It was telling–and tellingly unsurprising–that gutless, faux-patriot GOPsters were mostly no-shows at the Jan. 6 Capitol gathering in remembrance of the year-old insurrection that resulted in lost lives, international mortification, an imperiled Constitution and a disgraced democracy. It was a proper forum to honor those who had risked—and, in some cases, given—their lives to literally protect what America still said it stood for. It was a proper forum to remind us all: Never again.
The domestic-siege precedent remains downright scary as three retired Army generals (Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba, and Steven Anderson) underscored in a WaPo op-ed on the anniversary date. “In short, we are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time,” they wrote. So don’t be surprised if “Seven Days in May” starts streaming.
And it was appropriate that President Joe Biden repurposed Donald Trump’s BS pulpit to call out the pathologically lying, narcissist instigator. Even better, he didn’t deign to use the Florida retiree’s name. “You can’t love your country only when you win,” said Biden. “His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.” All too pathetically true.
Biden’s history-making Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, also weighed in somberly in reflecting back to Jan. 6, 2021. “The truth is that our democracy is at greater risk today than it was back then,” he noted pointedly. If any American leader knows about risk, it’s America’s first black president.
It was a time for reflection, admonition and premonition—for all those who wanted to see America pivot from “the big lie” chasm to the higher ground of our cherished but vulnerable ideals. And it was, alas, schadenfreude–if not geopolitical end zone spiking–for our authoritarian adversaries.
Among the few Republicans who were there was U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who co-chairs the House Committee investigating all aspects of Jan. 6, 2021. It was expected, as she has comported herself as an old-school, country-first Republican. Even more significant—and beyond ironic—however, is that she was accompanied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was the war hawk “W” whisperer, whose legacy of disaster is still playing out in the Muddled East. But he has never looked so, well, normal. This is what it took. “I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my own party to recognize the grave nature of the Jan. 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”
When Dick Cheney sees a threat to this nation, it’s worth noting for Republicans. Only this time it has nothing to do with “weapons of mass destruction.” Just weapons of mass distortion. It’s past time to grow a spine and see through the Trump cult and its anti-science, isolationist, nativistic machinations and pay attention to America, its founding ideals and its role as the world’s pre-eminent democracy.