TURES COLUMN: America needs you to survive future Jan. 6 insurrections

Published 10:30 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

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A year ago, we witnessed the horrors of Jan. 6, 2021. We’ve been treated to a host of actors, pundits, and other armchair experts who insist that America is “coming apart” or “ready for a Civil War.” It isn’t, though there are some angry people who wish it so. Our goal as citizens of the United States should remain to resist the authoritarian urges of ideologues on both sides.

It was traumatizing to see mobs overrun the U.S. Capitol, chanting death to politicians, many waving non-USA flags, a few thousand extremists who thought their narrow opinions should override the will of the millions who participated in the democratic elections.

But I stayed up that night to watch those same politicians who eluded death because of the bravery of many Capitol Police and security, come right back into the chambers, and do the job they were elected to do.  Meanwhile, there were those in the House who sought to overturn the results on charges that haven’t been supported by a single election audit in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Idaho…the list goes on and on.

I also saw our judiciary, full of conservative, liberal and moderate judges, who have weighed the evidence and refused to cave to the pressure to make rulings on scant results, wild conjectures, adding rulings that reveal how unsupported the charges are.

And there were members of the executive branch, from the Defense Department, the Justice Department, and other institutions who resisted the intimidation and demands to make up a result that didn’t exist, to carry out a coup which we are learning more about in plans revealed by investigative bodies.

Opponents of the rules are still around, hoping to convince you it was just a peaceful stroll through the Capitol, or, in a complete perversion of the truth, an expression of democracy.

And there are those on the left who use the entire Trump Presidency as a rationale to argue that democracy is bad, and we need to replace it with a complete rule by their side. I read a professor’s argument for stopping climate change with authoritarian governance, despite the horrible track record authoritarians on both wings have had for treating the environment.

History is littered with the bones of democracies which could not stand up to the pressure of authoritarians and even totalitarians. The Weimar Republic, Taisho Democracy, the French Third Republic, Italy’s Democratic Regime from the World War I era, the Spanish Republic, and democratic hopes of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in China. I’ve had the fortune, or misfortune, to visit several countries in East Europe whose brand-new democracy that overcame the scourge of Communism couldn’t outlast the autocratic nationalists. I’ve been to Boris Yeltsin’s Russia, with all of its flaws, but still far freer than whatever Vladimir Putin offers. I’ve been to a Turkey during an election where the voters repudiated the country’s president and longtime ruling party, only to have the country’s leader engineer the means to rule as he pleases, taking away the civil liberties of its citizens and jailing those who disagree with him.

America’s republic proved it could survive the kill shot that was attempted last year. But small, well-organized extremes on both sides will do their best to take away your freedom and replace it with their own viewpoint whenever they can.  It’s not just up to the Capitol Police, Congress, the Courts, or even Colonels and Captains to protect this country’s liberty, enshrined in our Constitution. It’s primarily your job as well to resist these undemocratic impulses. Each of those other free societies fell because too many left it up to someone else to do that job.