A sad and embarrassing day for America

The scene at the Capitol Building yesterday was a farce and an embarrassment for our country. This was an attempted violent overthrow of the government to prevent the inauguration of the duly elected President of these United States. This was more than a riot and a mob: This was an act of domestic terrorism and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. As much as I hate the fact that Biden won, he won nonetheless and attempting to seize the Capitol Building by violence cannot be tolerated.

The storming of the capital did not appear to be planned in advance. It appeared that emotions got heated and as a few people got out of control more people joined in and mob mentality took over. This is not to excuse the action, of course: These are adults who knew better than to act like mindless savages.

What exactly did the rioters hope to accomplish? Did they actually think that storming the Capitol Building would stop the certification of the electors? Watching armed police point guns at the door inside House chambers was surreal. It looked like what we would see in a third world country that is falling apart, not in the most powerful and most free nation on the planet.

I am very thankful that we have a man of deep personal integrity as our Vice President. Mike Pence was loyal to Donald Trump to the greatest extent possible, up until the point that he had to choose between loyalty to his nation and loyalty to Trump. Pence may have sabotaged any hope he has of being elected President in 2024, as there will be a great deal of anger directed at him from the Republican Party base. I hope I am wrong, because Pence would be a great President. There are ways Pence could have gotten away with ducking Trump’s demand to reject electors of contested states, but he sent an open letter and took a stand.

I am also proud to be represented in the U.S. Senate by Todd Young, who stood in the middle of the protesters and defended the rule of law. Todd is a Marine and knows that in less than a year from now he could be facing a bitter primary fight, with Donald Trump campaigning for his opponent. He took on that risk to stand for what is right, and – given the chaos that unfolded later – put his own personal safety at risk.

Now, to address a conspiracy theory: Were there Antifa mixed in with the crowd trying to stir feces and incite more violence? I am sure there were. But let’s not pretend that the majority or even a significant minority of the crowd were Antifa. No, the majority were Trump supporters, Groypers, QAnon, Proud Boys and assorted right wing thugs. That should not be debatable. This is a stain on the Right, and the rest of us on the Right need to grapple with that, not deny it and pretend it never happened.

Donald Trump released a one minute video on Twitter (which was later taken down) to address the violence. As I watched it, my reaction was this: Oh good grief. Could this man possibly be any more self-centered? Trump spouted a few platitudes about respecting the police and avoiding violence while spending most of the video crying about how he was cheated. We had a full scale riot going on and instead of being a statesman and demanding his supporters cease and desist, Trump somehow managed to make it all about himself and his alleged victimhood. It was a truly pathetic display.

Finally, we need to stop the “whataboutism” foolishness. “Oh, well Antifa did this and Black Lives Matter did that, what about those things, huh?” No. Stop. What went down yesterday is evil on its own. I simply do not care what BLM or Antifa or Chaz or Occupy or ELF or the Weathermen or whatever other group did. This was an act of evil, and should be harshly condemned on its own merits. There is value in pointing out hypocrisy, but that is not what we need in the immediate aftermath of mob violence.

Riots and domestic terrorism cannot be tolerated. Republicans are supposed to be the party of law and order, not a bunch of thugs who throw tantrums, break things, storm government buildings and assault police officers when we do not get our way. The Republican Party and the conservative movement must categorically reject the shameful violence yesterday, as well as the enablers who defended the mob.

This should not be who we are.