fter a few hours, you had to switch off the television and stop scrolling the videos on social media.
Clowns attacking cops inside the nation’s Capitol. Morons taking over the chambers of the House and Senate, taking selfies all the while. A female rioter—a 35-year-old Air Force veteran somehow turned QAnon loon—was shot dead inside “the People’s House.”
Meanwhile the president of the United States, surely watching on TV inside the White House, poured more gasoline on the flames like an arsonist with the heaviest of hands.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” President Trump tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
And, surely, we will recall Jan. 6, 2021, for years to come—as a stain on a nation that feels more like Nero’s flaming Rome in ruins with each new spectacle.
I would say the day felt shocking to me, but that would be an utter lie. America has lost the capacity to generate new surprises lately.
A flailing pandemic response. An election where the number of lies told about the final result far outstrips the number of actual voters.
The inability to keep protesters armed only with Confederate flags and MAGA banners from temporarily disrupting the final tally of the 2020 election.
None of the above is much of a surprise anymore, is it?
To be honest, really only one thing has shocked me in the past few months, while I’ve been an ardent viewer of what feels like the season finale of America: A Nation Unravels.
People’s capacity to believe their own crap.
Let me give you one easy example, though it would be easy to conjure up a few thousand.
In the heart of summertime, when Black Lives Matter protesters twisted the deaths of George Floyd and Jacob Blake into reasons to riot, we heard lamentations galore about the violence that occurred in Minneapolis, Kenosha and elsewhere.
A police station burned to the ground; businesses torched; police officers attacked and shot; threats of mayhem spreading to the suburbs—these occurrences were all met with quick condemnation from many Americans, including the president.
How did the POTUS tweet go, back then? Oh, yeah: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to (Minnesota) Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Once upon a time in this country—and not long ago—the majority of us seemed to be largely in agreement on the subject of social protests.
As a nation, we subscribed to the idea that they were protected under the First Amendment and a time-honored way to create social change.
Up until the moment they turned violent. That’s precisely where we draw the line.
My point in a nutshell: If like me you were disgusted last May when an unruly mob looted Scottsdale Fashion Square, sacking the Apple Store and Nordstrom and inflicting millions in damage, then you damn well better be disgusted by rioters staging a failed coup in our nation’s Capitol.
If you see “THUGS” on the one hand but “great patriots” on the other—if you believe in shooting to stop the looting yet feel only love and peace for hundreds of red-hatted election vandals—then you, my dear friend, very much need to examine your soul.
To see if, in fact, you still have one.