An attempted legislative coup d’é·tat preceded the mob action that overran the so-called “People’s House” in the nation’s capital. The mob was commissioned by the occupant of the White House, Donald Trump, but senators like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, and House members like Kevin McCarthy and Kevin Nunes, are as culpable as Trump. I do not know the law but if individuals that broke into the US Capital building are subject to arrest and trial, I do know that morally, those men and women in power suits who make their living from taxes and who incited the mob with their rhetoric and legislative tricks, should be also.
Let us be clear about the refusal to accept the results of an election. The refusal to accept the election results of 1860 instigated the Civil War. Lincoln received 39.65% of the popular vote and 59.4% of the Electoral College. (There were four candidates because the Democratic Party was split between a northern and a southern candidate. The other two parties were new, only the second election for Republicans and the only time the Constitutional Union party ever appeared). Secession was the South’s response to an election they would not accept, and Civil War was Lincoln’s response to secession.
A nation, if it wishes to remain a union, cannot allow leaders and partisans to refuse to accept an election that proceeded openly and fairly. It is not a talking point or negotiation. It is an act of coercion where acceptance is not given. That is, if the nation wishes to remain a union.
There are too many elements of Trump & Company’s attempted insurrection against the majority of the American people to name or comment on so soon afterward. Historians and social scientists will have a field day with it. But some aspects of this whole trauma beg to be noticed now:
- America fears Black bodies more than White ones, and treats White protesters differently than Black and Brown ones – even when the later are peaceful. The differences were held up on painful display all through 2020.
- America fears leftist agitation and generally ignores right-wing revolts.This is so obvious that it is likely multiple examples have already come into your mind.
- America is not a shinning city on a hill, so let’s just stop spouting that worn-out, egocentric, and blatantly false mythology. Just because Reagan said it (in a campaign ad no less) doesn’t make it true.
- 74 million Americans voted for Trump, after witnessing four years of carnage in the White House. We are not who we think we are. We are not what we think we are. We have long been in denial of the cancer that is killing us: Metastasized racism, classism, and consumeristic individualism. Whatever treatment plan is indicated must begin with brutal self-honesty.
Finally, a note to those members of the controlling class who are national legislators and media personalities. You have been speaking about the “People’s House” as if it were a sacred place that had been violated with the touch of uncouth and undeserving people. You are doing this in same way you have wrapped the military in a blanket of sanctified praise and honor, keeping the darkness and evil that lurks in both of those institutions beyond reproach. The corruption and stink of hierarchical religion has been splayed open, revealing its cathedrals and lesser buildings to be remnants of excess that were built on the backs of congregations and to contain unwarranted wealth and sinister clergy. It is your turn.
There is nothing sacred about the dome that covers an untold history of corruption, self-enrichment, colonialist greed and deceit, capitalist lobbying, and disregard for equity, justice, and peace. If you want the respect and awe of a nation’s people then instigate meaningful reform and a broad truth and reconciliation process that lifts the veil on government complicity with Native genocide, slavery, and racists laws. In short, lead. Lead with truth and clear moral integrity.
Timothy Cunningham says
Powerful writing Cam. Thank you for sharing this. It is an ugly time in this country right now, but also a time of birth, with possibility. Take care.
Cam Miller says
I agree with you Tim, we have marvelous opportunities ahead. Be well, stay safe!
Kate Harrington says
Whew! That was a blast – much needed.
Mary Lawthets says
Well said, Cam. Let those who have ears listen at least I hope and pray they will listen
Cam Miller says
I have big ears!