If Trump and His Enablers Are Not Held Accountable.
There are serious consequences for the nation if Republicans are allowed to get away with their efforts to delegitimize this past election.
While the nation continues to learn about and reflect upon what happened on January 6th, when Trump-supporting white supremacists and neo-nazis stormed the capitol after the President’s incitement prompting congress to be evacuated and hours-long standoffs with police, I’ve found myself considering what will happen if those responsible for inciting what happened do not face consequences for their actions. As the significance and broader implications of what occurred sets in, I keep thinking about what Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries said just days before it happened.
In response to President Trump’s recorded phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State where he urged him to find the number of votes that would overturn the results of the election and implicitly threatened him and his lawyer if they would not go through with it, Hakeem Jeffries — one of the highest ranking Democrats in the House of Representatives — was asked about whether or not the President would be impeached for the phone call. Answering, Jeffries said:
“I have not viewed the transcript. We’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20th.”
We’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward.
I was nearly fourteen years old the first time I heard a politician utter essentially the same phrase. The first time was when Barack Obama was expressing his hesitancy to investigate whether or not the Bush administration had violated any laws with their torture programs during the Iraq war. The forward, not backward mantra also happened to be how Obama approached Wall Street and big bank executives after they crashed almost the entire global economy, and used taxpayer bail out money to give themselves bonus’ in the aftermath.
Now here we are, with progressive members of congress afraid to shelter in place with some of their right wing colleagues during a breach of the capitol because they’re worried that they would share their location with rioters carrying guns, confederate flags, and zip ties.
At what point is the Democratic party going to realize that there is no moving forward without accountability?
The President of the United States sent a mob of supporters to attack the capitol, and sitting members of congress in his corner not only have refused to back down or acknowledge his loss of the November election, one took the added step of referring to it as 1776, welcoming the intimidation and threats to the lives of her colleagues. Even after the riots to stop the ceremonial certification of the election resulted in multiple deaths, Senators Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and others were still attempting to challenge the results.
This type of behavior doesn’t happen overnight. This brazen disdain for what’s left of our already fragile Democracy and an open, comfortable effort to subvert the will of the people no matter the cost is what occurs when Republican lawmakers are confident that there will be no consequences for their behavior. It’s to be expected when for months, if not years, even decades, the Republican party has demanded that their whims be catered to and respected and treated as legitimate, nothing more than a slight “difference of opinion” as opposed to an abject refusal to accept reality, and these demands have largely been met. Can we really be surprised that Trump felt comfortable inciting a riot that put the life of his own Vice President in jeopardy when he has spent his not only his entire Presidency, but life in general able to avoid any serious accountability?
It should go without saying that impeachment is frankly nothing more than a bandaid on a gushing wound, considering everyone else involved in what happened not only on January 6th, but in the weeks and months leading up to it. If Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Lauren Boebert, Tommy Tuberville, and all the others who helped to incite this mess because it was in their personal political best interests to do so continue to walk the halls of power, what exactly are they going to be expecting to get away with next? If those who did their very best to light the democratic process on fire because it did not produce the result they wanted are still allowed to hold office, then how exactly are we moving forward?
Quite frankly, the damage is already done, and there is no recovery if those who intentionally inflicted it continue to be in a position where they’re able to do it again and again the moment they deem it advantageous to do so.