In a time of a lethal pandemic that’s induced financial ache, our physique politic can also be ailing.
Our nation suffered a grievous blow on Jan. 6 when insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Violent crowds assaulted cops, killed Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” Incited by Donald J. Trump that day and for months beforehand, these People believed the massive lie that the election had been stolen.
Responding to the rebel is like recovering from an emergency.
These accountable should be held accountable with prosecutions and, if any legislators had been concerned, elimination from workplace. We should additionally examine the delay in sending help to guard Congress.
The inauguration will go on, as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, protected by 25,000 National Guard troops, take their oaths behind chain hyperlink fences topped with concertina wire. I pray there won’t be extra violence.
However we have to do way more to revive well being. Curing our unhealthy politics requires integrity, daring speech and motion. We will begin with these three steps.
Because the Anti-Defamation League identified, the mob on the U.S. Capitol included QAnon conspiracy believers, anti-Semitic teams, white supremacists and different right-wing extremists — drawn there by Trump and different Republicans who promulgated lies about the election. The Proud Boys, who in September Trump told to “stand again and stand by,” helped lead the attack.
But, this risk has not been adequately acknowledged by Republicans strongly opposing these teams. In some way Sen. Susan Collins’ first thought after needing to evacuate the Senate was an Iranian assault and that week Bangor Every day Information columnist Matt Gagnon asserted he was proud “the appropriate doesn’t throw the identical type of mood tantrums that the left does” after shedding elections. Whereas actually not backing violent right-wing forces, they didn’t understand or publicly observe the potential for violence others saw from Trump’s lies.
Second, Republican leaders who oppose extremism shouldn’t be passive towards these of their occasion who promulgate this malignancy of disinformation and criminality. Components exist in Maine, as seen in a latest submit by the Waterville Republican Committee defending the thuggery of Jan. 6.
Many Republicans’ views of the election had been formed by Trump’s lies and QAnon is influencing the occasion. If GOP converts to conspiracy enhance as Republicans appalled by these occasions unenroll and vow to not again anybody complicit with this development, difficult this faction would require going up towards what will likely be a rising proportion of the occasion.
Nonetheless, as Sen. Mitt Romney mentioned after the rebel, “One of the simplest ways we may present respect for the voters who had been upset is by telling them the reality. That’s the burden. That’s the responsibility of management.” Different Republicans did this earlier than. Margaret Chase Smith confronted McCarthyism and Bill Buckley and Ronald Reagan rebuffed the John Birch Society.
Third, at this crossroads, we must always again strengthen democracy and present and inform how the federal government can enhance individuals’s lives.
To increase and defend our democracy, we should be sure that People of all lessons, races and locations can take part meaningfully. HR 1, the For the Folks Act, endorsed by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, ought to change into regulation. It could scale back gerrymandering, create a brand new public marketing campaign financing system, reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and increase voter registration.
And to rebuild belief in authorities, we should go insurance policies that enhance People’ lives in methods they really feel. To start out, the failed vaccine program should be aggressively and competently managed, and the economic system revived and reshaped to work for all. The Biden-Harris administration has plans to do these and has picked competent, skilled professionals to place them into motion. Further good insurance policies on well being care, the local weather and extra will help us flip from a time of competition and ache.
Then we will pivot from this horrifying inflection level, away from authoritarianism and mob rule, and transfer ahead to a extra wholesome physique politic.