Dear Editor: During this week’s anniversary of the attack on the United States capitol and our duly elected Congress, it’s hard to avoid being heartbroken or cynical. Make no mistake: our democracy was threatened and to this day remains under pressure from people who either do not care or are not willing to see what unfolded before our eyes. The Biden presidency is, of course, legitimate, and the insurrection was real. We have laws against sedition and uncontrolled menace to our institutions and the brave men and women in uniform who waited for leadership that day. For hours these men and women waited and, in the process, did the best they could do with what little support they had.
Smearing excrement on the walls of our capitol is not OK. Threatening the lives of our vice president, the speaker of the house, and other elected leaders is not OK. Ignoring and humiliating staff is not OK. Smashing windows and breaking down doors is not OK. Yelling obscenities, brandishing Taser guns and spikes, and heaving barricades at people in uniform who were trying to maintain order is not the sign of a group of patriotic people trying to make a statement: it is the sign of a group of people terribly misguided by their leaders and vulnerable to the hysteria of the moment. These people committed acts of felony.
A few years before, on the day after a president we disagreed with was sworn in, about 500,000 people — mostly women, many families — marched on our nation’s capital with the intention of making strong statements of anger, frustration and disappointment. I was there. We were not disputing the election and we weren’t trying to destroy our capital or hurt anyone. We did not yell obscenities and we didn’t attack the police and National Guard members who were there to protect the same landscape as the one that was desecrated last year. No one was hurt and there was not a single arrest on the mall that day. Our beautiful public buildings on the national mall remained unscathed.
The people who attacked our democracy on Jan. 6th 2021 are felons and will be held accountable; their leaders should not be allowed to hide or claim immunity. They, too, must share the responsibility for their involvement in allowing these unpatriotic actions. This failure of human decency and the lack of responsible behavior in the name of “patriotic” behavior wouldn’t be allowed in a Sunday school class or kindergarten room and they shouldn’t be allowed in halls of democracy.