IF I HAD my way, every single person that was in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday would be tried for treason.
No, not just the group that breached the fence, made its way into the Capitol and wound up in the House and Senate chambers, but all who were in attendance.
In a lynch mob, you don’t just try the guy who kicks the horse out from the victim; you charge and try all in attendance. They are guilty by association.
This country is in big trouble. Twice in eight months, there have been riots—in the summer by people who were basically Democrats and now by a Republican mob that stormed our seat of government.
Rational people have seen it coming. I have preached the sermon in a number of columns and one was even yanked by editors who apparently felt I was being too harsh.
We live in a divided country where there seems to be no middle ground. The far left would change history, banish the police and turn America into a socialist state.
The far right, which hangs its hat on patriotism, would interfere with due process in a presidential election and take over the U.S. Capitol, as has happened many times in banana republics.
Some Democrats rioted after the 2016 election, and some Republicans rioted after the 2020 election. Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around.
And sore losers were behind both incidents. Donald Trump did little to control the mob that wound up in the Capitol, and Hillary Clinton did little to stop the looting and vandalism after she lost in 2016.
Both candidates claimed they were cheated, but Clinton let it go. Trump fights on. And a sitting president exerts a strong influence, especially over those who view him almost as a god.
During Wednesday’s 11 a.m. speech, when Trump repeated to protestors his assertion that he had won the election, he fanned the flames and incited the riot that followed. Those who stormed the Capitol apparently felt that with the president of the United States behind them, they could do as they wanted.
And what they wanted was to stop the Electoral College count that was going on inside, which they did for a time. In essence, they were spitting on the very Constitution that they have long screamed they hold dear. That Electoral College count is guaranteed in the Constitution.
The pictures and video of guns drawn, glass being smashed, guards being chased up stairwells, offices being vandalized and ransacked and idiots, some dressed like it was Halloween, making themselves at home in congressional chambers have been shown around the world.
Add these images to those of looting and burning this summer, and America is not a pretty picture. We look like a Third World country where there is no law or any respect for anything, especially our government.
Wednesday’s violence was perpetrated on a lie. Trump didn’t win the election as he continues to claim. Multiple vote counts prove he lost. Voting machines weren’t programmed against him and election officials, many of his own party, didn’t throw away votes.
You tell the lie so many times and you start to believe it. “We won in a landslide.” “There was widespread fraud.” “This election was stolen from us.” Trump’s followers were gullible enough to believe what he said.
I have argued with friends about this and demanded that they show me the proof.
“Well, I saw on social media …” or “just watch Fox News …” or “it’s right there for everyone to see” were their answers. In other words, they were blowing smoke, giving credence to the fantasies of a man who apparently lives in a different dimension, a man who doesn’t believe anything except what he says.
Those who marched to the Capitol on Wednesday knew they were protesting at a crucial moment of the election process, and they wanted to somehow influence that vote in Trump’s favor. They may have started out as a group of protestors, but they ended up a mob, breaking glass doors with wooden flagpoles and taking a swing at democracy with the very banner they claim to hold dear.
It was a sad day in America’s history, and may mark the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
And what of those Republican congressmen who objected to some states’ vote counts? They were, in effect, going against the will of the people.
We live in an era where it is all about the party. Well, maybe the party is over. There are those who are fed up with the Democratic Party and those who can’t stand the Republican Party.
Maybe it is time for two new parties to emerge.
But one of them should not be the Trump Party. America has had enough of that man.
Columnist Donnie Johnston lives in Culpeper County. Email him at email@example.com.