The idea of two Americas has long existed in our political discourse, starting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s calling in the 1960s to highlight the "daily ugliness" of social inequality that was focused on by presidential candidate John Edwards in 2004 addresses the prosperity gap in modern society. These rifts exist to this day, but there is another rift in our nation as well.
There are actually two Americas today: one that rests on the firm foundations of reality and one that rests on and is led deeper into the pliable quicksand of deception America's pied piper of lies Donald J. Trump. There is America that recognizes that in the middle of a pandemic we had that the safest and transparent Choice in American history. And then there's America that was fed the big lie and devoured it with the starved appetites of those who consume Breitbart, Alex Jones, and other insubstantial junk news sources.
It is no surprise that there was such an appetite for such a hideous claim. What we saw at the Capitol was ultimately the culmination of years of reality show presidency defined by the compilation of "alternative facts" for political gain. That Donald Trump's term would end with a QAnon shaman singing in the Senate while men with zip ties chase the legislature is both the most eccentric and the most appropriate ending to a presidency vignetted with scenes of the unfathomable.
The man with the zippers and body armor was combat veteran Larry Rendall Brock Jr., a retired Lieutenant Colonel, one of many former and current military personnel who participated in the uprising. But the vast majority of the people there were ordinary Americans who engaged in a very unusual act.
These are the same people who put diagrams of the "microchip in the Bill Gates vaccine" between photos of smiling grandchildren and saccharine Minion memes on Facebook. They were friends and family members who were radicalized at first sight, and social media companies peered through a blindfold of innocence to check clicks and ad revenue.
They were the Pennsylvania mother of eight who used a battering ram to break windows and gain entry to the Capitol. The five year old Florida dad who stayed home and smiled and waved at the camera demonstrated with the lectern by Speaker Pelosi. The Texas realtor who charted a private plane to storm the Capitol and streamed live in the chaos: “We have just stormed the capital. It was one of the best days of my life! " (She also set up her brokerage services in the midst of the riot.) The Salon owner in Beverly Hills who flew to Washington "put on their Chanel boots and a Louis Vuitton sweater" picked up a megaphone and told the mob to bring guns into the building: “We need weapons. We need strong, angry patriots to help our boys … "
Among those "boys" – the predominantly white male mob who led the attack – was the Proud Boys, a group that it was designated by Canada as a terrorist organization this week and was advised by Trump three and a half months earlier to "step back and stand by". These "boys" and others roamed the halls of Congress, growling for the whereabouts of the Vice President and the most powerful woman in America, while Pelosi's own colleague, newly minted QAnon MP Lauren Boebert, Pelosi's movements tweeted live from the house floor.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this dark chapter in American history is not only that our nation's Capitol was breached for the first time since 1812, but that the perpetrators could so easily commit these atrocities with impunity. We watched in disbelief as they ransacked the sacred halls of the Capitol Building. They later poured out, shrouded in racial and political privileges, radiant and empowered – affirmed in the sick belief that their desecration of the most symbolic place of our nation was somehow a valiant act of honor.
A few arrests were made that day, but privilege and lack of security ensured that almost everyone wandered back to their corners of America – back to cities and towns – and full of pride. They gave interviews to local news networks, with many defending their actions, defiant in their turmoil and innocently proclaiming that they were simply following Trump's call to action. And the boldest aspect of it all is proclaiming these insurgents who so victimized our democracy themselves The Victims: They lament one-star reviews from Google and Yelp for their businesses, sulk that friends and family are treating them differently, and lambast their additions to no-fly lists. How dare the consequences of their own actions dwarf the shining light of their "revolution"?
But the fact remains that of the thousands who rioted in Washington on January 6 at Trump's orders, of the hundreds who actually broke into the Capitol and of the dozen who planned seriously more violent targets, only a fraction of they will ultimately feel the weight of justice. Some were arrested. Some were fired. But for most of them life goes on. Insurgent one day, neighbor the next.
And for Donald Trump, the main initiator of everything, an impeachment of the House, yes, but little chance of accountability in the Senate. Almost all Republican senators are sure to vote against condemning Trump for the single insurrectionary article. Senators like Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Who raised his fist in solidarity with the mob, may not directly sympathize with the insurgents, but he certainly recognizes that the same people who held spear-tipped Trump flags on the steps of the Capitol who have favourited hold keys to every future in the Republican Party. "Unity," they say, precludes accountability.
Most Americans Learn About Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech at school, however What many do not know is that Lincoln did not warn against the dissolution of the country, but rather what happens when an immoral but powerful idea (then slavery) finds its way across the country: “A house divided against itself cannot stand… I do not expect the union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do not expect it to be divided anymore. It will all be one or the other. "
We cannot allow America to be gripped by an ethos that, at worst, includes insurrection and, at best, shrugged on it. We cannot accept the rejection of the rule of law, ethical norms and reason as a value in our society. When dangerous marginal ideas are no longer marginal ideas, but are woven into the fabric of acceptance in such a way that Their supporters are greeted by half of the Republican House caucus with applause on the rafters, that is the disgusting sound and the anthem of America's decline.
A magnificent statue towers over these rafters on the Capitol dome: the Statue of Liberty. Armed for battle, she is always in a position of peace, wearing a star helmet and holding a sword in its scabbard by her side. It stands on a globe with the phrase One of many. A slave, Philip Reid, was working on the masterpiece. When it was bought for $ 1,200, it was finally a free man when it went into effect in 1863. Surely he never imagined the Confederation flag waving proudly in its shadow 158 years later.
The statue is facing east. Under her eyes are the doors of the east gate, which were broken in the struggle between reason and deception. The rising sun in front of us. And a decision point for our country.
Out of chaos, peace.
One of many.