My favorite part of American history is the revolution. After thousands of years of rule by monarchies, people decided they had enough and developed their own form of government. These were not perfect people and the government they created was set up to become “a more perfect union.” They had no illusions that they were creating perfection.
I live in a part of the country that was central to the forming of the new nation. Fans of Turn: Washington’s Spies, which chronicled the work of the Culper Spy ring in Setauket, Long Island (the next town over) have seen the history of where I live and grew up. My ancestors crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. I am looking to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Constitution is my bible.
And as I sit here, in 2021, I am wondering if I am about to witness the end of the government created by people like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. I used to joke that if the Founding Fathers could see what we have become, they would never have created a republic. This was before the Capitol Building was overtaken by Qanon, the Oath Keepers and the 3 Percenters. They came dangerously close to killing Vice President Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all the rest of the Congress. If it were not for the courage of one Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, we may be referring to this as a “mass casualty” event. One person who was in danger as Officer Goodman drew people away from the Senate chamber was VP Pence.
If the people involved were held accountable, things would be different. The more we learn about what happened, the worst it looks. Members of Congress have been said to have led tours of the Capitol in the days leading up to January 6th (the Capitol has been closed to tours because of the pandemic). It has been reported (and friends of mine have confirmed) that a lot of the people in the Capitol Police are sympathetic to the insurrectionists. That is why the rioters met with so little resistance. The National Guard rules were changed so it was harder to get them in, though the Maryland Guard was at the ready.
Lastly, the main reason this all happen was how then-President Donald Trump acted. He started stirring the pot of insurrection in November when he lost the election. By calling it a “fraud” and getting his cadre of conservative media and high-level friends to go along, he created the perfect storm in Washington, DC. Even before the election, Trump’s constant pandering to Qanon and the Proud Boys left them thinking they worked for him and that he would have their back.
Note to all of you: Trump NEVER has ANYONE’s back.
As a Senate impeachment trial is set to begin, the FBI has sent out an alert that we all in danger from domestic terrorism. I have been predicting this for years. I worry that the next few months are going to be violent and dangerous.
One problem is the nation is split between people who believe one thing and people who believe another. Not all Republicans are conspiracy theorists so to say this is an even split would be inaccurate. A lot of people out there think that:
- The election was stolen.
- Trump will return to the White House on March 4 (the original date of the Inauguration).
- There is a cabal of satanic, shapeshifting lizard people from outer space and who like to eat babies and have sex with children now run the government of the U.S. and the world.
- Covid is a hoax.
- Tests for Covid and the vaccine will turn people into automatons of the “New World Order.”
Unless we can claw our way back to a place where we agree about reality — and I am not going to lie, there is nothing that is ever going to convince me the above ideas are true — it is hard to see a path forward for our republic.
Benjamin Franklin once said we have “a republic, if you can keep it.” Sorry, Ben, this generation has failed.