The sight of Trump loyalists storming the U.S. Capitol might have been shocking but their intention—to enforce white supremacy and deny black people political power–was not surprising.
The president launched his presidential bid by questioning Barack Obama’s legitimacy as an American, and he is ending his presidency with a failed attempt to disenfranchise Black and brown voters in swing states.
And yet, Trump did not beget this moment in time.
The Trumpers who desecrated the Capitol drank from the well of bigotry that is a cornerstone of the nation’s body politics. The Tea Partiers who demonized President Obama drank from it. The Dixiecrats who opposed the Civil Rights Movement drank from it, and so did the Redeemers who fought against Reconstruction.
This well never runs dry because we are always making bargains and excuses to maintain its viability.
Even now, after Trumpers defiled the chamber of our democracy–hoisting Confederate flags, forcing our elected leaders to cut and run, killing a police officer and causing the death of four other individuals–bargains and excuses are still being made to downplay the dire consequences of aiding and abetting white supremacy.
Alarmingly, Republicans are still unwilling to pull the switch on the insurrectionists’ leader, the nation’s president and commander in chief.
They won’t pull the switch because Trump gave them the blueprint on keeping a party bereft of principles in power.
And so, hours after this deadly attack on our democracy, six Republicans in the Senate and 138 in the House voted to overturn the results of a free and fair election that denied a disgraced president a second term.
Their reticence should be a blinking red light to those who think vanquishing Trump and installing Joe Biden as president will restore and strengthen our democracy.
It should be a warning to president-elect Biden who appears to believe that the solution to the country’s divisiveness is for Democrats to make peace with “the other side” by moving on.
But the way to make peace with the other side is not to appease them.
Sen Mitt. Romney of Utah and former Massachusetts governor hinted at it Wednesday when he scoffed at his colleague’s insistence on auditing the 2020 elections result “in order to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen.”
“No congressional audit is ever going to convince these voters, particularly when the president will continue to say the election was stolen,” Mr. Romney said.
“The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That’s the burden. That’s the duty of leadership. The truth is Vice president-elect Biden won the election.”
But telling the truth goes beyond the 2020 election’s results. We should tell them the whole truth.
We should also tell his followers that Trump’s presidency was never about saving them from so-called “liberal “elitists,” that it was always about stirring the worst in them to enrich himself and his family.
We should tell them Trump is an American terrorist because that too is the truth.