Thoughts by Richard Bleil
As I write this, it’s January 6, the one-year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection. In Washington, D.C. an event has been orchestrated to commemorate the shameful happening featuring a speech by the legitimate President Biden. The event was heavily attended by Democrats (as far as I know a tally was not taken but it was a large turnout), but only three Republican congressional representatives.
One of them has been a vocal critic of the insurrection and former president Trump for his role in at the very least inspiring the shameful event. The other two Republican attendees were present to give comments to the press claiming without evidence that the insurrection was orchestrated by federal agencies and never really happened.
One year ago, Republicans were huddling in fear with Democrats as the insurrectionists rampaged through the Capitol, causing destruction, killing police officers, and looking for people, including the vice president, to execute. Of this there is no doubt. There is also no doubt that these traitors were Trump supporters, but they were so bloodthirsty that, even if a Republican were found in the hall, they could have only hoped that they would be recognized before they were killed.
I can’t say I know what it’s like to cower in fear like these Republicans did. Their own actions lead to the insurrection, but they did realize just how deadly the insurrection was, and yet, today, they are careful to avoid the topic or, at the very least, to avoid condemning it lest they upset our fragile former president Trump. That the vast majority of them avoided today’s ceremony is, in my mind’s eye, proof that in modern politics, party is more important than truth.
And I get it. Republicans fear that they’ll lose supporters if people accept the truth that they were behind the insurrection, so instead of admitting the mistakes that led to the insurrection, they prefer to avoid it hoping people will forget, or tell lies to at least mask the truth. Their politics is more important to them than the truth, shielding the old-guard leaders of the party that frankly need to be replaced anyway. Meanwhile, the participants in the insurrection are dragged into court in ever increasing numbers to stand for their actions, alone despite their belief that they would have the help that Trump had promised to the crowd before the insurrection, much as the Kurds believed President Bush when he promised the US would help them if they stood up to Hussein, but we didn’t then, either.
I’m not saying that the Democrats are any better, but it seems to me that the American people should send a strong message to our so-called “leaders”. This kind of avoidance of the truth, and flat out lies, should never be tolerated. It sickens me that politics has become so divided that party is more important than truth, the good of the people, or even the will of the constituents. Unfortunately, today too many people treat politics like sports. We tend to choose sports teams based on location, or the teams our parents chose without really considering the history of the team or even the current makeup. Once chosen, the decision becomes rock solid, but it shouldn’t be. Although they’ve recently given in, how many people continued to support the Redskins while opposing the name? Why are we so afraid to change our teams?
Our political teams are the same. Republican to the end, but why? I was born Republican because that’s what my father was, but how can I support the current incarnation of the grand old party? How can I support voter suppression efforts when this country is founded on the principle of democracy? How can I support lost rights of women to control their own bodies when the Declaration of Independence clearly supported life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all? How can I support traitors?
Parties are fallible. This is why today I do not align myself with either. During the rise of the Jim Crow laws, it was the Democratic party supporting suppression. Today it’s the Republicans. So how could I align concretely with either? I am an independent thinker, which is more challenging than to align with a party. To be truly independent, you have to think for yourself rather than taking up a party tagline. Yes, Trump called for the insurrection. Yes, Republican representatives supported that action. Yes, there is an assault in the US constitution by the right wing. Yes, it’s time to call them out on it.