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What True Patriots Do – And Don’t Do

This Moderate’s father served overseas in the U.S. Army in World War II, leaving his wife home alone. She “kept the home fires burning”, making her own sacrifices for our country. Lifelong Southern Democrats, they grew more conservative later in life, eventually becoming Reagan Republicans.

But I’m certain they (nor Reagan, probably) didn’t make their sacrifices to enable a celebrity-turned-Republican-politician to lie repeatedly to the American people – and incite followers’ attempted government takeover to prevent peaceful transfer of power to his duly-elected successor.

My parents sacrificed to prevent demagogues from conquering the world, after seizing power in their own countries. They gained control by intimidating the media, viciously attacking opponents (calling them Socialists), and convincing supporters only they could be believed. Sound familiar? Supporters followed them blindly into dictatorship and eventually, war and destruction.

Couldn’t happen here? Those insurrectionists storming the Capitol were certainly willing to fight – and kill – our own people. Shocking, but polls claim 40% of Republicans consider the attack acceptable.

I’m certain my parents would have disagreed – even if they had agreed with some Trump policies.

The rest of us disagree, too. No matter how much we dislike political opponents, or deplore their victories, we DON’T storm the Capitol (or anything else); we DON’T kill police officers or trample people in the process; and we DON’T condone those who do.

We DO look for accurate sources of information, to fulfill our responsibilities as informed citizens. We DO join political parties or peaceful groups, and express our beliefs by signing petitions and writing letters to local newspapers.

We DO vote, after supporting candidates we believe in. We DO accept election results, much as we sometimes hate to, then try to work with opponents for the common good.

Some of us DO protest when something seems unfair or unjust. But the overwhelming majority DOESN’T resort to violence, or condone those who do, from the left or right.

When Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Republican Donald Trump, her supporters were shocked. Many protested; but aside from vandalism and minor scuffles, protested peacefully. No mob attacked our Capitol.

Nobody, including Clinton, claimed Trump stole the election and supporters should “Stop the Steal”. No wild conspiracy theories involving mail-in ballots, vote-counting machines, or dead people voting. Democrats accepted “the people have spoken”, licked their wounds, and focused on the next election.

Candidate Trump repeatedly claimed, with no evidence, the election was “rigged” if he lost. Sound familiar? After winning, he boasted results were accurate, claiming he won in a landslide. Ironically, 2020’s winner, President-Elect Biden, won by an almost identical margin.

 

          

Yet Trump continued claiming HE won again, and many Congressional Republicans, led by Senators Josh Hawley (MO), Ted Cruz (TX) and Representative Mo Brooks (AL), shamelessly supported his baseless claims. They contested a mostly ceremonial event, when Congress counts state-submitted electoral votes, confirming the winner. Pandering to Trump’s extreme base, they tried to over-rule states’ elections – the opposite of Federalism, once-sacred GOP principle that states manage their affairs without Federal-government interference. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) asked, “has ambition eclipsed principle?”

So they, Trump and other instigators (Giuliani, Trump, Jr., others) bear some responsibility for the insurrection, and should be held accountable. As GOP talking-points assert, rioters themselves bear most of the blame, since they decided to attack, and MUST be held accountable.

But there’s a grain of truth, and a bushel of entitlement, in one rioter excuse. Jenna Ryan, a Texas realtor (following in Trump’s footsteps, in more ways than one), attended Trump’s riot warm-up rally, then boasted, “we’re gonna’ go down and storm the Capitol… we are going to f***ing go in there. Life or death, it doesn’t matter.”

Now she demands a pardon, saying “I was basically following my president… So I was doing what he asked us to do.” Facing a well-deserved prison sentence, she complains her business has suffered since she was identified as a rioter. Karma strikes again.

Also feeling entitled: the infamous “QAnon Shaman”, Jake Angeli, shirtless, face-painted, desperate for attention in his horned, furry helmet. After his well-deserved arrest, he went on a hunger strike, demanding organic food. He’s lucky we taxpayers are feeding him, period.

Even Trump reportedly complained, while watching the attack on TV, the rioters looked “low-class”.

Their anger, stoked by Trump and enablers, erupted in violence. With Biden’s inauguration scheduled for 1/20, some vow to disrupt it – or worse.

Remain vigilant, Moderates, for anything suspicious, wherever you are, for the foreseeable future. All 50 states have been warned about potential violence. If you “see something, say something” to law enforcement.

Then let’s DO what we’ve always done as patriotic Americans: disagree (sometimes passionately) on issues – but UNITE to preserve and protect our fragile democracy.

After 20 years, I still wish my parents were here. But I am relieved they didn’t see their sacrifices desecrated by the shameful spectacle of Americans attacking America.

 

Images: Google Images

Capitol riot: PBS – Reuters

Trump: Los Angeles Times

Mussolini, Hitler, Hirohito: War History Online

Capitol and noose: NBC – 5 – Dallas – Fort Worth – Getty Images

Trump and Clinton: NBC News

Electoral College map: The New York Times

Hawley: Daily Mail

Cruz: Wall Street Journal

Brooks: Forbes

Giuliani, Trump, Trump, Jr.: Daily Mail

Ryan: Daily Mail

Angeli and rioters: The Gazette

 

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