Our View: No space for compromise
This was going to be an editorial about building bridges.
This space was intended for platitudes about setting aside our differences amid a contentious election season, making a clean slate and moving forward as one country, one people.
Wednesday changed that.
Protesters turned rioters turned criminals stormed the U.S. Capitol and created a scene that many of us likely thought impossible: Wannabe “patriots” wandering the halls of Congress, rifling through desks, despoiling justice, vandalizing constitutional norms.
This scene should have stayed in Iraq or Afghanistan — not the greatest country on the planet. Not in our house.
Wednesday’s despicable acts aren’t just tied to a vague belief that voter fraud was perpetuated in November on a massive scale. Despite screeds from the right, there’s no evidence or credible witnesses for a judge to consider. If there were, they’d have seen it by now.
Even Sen. Lindsey Graham — long a close ally of President Donald Trump — finally acknowledged the obvious: His guy lost the election. The allegations don’t remotely stack up to reality. Enough is enough. Move on.
No this was, quite simply, the inevitable manifestation of misinformation and physical violence that’s been stoked for years, and ignited by the only U.S. president in our history who decided he cannot move on as a result of a free and fair election in which he happened to lose.
Many times in this space, this board has worked hard to reach compromise in its messaging. Members on both the right and left politically balance arguments, weigh them, and see how many different perspectives can be included while still making a coherent argument.
But what happened Wednesday was vile. It desecrated the essence of America. It must be condemned, and its participants punished.
So what of those responsible for Wednesday? Not those who broke through the Capitol’s doors, but the ones who set them in motion. They’ve spent the past few years sewing together body parts, setting them on a slab and then shooting the thing full of lightning. And then, when Frankenstein’s monster starts rampaging, they send out tweets and press releases deploring violence.
We see you. We see you all too well.
Everyone’s true colors come out in times like these. Shills for the violence immediately made poor comparisons to Black Lives Matter protests last year. The media should have condemned this when BLM and Antifa burned buildings, they said. What about, what about, they said.
But it’s what they didn’t say that’s telling. It’s the poison that barely ever makes the surface that’s been fueling this violence. A few comments sometimes break through, more in recent years. But it’s secret words most of us never heard that made this monster attack. You could see it in the dark places online — the 4chans, the subreddits, the Qanon conspiracy crazies. It led to our local Blue Marble Jubilee being canceled in 2019. A fluke, maybe, but not so much now when you look at Washington, D.C.
Did the creators of this violence think they could control the monster? Did they think Jupiter would avoid eating them by sending off a quick tweet? And what did this display of loathing for American institutions they claim to adore actually accomplish?
Scuttled into its protective spaces, Congress returned after the rioters were removed and fulfilled its constitutional duty. Joe Biden on Jan. 20 will become the fully legitimate president of the United States.
What they accomplished was letting us know what lengths they’re willing to go. It put their faces on cameras, and their actions on video. It informed us that the lurching monster is alive and well, and those of us on the other side must always remain vigilant against it.
And we will. There are many more of us — regular, ordinary citizens on the right and the left and in between who want to see the machinery of government work regardless of who’s in charge. As long as it works according to the rules that we all must obey.
All the proof, all the Occam’s razors, point to the fact those rules do work. Wednesday’s rioters aren’t the majority. They’re the sickness.
Their acts should remind us that, no matter what obstacles or riots or mindless violence erupt, we are a people who will fight against our enemies, foreign and domestic.
That we are the United States — one and inseparable. Surely we can come together for that much.
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com
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