I’m not much of a crier, to be honest.
I hardly ever cry at movies — though on a recent rewatch of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King I definitely teared up at the “you bow to no one” moment. The occasional episode of The West Wing gets me bleary-eyed, but who doesn’t tear up at good governance? (That’s a rhetorical question — please don’t answer that.)
All this to say, it takes a lot to move me to tears. And yesterday, for the first time in my life, I cried watching the news.
I cried because the country that I love — despite all its sins, its transgressions, and its deep, deep flaws — is teetering over the abyss. I cried because the most fundamental part of our democracy — the peaceful transfer of power — had been squandered by politicians who thought this was all a game. I cried because in four short years, Donald Trump has taken a blowtorch to the most resilient democracy the world had ever seen.
The man has done more than enough damage. It’s time for him to go. Not in two weeks — right now. Draw up the impeachment papers, hold the hearings, and send the man back to Mar-a-Lago as a historical failure and an unprecedented disgrace.
The actions of yesterday warrant immediate action. The sitting president of the United States incited his own supporters to march on the Capitol building in a misguided attempt to overturn a legitimately-held democratic election. It is at the very least criminal, and at worst treasonous.
There’s already talk of using the 25th Amendment to oust him. That’s not good enough. If he’s impeached and removed from office, he cannot run for president ever again. If he’s impeached and removed from office, we force every single Representative and Senator to make their position clear: are you with the terrorists, the seditionists, and the mob, or is there a scrap of decency left in your desiccated body to stand up for what remains of our democracy?
You need more convincing? Consider this. During the Civil War, arguably the most dangerous four years in US history, the Confederate flag never made it to Washington, DC. Yesterday, it was paraded through the halls of Congress by a Trump supporter.
When the terrorists got to the flagpole of the building, they took down the American flag. It didn’t represent their interests. Neither, too, did the Confederate flag, though the hateful racism of this mob would make even Jefferson Davis blush. No, they hung the flag that most embodies their misguided, delusional beliefs.
They hung a Trump flag.
There are questions aplenty to be asked about yesterday’s events. Why were there so few police officers guarding the Capitol building, when they knew a large pro-Trump rally would be held that same day? Why were cops seemingly so chummy with insurrectionist, white supremacist looters? Why were enemies of the republic calmly escorted out of the building, when just this summer Black Americans were teargassed, curb-stomped, and run over for peacefully protesting for their right to exist? What in the name of sanity was this guy wearing?
Those are all important questions that deserve careful investigation and inquiry. But there is one question that we should not be asking ourselves: how did this happen?
The answer is all too obvious: Donald Trump is how this happened. He has been sowing distrust in democracy for years, driving a wedge between his supporters and patriotic Americans, all in preparation for this moment.
At a rally yesterday morning, Trump told his supporters, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.” He reminded them, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” He marshalled his forces and then commanded them from the rear, hiding in his bunker in the White House and smirking at the damage he had sowed.
Before the tweet was deleted, Trump called yesterday “a day which we will remember forever.” He’s right. We’ll remember it as the day the evil sparks of Trumpism burst into a terrible flame, burning right to the core of our democratic institutions.
For four years, Trump has poured kerosene over the United States. It will take years, perhaps decades, to clean up the mess–if there’s even anything left to salvage. But before we can begin, we have to take the match away from the maniac. We have to impeach Donald Trump.