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There is great rage and anger out there all across America. It exploded on January 6th in our nation’s capital when a very small number of the massive and a completely peaceful protest crowd broke into the U.S. Capitol building and rampaged through it. Sadly resulting in the death of a young woman who was apparently shot and killed by authorities protecting the building.
Since the events of January 6th, government officials, politicians, and the news media have used the term “insurrection” to describe what happened, lumping in the tens of thousands of ardent and peaceful protesters with the small group who violated the Capitol building. Curiously a term that has been missing for most of 2020 when American cities were under attack and burned to the ground by real insurgents.
The investigation will ultimately result in determining whether or not those who incited and participated in the rampage were genuine supporters of President Trump who converged on Washington to express their support for him, and their displeasure with what they view as a compromised election process, or whether or not they were ANTIFA or other leftist thugs who were posing as Trump supporters to create havoc and bring discredit.
Regardless of who they were, the bottom line is that those who broke into the Capitol building were no longer outraged and angry American citizens voicing their displeasure at elected officials; they became nothing more than criminals. Just like the ANTIFA and BLM thugs terrorizing American cities all across the land last summer, and still ongoing in Portland and Seattle today.
What happened in Washington is only a symptom of what has been building up in America for decades. Trump was able to tap into those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Though not very eloquently, he gave voice to the voiceless. Much as those of us who write opinion columns try to do with varying degrees of success. We try to stimulate thought and discussion, but we flatter ourselves if we think we have much impact.
For decades now, Americans have been bombarded by 24-hour cable news on television. Americans once got their news at six o’clock every evening reported to them by Walter Cronkite or Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Occasionally there would be a guest invited to offer an editorial opinion.
What we have now is hours and hours of talking heads offering their opinions and minimal actual news reporting anymore. The 24-hour cable news programs have become extensions of whatever political party they happen to align with. And make no mistake, there is a definite political bias exhibited by many of the television news personalities.
Does President Trump share some of the blame for what happened yesterday? Absolutely. Through his rhetoric, he has created the opportunity for the kind of behavior we saw yesterday in Washington, DC, to happen, especially in this highly contentious and volatile political atmosphere.
Think back to the days of his primary appearances in 2016 when he encouraged his followers to “take him out and beat the hell out of him” when someone would try to disrupt his campaign rallies. While many laughed it off, this is the kind of rhetoric that incites others.
No, President Trump did not specifically encourage anyone to storm the Capitol building yesterday. And most of his supporters in attendance understood that. They were there to peaceably express their support for him and their displeasure with the November election outcome.
But the underlying grievances have much more to do with that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Trump got at least seventy-four million votes, not because everyone liked his personality. He got that many votes because he gave voice to a large percentage of Americans who feel forgotten by the career politicians in Washington, DC, and the seats of government in all fifty states.
Americans want their elected officials to work together to do things for the good of the people—all of the people, not just special interest groups who pump money into their campaign coffers.
January 6th needs to be a learning experience for all of us. Democrats, Republicans, the news media, politicians, and citizens. The hatred and invective heaped upon Republicans and Trump supporters by Democrats and the news media need to stop.
Just as it needs to end coming from the other side of the aisle. And opinion columnists certainly need to be included and mindful of what, if any, influence they have. Words matter, what we write, and how we talk to each other matters.
President Trump will leave office with an enormous number of accomplishments in just four years. Unfortunately, his presidency will be tarnished by what happened on January 6th, whether or not he personally was responsible.
President Trump is just a symptom of what is ailing our country. All politicians from both major parties would do well to learn from this and return a voice to the forgotten people of America.
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