Make no mistake about the difference between rioting and mutiny.
The event that occurred last week in Washington, DC was not a riot, but an insurrection. Plain and simply defined as a violent uprising against an authority or government
As I stood and watched the events unfold, I was angry, sad and in total disbelief. I continually asked myself how this could be happening in the United States of America. It reminded me of a scene from a political coup attempt in another country.
Not here, not us, not American citizens!
But it was.
Months before the election, before any votes were cast, Donald Trump told his followers that if he lost, the election would be rigged, and its results could not possibly be valid.
And so, they believed and trusted what he told them.
Since the Nov. 8, 2020 election, in which he lost by over 7 million votes, he continually told his pack that the election was in fact stolen from him and them.
And still they believed because he said it was true.
As numerous courts threw out the lawsuits for lack of evidence of fraud, he blamed the judges and courts. As the votes were counted and recounted, he blamed election officials regardless of party affiliation for not finding him enough votes to overturn the election. He blamed the voting machines which he said were pre-programmed to change votes from Trump to Biden. All of which not true.
His supporters were not swayed by lack of evidence and bought the pack of lies he was selling them.
Vice-President Mike Pence had the responsibility of presiding over the certification of the election results. Trump falsely claimed Pence had the power to overturn the results and declare states re-vote. All of which was constitutionally incorrect. Pence issued a statement saying just that.
Last week it was time for Congress to do its constitutionally bound duty and certify the election results that would make Joe Biden the next President of the United States.
Trump called his faithful followers to rally with him in Washington, D.C. in protest of the certification process.
As they gathered, he told the mob to “walk down to the capitol” and urged his supporters to “fight” for what was stolen from him and them.
And so, having been given their marching orders, they complied.
After all, they had been told since last fall that this would be the result and it looked and sounded just like he had told them it would.
While members of Congress were conducting their business, the pro-Trump crowd fought through police barricades, stormed the capitol and entered lawmakers’ chambers. All the while asking, “where are they?”
The certification process was stopped, and Vice President Pence and members of Congress were evacuated.
An hour into the siege, Trump tweeted the protestors should “remain peaceful” and that he loved them.
Joe Biden challenged Trump to put an end to the siege. Instead of addressing the crowd directly, he released a video once again reminding them that even though the election was stolen from them, they needed to go home. He called them “great patriots” who were simply upset that an election was “viciously stripped away”.
His message was a reminder of what had been “stolen” from them. All those months of being told the election was rigged, the courts were wrong and election officials were involved in the fraud drove their resentment to a new level. There was only one thing left to do.
The insurrection turned deadly and five people died, including a police officer who was simply doing his job to protect and serve.
We have been politically divided before, but not to the point of a political coup. No political figure should ever be allowed to threaten our democratic process.
The hero of the day was Vice-President Mike Pence. He stood up for our constitution and reconvened Congress to complete the work of certifying the results. We owe him our gratitude for his service.
There is talk of invoking the 25th amendment and regurgitated impeachment proceedings. None of that will reverse the shameful and anarchistic actions of a man who stoked the fires of sedition with his rhetoric.
The ultimate responsibility for the lawlessness that occurred in our capitol last week rests with those who participated and committed the acts. After all, they are proudly posting their selfies on Facebook and Instagram.
Trump may not be responsible, but he is complicit.
Our democracy is strong, our election process is secure, and the constitutional process prevailed once again. There should be consequences if anyone attempts to destroy our belief and trust in any of those.
The question of what should happen to Trump is irrelevant. Who Cares? He needs to just go away.
Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.