There has been much written and even more discussed about whether or not Americans of different political stripes are living in two alternate realities. It sometimes seems that way. If Democrats believe Biden won and Republicans such as those who marched on the Capitol think that Trump really won (74% of Republicans think Biden’s win is illegitimate), there are two realities and only one can be right.
Lost in the contest for president were the two contests for the heart and soul of the traditional American political parties.
While David Brooks makes a strong case for “Biden Optimism” in the second article above, the more cogent points are made by Astead W. Herndon in the first piece about the aftermath of the 2017 white supremacist demonstration and riot in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Mr. Biden’s message of unity not withstanding, there still needs to be some accountability for the riot in Charlottesville and the one in Washington, DC on January 6. The Nazis cannot go unpunished this time.
President Biden’s (boy, does that sound good!) inaugural address was short on platitudes, but long on message. It was a message of unity. If there was ever a president who understood personal hardships more than Biden, it certainly has not been so since JFK or FDR. The long game is clear. We will need to pull together if we are to conquer the virus, overcome its economic destruction, address systemic racism, and reclaim our position of leadership in the world.
It was not until I read this op-ed by Paul Krugman in The New York Times, not my favorite editorialist or economist despite his having won the Nobel Prize, that I was able to identify what has been so upsetting to me in the weeks since Joe Biden’s victory. Why did the outcome of what appeared to be the most organized, civil and peaceful election in history with more participants than ever before despite the coronavirus pandemic become so controversial?
The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion page on January 6 had three relevant articles to my point today. It is essentially that we have a federalist system of power distribution between the central government and the states and this was all for a reason.
The conduct of the President of the United States and his followers on January 6 was both sedition and an insurrection. Whether or not they were cause and effect is for the Senate to determine now. Many members of the House got up to say as much on January 13, a week after the riot as the chamber debated an article of impeachment that passed and was signed by the Speaker.
I am of two minds on this.
There are short-term and long-term goals here.
The short-term goal is to get Donald Trump out of the White House as soon as possible so that he cannot do any more damage. The question is the definition of soon enough and whether or not that is even possible.
Readers of this blog will know that the writer is no fan of Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). Last year The New York Times ran an op-ed by Senator Cotton extolling the virtues of the use of military force to quell riots in the streets of our cities. He was specifically referring to the looting and vandalism that followed the George Floyd murder, but his point was that order must be maintained if civilization is supposed to thrive and our people are to be kept safe.
This is not the blog I thought I would be running today, January 8, 2021. In fact, it’s not a blog I thought I would be running—ever.
On January 6, 2021, a day that will be historic for certain, an unruly mob of Trump supporters, goaded by a sitting president to riot and attempt a coup because they did not like the result of a fair and legitimate election stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.