The more that I reflect on the January 6, 2021 attempted coup by the mob of crazed Trump supporters who labeled themselves patriots while they killed one police officer and injured many others as they stormed the United States capitol, I thank God for the silver lining that this ominous black cloud in American history contained; failure. It was an attempted coup. I regularly go through the same cycle again and again: disbelief, disappointment, frustration, fear, anger, stress, exhaustion…and back to disbelief. It is an involuntary thing that is brought on by the trauma of witnessing the Republican Party shamelessly and relentlessly press forward in supporting Donald J. Trump’s ‘big lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen from him. It does not last long because I always consciously quickly discard it.
And each time that I have reflected on the horrible and shameful event of January 6th and passed through this cycle I see more clearly how fortunate that we Americans are to still have our fragile democracy; to still be moving forward with this Great American Experiment! I see how extremely close that The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America was to pulling off a successful coup d’état: the margin between America remaining a democracy or becoming an authoritarian country was paper-thin!
As I reflect on the attempted coup, the things that occurred during it and the things that continue to occur in real-time since then, it is definitely emotionally painful. It is emotionally painful to the point to where it actually feels like physical pain. That is why, as previously stated, I quickly discard it. It is extremely hard to believe that those that we elected to protect Americans and America against all enemies foreign and domestic would turn their back on the oath that they placed their hand on the Bible and swore to in order to take office. It is even harder to believe that an entire political party would do this! How can personal political ambition hold such aggregate sway over an entire party especially when to choose political ambition over their sworn oath presents an existential threat to the American democracy?!
I know that there are a lot of other Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – who feel the same kind of pain that I feel. I can see this in the faces of many of the cable news reporters and their guests. These cable news hosts, being the professionals that they are, many times try to disguise the pain that they are feeling and not overemphasize the severity of the January 6th event and the overwhelming danger of the political games that the entire Republican Party is continuing to play. They try valiantly to accentuate the positive with respect to what Democrats are doing to address the attempted coup and to prevent the same thing from occurring again. And although they do not go so far as to eliminate the negative by avoiding acknowledging what Democrats are not doing – because they understand the pain and fear that the majority of the American people are experiencing, they do everything that they can to protect those Americans’ physical and mental health without misreporting or underreporting the news.
It’s hard work to watch Senators Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, John Cornyn, Lindsay Graham and many other senators like them completely forsake democracy. These were politicians who – in the past, even if you disagreed with them on the issues, you felt like there was at least some degree of principle, honor, sincerity and commitment involved in the positions they held: now, principle, honor, sincerity and commitment are completely lacking. There is no decency! The only thing that counts is power…and staying in power at all costs!
As far as members of the House of Representatives is concerned, I intentionally excluded mentioning Leader McCarthy and the other Republican politicians in the House along with the senators mentioned above because I am convinced that Leader McCarthy’s word was never worth anything and that he was never an honorable politician. He was always strictly about Kevin McCarthy and the Republican Party; emphasis on Kevin McCarthy, because his personal ambition has always held priority. Therefore, although he and his cohorts are just as deep into choosing ‘the big lie’ and Party (Trump?) over their oath and democracy, I still could not bring myself to mention Leader McCarthy’s name in the same breath as that of the aforementioned senators.
That notwithstanding, the ease and lack of patriotic emotion with which all of these Republican senators and House members deal with the metaphorical fire that encapsulates America’s fragile democracy and the existential threat to it – which is only exacerbated by their disregard to their oath of office and their lack of decency, is astonishing. Politics is indeed a tough profession that is only for those of a particular ilk. It is definitely not for everyone.
I have always been aware of those people who are cynical when it comes to politics but I never really thought before that politicians could make me more skeptical of their profession than I already am. Surprise! The January 6, 2021 attempted coup and the things that have transpired and continue to take place since then have been a real eye-opener for me. But unlike those cynical folks who eschew politics and find it so distasteful that they refuse to participate in it in any way, fashion or form, I have always done my civic duty and will continue to do so. That is, if we can preserve our fragile democracy! And right now, things don’t look all that promising.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line