Those who were mere children in World War II grew up in Boston with an irrepressible spirit of patriotism. We worried about the safety of our relatives and neighbors who risked their lives for us in the war zones. Many women left their homes every day to manufacture military equipment at the Watertown arsenal.
We believed that the two most sacrosanct buildings in America were the White House, the residence and personal office of the U.S. president, and the Capitol, the home base of the U.S. Congress. No patriotic American citizen would consider damaging either facility. One might expect that protestors would gather outside the Capitol to make their differences known to members of Congress, but the special status of the building would not be violated.
By World War II standards, Donald Trump would not be considered to be a patriot. For his own political purposes, he incited his supporters to invade the Capitol in order to prevent the U.S. Congress from approving the Electoral College certifications from several states. Trump has insisted that the election is being stolen. Unfortunately, many of his followers believe this, even though Trump has lost more than 60 court cases in which he has asserted that there have been voting improprieties that stole the election from him. However, he has never produced adequate evidence to support his allegation.
With such a dismal result from the courts on his assertion of stolen voting results, Trump’s only alternative was a coup by preventing the declaration of the winner. Trump called for his supporters to disrupt the approval proceeding in the Capitol. He addressed the group, but he did not personally lead the insurrection.
The result was a massive assault on the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives were exposed to danger because the security forces were inadequate to control a rabid mob of the size that showed up.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. commented on the inadequate security, “We have always recognized the difference between the police and security presence when Black and brown citizens protest, and that provided when white citizens do the same…”
The National Association states further that “those of [Trump’s] official supporters, politicians, lawyers, religious and corporate leaders, and all others who have supported his insane, maniacal, and dangerous power-mad attempts to retain an office that the citizens of this country have now denied him, are no less complicit.”
A group of Republican senators refusing to accept Joe Biden as president includes Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Kennedy of Louisiana and James Lankford of Oklahoma. There was some talk about expelling them from the Senate for being guilty of sedition. However, that effort subsided after the approvals for Biden were obtained in a late-night session.
This conflict demonstrates a fundamental flaw in the political structure of the country. The Founding Fathers expected that affluent white men would run the country’s affairs. Judging from the pedestrian level of some of those Republicans protesting on Jan. 6, that arrangement is satisfactory to them, as long as Blacks are omitted. The election outcome in Georgia with one Black man, Raphael Warnock, and one white man, Jon Ossoff, being elected to the U.S. Senate, demonstrates that Democrats support, instead, a multiracial democracy.
Clearly, the attitudes and participation of the citizens will determine what the nature of politics will be. However, it would be helpful to have a national public service or similar program that will inculcate in every American a spirit of patriotism to compete with the egocentrism and rank competitiveness so much a part of the national culture.