Capitol Mall Washington DC 091110

Statement On Today’s Coup Attempt and Mob Violence at the U.S. Capitol

Today is one of the most disgraceful days in the history of our republic.

Can anyone look upon what our nation has become over the last four years and see any connection to the 245 years of American democratic norms, in times of peace and war, that preceded it?

Many of us saw this coming. We tried to warn our neighbors against giving a man like the president — enabled by a array of ignorant, incompetent bootlickers and apologists — the reins of power.

Just days ago I wrote about the Constitutional Crisis we’ve all seen hurtling at us since even before the election.

With the constant assault of right-wing misinformation that permeates our media environment and has fractured families along political and social faultlines for decades now, is it any wonder so many of our neighbors have grown increasingly confused, bewildered, and fearful as they struggle to stay financially afloat and healthy, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Today’s terrorism did not occur in a vacuum. It’s been enabled over the last 40 years by well-funded campaigns of intentional deception to politically divide and conquer, long-standing attempts to paint government as an enemy rather than a representative reflection of ourselves, and to deny that we have the power to improve our nation in the name of a more perfect union.

The Greatest Generation went overseas to fight fascism and threats to democracy like those we’ve seen today. Our nation has, tragically, twisted itself into a pretzel to inoculate it from threats of foreign terrorism in the years since the 9/11 attacks.

But in 245 years our nation has never been subjected to a coup attempt of anything resembling the magnitude of what is occurring at this moment in Washington D.C. — literally in the halls of Congress. It is a disgrace. That it is being urged on by the sitting President of the United States is, even after four years of his despicable administration, astonishing. To find anything comparable we Americans would have to go back to the conspiracy to murder President Lincoln and members of his cabinet at the end of the Civil War in the spring of 1865.

Those involved with today’s sedition may be fighting for Donald Trump. But we will fight for our nation, for decency, for equality, for equity, and for the institutions and norms that, while under exceptional stress, continue to serve our nation — they need care.

Our Founding Fathers were many things, but in their wisdom and humility they built into our nation’s founding documents the ability for Americans to continue to improve our nation with an apparatus that is only as effective as those we elect to represent us as its caretakers.

These will be trying days and years ahead. Democracy requires eternal vigilance, and it demands it no more so than at this moment. We will show those who try to poison and undo our nation some spine, and we would do well to remind them we are all Americans, bound together under a common identity and cause.

May you and your loved ones be safe and well.

For more, read my piece The Constitutional Crisis We All Saw Coming from this past Saturday.

Photos of the Washington Mall and the interior dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. © 2010 Tommy Hough, all rights reserved.