court should be kicking itself too. If only it had taken on the case and confirmed Biden’s victory, there would have been enough closure to satisfy the lion’s share of Trump supporters, if not Trump himself.

Bill O’Reilly aptly said it was a day on which everyone lost. Except for China, as Marco Rubio notably pointed out, where they must be “high-fiving each other.”

Images of Trump flags and MAGA hats by a few bad apples further unfairly tarnished the reputation of the vast majority of Trump supporters, who are peaceful, courteous, and law-abiding patriots. Don’t count on the media to point out the difference. Democrats are pouncing, calling for Trump to resign, even as his presidency is only days away from naturally terminating. Republicans are split in sticking with Trump or distancing themselves from him, the latter option trending at press time. January 6, a day of Epiphany in the Christian world, became a day of infamy in the American one.

Yet, this too shall pass. We’ve seen better days, but we’ve also seen much worse ones, and always, we ultimately prevailed. As we approach Inauguration Day, I think back 40 years, when Ronald Reagan, arguably the greatest president of our lifetime, spoke these words: “With God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”

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