Essay on the 2021 US Capitol Attack
Holy Mother of God! What caused the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol? It didn’t come from foreign terrorists. It came from US citizens. Some were active and inactive military veterans who vowed to uphold the law and defend the Nation.
Watching them on national television turned my stomach. It crushed my heart because I’m a veteran like them. I swore that same oath of allegiance to defend and protect this country.
Some in the assault threatened bodily harm to members of Congress. Some fatally harmed or injured the men and women protecting the Capitol–some damaged government property—Washington Post Inactive Photos of January 6 Attack.
How much blame should fall on them? The courts will have to decide. But the instigator, a serving president, Donald Trump, should be held accountable too. He got their blood up with his “Stop the Steal!” inflammatory rhetoric. In addition to any punishment the court hands out, I wish those charged and convicted could also be required to pass the Citizenship test.
What’s to be gained? Hopefully, insight and balance between Trump’s one-sided and anti-democratic views and the multitude of opinions in a democracy. Its essence depends on give-and-take, compromise, tolerance, and respect not only for the law but also its constitution, institutions, and traditions—otherwise, authoritarianism rules. Citizens who live in a democracy must uphold their end and act according to the defined and shared responsibilities of a free society.
Upon leaving Independence Hall, where he and other delegates passed the US Constitution in 1787, someone asked Ben Franklin what kind of government he had formed. “A Republic,” he said, “if you can keep it.” The attack on the Capitol has put his reply before those of us living today. I now share Franklin’s doubt.
Photo credit: The Washington Post