Trump Should Learn Accountability Through Impeachment - a Veteran Perspective
Trump and Allies Enabled MAGA Cult
The images of the US Capitol Building being attacked, vandalized, and calls for harming, even killing, members of our government are still clear in my mind. I did not need to watch the video presented at Trump's impeachment trial to be reminded, but I watched it anyway. Seeing our own citizens threaten our traditional and fair election still weighs heavily in my heart. It reminds me of the many times I have seen footage of violence breaking out in state houses of other countries. I would think, that would never happen in our country. I never would have thought that I would witness it happen in my lifetime. As much as I find our government flawed, I have not experienced nor seen any action that warrants what we saw on the 6th of January, 2021. Yet, we see that a demographic within our society felt the action was justified.
We can discuss what can be done to heal. However, he debate does seem fruitless in most circumstances and perhaps it is because the wounds are fresh. It does hurt to see those images. I swore an oath when I volunteered to serve our country. It was to defend our way of life, our constitution, against all enemies foreign and domestic. I think the actions taken by those who stormed the Capitol Building qualify them as being domestic enemies of our nation. As much as over half our voters were angry about Donald J. Trump being elected in 2016, yet, there were no attacks on our government building and officials. There were not calls for the election to be thrown out. Even with accusations of Russian influence, we didn’t see the scale of lawsuits that were witnessed daily after this passed election. We saw protests, but not violence. A few years later, we witnessed violence, but it was not election related and it was not directed at our president. It was a protest for equal treatment and police reform. It is not the same. Yes, those who committed crimes should be held accountable, but it was not treason.
I am a patriot. I am proud of my service to this country. I am proud of those who served with me. They are brothers and sisters for life. I would still challenge them if I discovered they supported what happened in DC. I would challenge them if they denied that Trump had any responsibility. He absolutely did. He may not have spoken the specific words “storm the Capitol”, but how he delivered the words were a clear call to do so. He did motivate the crowd to march on the Capitol and all but promised he would be marching with them. He told them to be strong and fight. He alluded that anything less than fighting is weak. His words were loaded and if he did not see what they would cause, he was and is a bigger fool than many believe. I believe he knew exactly what might happen. He was hoping for it. I think he believed it would be a catalyst that would spread a love for him across the country. He believed it would draw more citizens into his base and motivate them to rise up in his name. That seems like the mind of a dictator or a cult leader. He thrived on their attention. When he saw that it wasn’t well received by most of our nation and how far it was going, his words did not discourage, he told them they were loved and special and to go home. That was not holding anyone accountable. He shares in responsibility for what happened, a huge amount of it. I have not heard anyone contest this with a logical argument. If one needs a good example, look no further than the flags that insurrectionists were waving while vandalizing our Capitol Building. One was our Old Glory, but the flag of a failed nation and a failed president were more prominent and never should have been raised in our nation’s Capital.
As a patriot, I want to see our citizens united. There is no doubt that we are stronger when we are united. It is clear that some do not want to see unity. It would reduce their power. The more we fight, the more the power addicted will stoke the fires of division and feign rage against “the other side”. They. That is how those in power want us to view one another. They. This thinking created a breeding ground for conspiracists. Facts became lies. Lies became facts. The man that popularized the term “fake news” blurred reality to the point that he was able to play victim. This appealed to a specific demographic. He recognized they felt unheard and gave them a megaphone built from hate. He did not want unity. That would have risked the truth being revealed. He bears a lot of the responsibility for the division we now face. Some would say the majority of it, but I would also point to the likes of Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham. Hate sells. They embraced hate over unity.
We are sheeple. That is what the other side says no matter which side you are on. I would argue there are those who rely on fact and are nothing resembling a flock of sheep. Many if not most of those that bear that resemblance, that truly are sheeple, have a certain faith and within that faith they refer to themselves as a flock. The irony alludes them when they claim their perceived enemies are sheep. I doubt our nation will unite for a long time. The man who was called the 45th President of the United States has damaged our unity to the extent we have citizens calling for civil war. Trump made it seem OK to incite such sentiment, he encouraged conspiracy theories that would support the beliefs of those who have become so anti-government they were already considering civil war was a viable option to “free our nation”. This is a rift that cannot mend until Trump is held accountable. Those arrested for the insurrection must be held adequately accountable. No slap on the wrist is going to make them see what they did was treason. They believe they are patriots and Trump is their defender of freedom. He must answer for triggering his followers, not supporters, but followers, to march on the Capitol. He must be stripped of his ability to ever run for office again.
Our government is imperfect. There are next steps that need to be taken before we will be a more perfect union. Term limits for congress. Police and military budget reform. Social program reforms. Education reforms. These are all topics for further discussion, but for now, I believe our first immediate step needs to be accountability. Trump must be shown he cannot do whatever he wants with impunity. His cult-like base must see that freedom must still have boundaries. They must understand that freedom means equal opportunities, freedom FROM religious dogma as well as freedom to follow the faith of your religion, and recognition that affording freedoms to others does not take away freedoms we already have. I would like to say there is an easy path to unity. There isn’t. Hatred needs addressed. Accountability needs to be enforced. Those who break the law, incite insurrection, or promote deception of our citizens for the sole purpose of power or profit need to be held accountable. It does not matter if they claim to one part of the other. They need to be held accountable or we will continue to allow them to divide us.
I wish I had the perfect solution. I would rather embrace my fellow citizens than fight with them. I would rather love them than ignore them. I do not hate them. I am saddened by them. Them. I desire to see a day when fellow citizens are considered we, not them. I desire a day when we unite to uplift each other rather than tear each other down because the powerful would have us believe that some are less deserving of a decent life… a fair life.