The President of the United States has been insisting that America follow him into the Twilight Zone. Wednesday, that’s where we found ourselves. Americans have to resist staying there.
Trump supporters pushed past police officers they claim to respect, flooded into secure areas of the U.S. Capitol and threatened Congress to stop the process of certifying a presidential election. The images that streamed from the Capitol steps were from an attempted coup, not a political protest.
The protestors followed the urgings of President Donald Trump. Earlier Wednesday morning, he spoke to what was called the Save America March in dark, aggressive language about stolen elections. Then he scooted back to the White House and used Twitter to urge forward what became a mob.
The actions of the protesters were predictable. They are susceptible to Trump’s lies because they live and swim in the soup of misinformation served up constantly by talk radio, Fox News and social media.
What was a conservative right wing of the Republican party has morphed into something that can only be described as weird. Unconstrained by federal regulations that once required those who use the public airwaves to at least try to be factual, talking heads now simply make it up as they go along. Reality is sacrificed to Trump’s lies.
This steady stream of phantasmagoric conspiracy theories is the only way too many Americans view the world. Even before the election, some Trump believers asserted that they would do “whatever it takes,” including violence, to keep Trump in office.
If people hear nothing but assertions that everything they have, believe in and love is about to be taken away, violence must seem a rational defense. If a government without Trump will do the taking, violence must seem rational. Displaying a sea of American flags while using force to occupy the Capitol and blocking a constitutionally required process must seem rational.
None of this is rational. It is an insurrection against the United States of America. Trump incited it. Those who broke into and took over the Capitol carried it out. All must be held accountable.
It has been reported that discussions have taken place about exercising the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for incapacity to function as president. Two weeks until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president is an eternity in this situation. Trump should be removed to let the saner Vice President Mike Pence preside in the coming critical days.
Destruction of the institutions of democracy cannot be tolerated. Madness must not rule. We must find our way out of this latest and most dangerous episode of the Trump Twilight Zone and back into reality.