“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel was a Nobel Laureate and a Holocaust survivor. His entire family ended up perishing between two different concentration/death camps including Auschwitz. When you mix his story with the subject of the headline you can’t help but draw the immediate comparison with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Often, the best writers and activists end up mirroring each other even if by accident.
King spoke of this in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. On the subject of peace he said, “the white moderate (who) is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” If we look at what is going on now in Washington and throughout America we see examples of this run amok.
After awhile, you begin to filter out the noise from those just don’t see. Either they are too ignorant to see or they actively see and agree. The people that try your patience are those that see and prefer to allow things to die down rather than meet the issue head on. There are those that now understand the dangers that Trump presents and yet want Congress to do nothing so that everything dies down. They don’t like the tension.
I get it on a certain level. There are only ten days left. Once he is out of office he is out of power. Ex-presidents don’t carry a ton of influence. Only one ex-president has ever successfully run again after leaving office. Teddy Roosevelt is the last one to try and he did as a member of a third party and ultimately failed. Essentially, these folks want to have their cake and eat it too. They acknowledge that the current president isn’t normal and yet they want to treat the situation as if it is normal.
The meek middle need to consider lessons from history. Specifically, they need to broaden their historical horizons and look at situations from outside this country. What we witnessed was a failed coup. The trap we lull ourselves into is that we saw both strong institutions that withstood the attempt and the abject failure of the attempt. Attempted murder is still a crime no matter how haphazard the attempt. The person willing to go to those lengths is still dangerous no matter how stupid they may seem.
History is marred with numerous despots that failed in their first attempts at claiming power. Usually, they were caught, but somehow escaped harsh punishment. Maybe those countries wanted to practice forgiveness and leniency. Maybe they thought (as some here are currently thinking) that harshly punishing those involved would somehow cause an uprising. I think we all get it on a certain level. Yet, in each and every instance those despots used that kindness to their advantage.
This is not an American problem. At least it’s not one that is peculiarly American. It is the same problem that countries have faced for centuries. Appeasement has been tried before and it has failed every time. Donald Trump has been allowed to continue because either those in his inner circle have stopped him or his attempts at illegally obtaining power have failed so miserably that it inspires laughter more than focused fear.
Yet, each time he has gone a little further. He is the six year old testing out our limits. So far, he hasn’t seen any. He tried strong arming a foreign leader into giving him what he wanted. He tried strong arming a state level official into overturning the election for him. Now, he tried turning his ardent supporters loose to go take the capital and maybe even kidnap or kill several officials including his vice president. Each attempt failed. That failure might seem comforting, but it is downright scary to those that take the intent seriously.
The vast majority of dictators from history didn’t begin that way. They didn’t roll out of bed one day ready to command millions to do their bidding. It was a gradual process and for most it involved plenty of failure. That failure afforded the forces of law the opportunity to rid themselves of that threat. They failed partially because they couldn’t predict the future. They failed because they couldn’t perceive the threat. Let’s not make that mistake ever again.
We begin by throwing the book at Donald Trump. He needs to be impeached, barred from holding federal office ever again, and then thrown in jail for sedition and possibly even treason. From there, you throw every single person that played a role in the planning of Wednesday’s events or were a part of carrying it out in jail. If they prevented the capital police from doing their job they belong in jail. If they are members of the capital police and they allowed the protesters in on purpose they belong in jail. If they serve in the administration and they were involved in coordination of the plot or were responsible for inhibiting the national guard from arriving in time then they belong in jail. If they were one of those inciting violence they belong in jail. If they were one of those perpetuating the lie about fraud they belong in jail. That means administration officials. That means former mayors and U.S. attorneys. It means sitting senators and representatives. It might even mean the wife of a Supreme Court justice. They all go to jail and they don’t see the light of day.
You never give an inch to a would be dictator. We have given several feet to Donald Trump because he seems so pathetic and normally he would be exiting stage right. Nothing about this is normal. Nothing. We have seen this too many times in history. You don’t exile Trump to his own island. You let him rot for the rest of his days inside a jail cell.