January 6, 2021 must be remembered as a historically dark day of infamy, to borrow from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous words when the U.S. entered WWII. Yet this time, the attackers were home-grown (domestic) terrorists, not foreigners.

Expectedly, it confirms what the vast majority of respected national security experts have recently come to believe. That is, the biggest threat to our country is not from immigration or terror dangers from outside our borders, but from within.

Sadly, the attack on the U.S. Capitol has irreparably damaged one of our democracy’s greatest assets – our national elections process. As the breaking-and-entering developed, horrified U.S. citizens condemned the revolting events exploding on TV. In my view, it’s as alarming as the December 7 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and the 9/11 attack.

National Republican leadership at first displayed a sense of righteous indignation, but it didn’t last long. In fact, the next day Republican leaders ignored the visual “tale of the tape”. Instead, they began to downplay their own and their supporters’ treason.

As for me, one key detail is hard to forget — the number of present-day Republican U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives that cheered on the anarchists in both words and deeds.

Today, when asked if they regret their traitorous behavior, they remain unrepentant of trampling on their oath of office. Equally disgusting, they continue their disinformation campaign.

Thankfully, the public now knows the truth. Emails and social media messages they wrote prove that they knowingly soiled their hands with the grime of seditious insurrection.

Undoubtedly, the January 6th events at the Capitol represent a surreal scene that would have been unthinkable just five years ago. Casualties included several deaths, approximately 150 police force injuries, heavy property damage, and a deep wound to our nation’s heart.

Targets of choice included capitol police officers. Also, death threats against senior elected officials (and family members) of both major political parties.

The cause of the deadly riot? The ex-president disobeyed the U.S. constitution by refusing to peacefully turn over power to his successor. Bluntly, when the popular vote and majority of electors relieved him of his duty, the commander of the ship-of-state became the chief mutineer.

At his direction, Republican Party leaders searched high-and-low for voting irregularities, but found no proof of wrongdoing. Regardless, like a viral disease, his lying approach infected (disabled) the reasoning abilities of his supporters. Incredibly, they still believe his baseless claims of voter fraud.

So it was on January 6th. After listening to several sedition speeches, the riotous crowd left the White House grounds. Agitated and urged on by the ex-president, they proceeded to the Capitol.

• As he is prone to do, he lied, saying that he would join them and lead the march himself. He didn’t!

• At this time, some of his closest political advisers gauged the merciless mob’s mood and panicked. They pleaded with him to bring an end to the assault. He ignored them!

• Likewise, even his favorite go-to TV commentators were terrified at the sight of the monstrous menace they helped create. Yet, rather than tell their viewers, they secretly (off-camera) begged the ex-president to stop it. He wasn’t interested!

• He had ample time to defuse the dangerous situation. He chose not to!

After three agonizing hours, he reluctantly issued a weak appeal for his supporters to leave the Capitol. Too little, too late. The damage was done.

(Note: Unwittingly, Republican leaders confirmed that the 2020elections were the most secure in our country’s history. They did so

by filing futile lawsuits and spending millions of taxpayer dollars in worthless recounts.)

Alas, the harm to our country’s image extends beyond our shores. The horrid events had an as-it-happened worldwide TV audience.The price we paid?

1. The U.S. is the first free industrial nation in modern times to survive a coup attempt by the ex-president.

2. We’re no longer “The world’s model democracy”;

3. We’ve lost our worldwide elections overseer role, nor can we continue to lecture other countries on how to run their elections.

4. Our core value “rule of law” reputation has been gravely tarnished.

Oddly, the subsequent capture of the law-breakers was ironic. After being arrested, they demanded their constitutional rights granted by the very same institution they assaulted.

Albeit, some of the offenders have shown remorse. In tearful testimony, several have regretted being part of the mob, and have apologized for believing the ex-president’s lies. Thus, judges are justly taking sincere redemption into account when deciding on punishment.

Wickedly, the ex-president tells his supporters to do the crime, and it is they who serve the time.

Clearly, since 2016, the ex-president has bullied Republicans, who in fear bow down without question. Thus, the Republican Party has drifted away from the once-principled Grand Old Party of Lincoln and Reagan.

Although he won Texas, the ex-president pressured the Republican governor into spending tax dollars in recounts. Though the audits were fruitless, it didn’t matter. The governor signed anti-voting rights state laws to deal with non-existing voter fraud.

Equally decadent, the Republicans have corrupted their vocabulary. Devoid of any form of Christian-like goodwill, Republican communication has reached a fever-pitch level of unprecedented callous, cynical crudeness.

Their steady stream of Nazi-themed comparisons and anti-Semitism insults is abhorrent. For example, the ex-president called the Charlottesville torch-bearing neo-Nazi white supremacists good people. Also, he told the Jan. 6th insurrectionists that he loved them after they attacked the Capitol and brutalized its police force.

In short, read below how one of their own rebuked a fellow Republican’s evil rhetoric:

“I condemn the kind of comments that were made by my colleague in Congress towards a fellow colleague on the other side of the aisle… We have degraded in Congress to a level of hate I’ve never felt before; this has to stop.”.

Be aware that these are the same individuals who:

A. Claim to be red-white-and-blue patriots, but embrace the Confederate flag, the most anti-U.S.A. symbol there is.

B. Wrap themselves with the Stars-and-Stripes, but found nothing wrong with anarchists using U.S. banner flagpoles as weapons to mercilessly strike capitol police.

C. Say they are law-and-order pro-police, but the “Kill him with his own gun” and similar chants insult all police departments, not just capitol police. So-called “Support the Blue” anarchists inflicted the most pain and suffering on police officers.

In short, Capitol insurrectionists forgot their Pledge of Allegiance. That’s as appalling as Republican officials ignoring their oath of office. It’s as unpatriotic as it gets.

The January 6, 2021 Capitol assault was an attempt to replace our democracy with fascism – a chilling thought. As true patriots, we mustn’t let the ex-president and his Republican enablers sweep their misdeeds under the rug.

If you are a lifelong Republican, today’s Republican Party is no longer the party you joined. That’s because extremists are (a) openly challenging established Republican leadership, (b) plotting the party’s future, and (c) boasting that they are now the face and voice of your party.

Conclusively, the choice is well-defined for this year’s mid-term elections. Voters can either choose the party that is:

a. Following traditional rules of engagement in governing. Respecting our Constitution’s separation-of-powers provision – the ex-president’s frequent target;

b. Ensuring justice in our nation’s bounty and in guaranteeing every citizen’s right to vote;

c. Improving our outdated infrastructure, thereby creating jobs; and

d. Continues to curtail the challenging, ever-changing virus threats.

Or, they can follow the party that is:

a) Knowingly changing its course to follow a radical, fascist totalitarian trajectory;

b) Embracing and marching arm-in-arm with neo-Nazis and KKK-type white supremacists;

c) Keeps their supporters in line by feeding them fear-mongering lies; and

d) Actively assisted the treason at the U.S. Capitol.

Bottom Line? Patriots don’t attack their own U.S. government, its enemies do. You can help keep our country strong by: choosing liberty-for-all over tyranny; inclusion over intolerance; and knowledge over ignorance.

Today, on its first anniversary, please reflect on the coup events of January 6, 2021. Then, after connecting the dots for each political party, let your conscience be your guide. “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.” (George Washington).


Editor’s Note: The above commentary was penned by Rio Grande Guardian columnist José Antonio López. López can be reached by email via: [email protected].

Editor’s Note: Credit for the main image accompanying the above guest column goes to Tyler Merbler from USA – DSC09523-2, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98637510.

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