What’s your opinion about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021? Did you see it coming? So many have said they did; however, this is my column. Did I see it coming? NO!
I’ve observed demonstrations through the years with vandals looting and setting fires while others were merely expressing their First Amendment rights.
With an intense interest in current affairs since my days at Woodward High School in Toledo under the tutelage of Camille Savage, I have followed the news. I visited the monuments to our great country for the first time at age 16, courtesy of the Toledo Council on World Affairs.
When I awakened on January 7th, I asked myself for a second if I had dreamed what I had seen on television. And as more stills and film footage were revealed, I became more and more appalled.
Some of the insurgents were looking for Vice President Pence and had a noose ready to hang him for following his Constitutional mandate. And some sought Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, calling her a b****. I saw a law enforcement officer screaming as he was being crushed, and I heard later that a fire extinguisher was used to murder Brian Sicnick, another defender of the safety of our elected representatives.
I’ll always see and hear glass breaking and shouts as the mob entered the Capitol while members of our Congress were scrambling to be relocated to more secure places.
The Nazi shirts that proclaimed that the murder of six million Jews was inadequate stung deeply as I thought of a Jewish friend who once said, “I’ve known since I was 8 years old that people wanted me dead, but in spite of knowing that, I have lived a good life.” The shouts of the “n” word appalled me, and later I said to one of my African American friends, “I am so sorry for what happened at the Capitol.”
And I kept waiting and waiting for help from law enforcement with handling this insurrection only to hear Maryland Governor Larry Hogan indicate that he had not been allowed to send in the National Guard in a timely manner, that he was not authorized.
I also kept waiting to hear from President Trump, for him to send help even as I witnessed American flags with his name emblazoned on them or flags proclaiming TRUMP in large letters being used to harm law enforcement. I felt the MAGA followers would listen to him, even as some in the crowd felt that he, his son Don, Jr., and Giuliani had encouraged this illegal dissent.
Days later as we hear of planned demonstrations at the Capitol and at all 50 U.S. capitols and other Federal buildings, I want President Trump to step up and say, “Stop! Just stop as this has gone too far”- even as talk of a second impeachment or evoking the 25th Amendment or using Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment or censuring him or prosecuting him fly around the news channels. But he refuses to accept any blame and continues with threats of “Be careful what you ask for” before he headed to Alamo, Texas, to speak about the border wall- a wall with only 50 miles of new fence and with lots of older fencing that has been repaired.
Frankly, I’m not only frightened, I am also tired of all of this. I want to trust the FBI, the CIA, local law enforcement, the military- even as I recognized that all organizations have issues that are in serious need of attention. I’m worried about the looming threats against all 50 states even as the FBI has told 12 of the worst of the domestic terrorists that they are being watched and better stay at home.
I want to live. I want my family members and others to live. I don’t want all my veteran friends who’ve placed themselves in harm’s way and have seen their friends die in combat to say to me as one Korean War veteran did this weekend, “Vivian, I just can’t talk about this.”
I want Americans to live to get the vaccines that are moving at a snail’s pace while some Republican members of Congress refused to wear masks while sheltering in place with others on January 6th in a small space (Three Democrats in that space have now tested positive for COVID-19). I want the breeches of governmental and business systems to be addressed. I want an acknowledgement that whites will be a minority in 2025 but that we can learn to respect each other regardless of race/ethnicity. I want a return to civility. I want an acknowledgement that the U.S. cannot thumb its nose at other countries, that we need allies. I want more Americans to believe that they can and should respect the rights of other Americans, rights guaranteed by the Constitution and actions of the Supreme Court.
Finally, I believe in law and order while means that punishment must be meted out to those who break the law.
As a college CEO for 15 years, I was able to identify problems, strategize with others on how to address them, and solve most of them. I’ve never been patient, but I know our country is complex, and I can wait as we work together on what this country can become.
For those who embrace some of this destruction, I would ask you how you would feel if this were occurring in a building you, your family, your friends were occupying while doing work on behalf of other Americans in your city or town? And what if they were coming with an intent to kill some of you? What if your mayor had encouraged the assault?