I am shaken, and I like to think I don’t shake easily.
I am moved to a deep and profound sadness, and I don’t like to think I am prone to melancholy.
But I am also emboldened and determined that what we saw today, the overwhelming evidence presented by the House Managers in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, shall not, must not, be a portent for where this country goes. Rather it must be a wake-up call to centuries of injustice and false grievances that a would-be despot, bolstered by no shortage of confederates, weaponized and catapulted into an assault on American democracy. As I write these words I still cannot quite believe what really happened. Nevertheless, there can be no denying the reality.
I have tried to get into a rhythm for these Steady posts with a morning publishing schedule. But I feel strongly that the events of today warrant an evening edition.
January 6 was a coordinated attack. It was built atop a foundation of lies doled out with precision over days and weeks. From a different perspective, you might say this was months, years, and even generations in the making. Will it be the last gasps of a discredited white supremacy and the other forces of intolerance that weaken our nation? Will we be able to successfully fight off the lies and propaganda? Or will this be part another major strike of the sledgehammer that’s fracturing our democratic experiment?
I firmly believe that the vast majority of American citizens will see this clearly for what it is. But our voices are on the sidelines for now, other than the pressure of conscience we can bring to bear on the 100 senators who will stand in judgement. That these same women and men were also in the crosshairs of the murderous mob and that the trial is taking place at the scene of the crime, makes the events transpiring today on Capitol Hill even more surreal.
- For the senators, there can be no hiding from this historic decision… silence or procedural excuses equal complicity.
- For the rioters, there can be no leniency… terrorists are inspired by weakness.
- For the instigators, there can be no immunity… to drum up a mob hellbent on violent injustice is to encourage insurrection.
- For those in the right-wing media who aided and abetted the lies, there can be no normalizing… their role in setting the stage for the insurrection is cemented by hours of television and thousands of tweets.
- For those who have dabbled in the false equivalence framework so prevalent in Washington, this must be the end of that… there can be no comparison between the actions of the previous president and his enablers, abetters, and cheerleaders, and any “other side.” Thankfully, I think many in the press have long ago realized this and have reported accordingly.
Some might argue that this is a rush to judgement, that the president’s counsel has a right to present their case. That is indeed true. But you would have to be willfully ignorant, or cynical to the point of malevolence, to not see and hear with clarity the evidence as it stands.
I have seen my country brought low before. I have reported on the injustices and inequalities that have weakened our national purpose since its inception. I witnessed cowardice and complicity. But never before have I seen all of these undercurrents so focused in a single event.
We have clarity. We have proof. We need accountability. And we need a justice that will ring forth for the generations that follow. We cannot speak of unifying this nation without reckoning with all that is tearing it apart.