A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, 40 B.C.
“We’ve been witnessing of late, the most outrageous and perilous rift since a bunch of Confederate states seceded from the union so they could keep their slaves and have more time for future creative hobbies like making statues of loser war heroes and stringing up black guys for daring to look at white women.
“We hope the danger has passed, because the last big split in both the Congress and the electorate resulted in a bloody dispute in which 750,000 Americans killed off each other. The majority of the casualties were incurred by the winning side. And that just goes to show you that you can win the war and, at the same time, lose most of the battles.”
I wrote the preceding Tuesday evening as I started to piece together something for this blog. I knew a bunch of Trump fanatics, a.k.a. traitors and saboteurs of our Democracy, were going to be in D.C. to protest. I expected there would be problems, probably some kind of violence with people vowing to “take back our country,” but I could never imagine that they would turn into anti-American terrorists and storm the Capitol.
The references to a “perilous rift” and a “big split in both Congress and the electorate,” and certainly the phrase “a bloody dispute,” seem prescient in retrospect, but I would have never predicted it would come to what we saw Wednesday afternoon. I was giving blood to the Red Cross at about the time and blissfully unaware of this massive treason until I got home and my wife met me at the door and said, “Can you believe what happened?”
We have tried very hard to understand why people we know were disavowing the core of our Democracy over what is a oft repeated but never proven lie about election fraud, perpetrated, exaggerated and ultimately fomented into a terrorist rebellion by the President of the United States. The very people who have followed the president’s lead, declaring themselves true Americans striving to expose a massive liberal conspiracy have, at last, showed their true colors.
I feel as if I am mourning the loss of something I love as I watch live footage of bands of people from all over this country turning protest into treason and terrorism. The Proud Boys and their cohorts were finally, after their President advised them to “stand by” back in late September, set loose by their Commander in Chief to invade what were once regarded as the sacred halls of democracy. That may come across as hyperbole after years of watching democracy continually fail to function as it turned into something solely propelled by self-interest and against the common good.
A couple of days ago I received a message from a long-time friend consisting solely of something said by General U.S. Grant at the onset of the Civil War: “There are two parties now, traitors and patriots.”
I responded that it was an interesting quotation, and I might use it sometime myself. Perhaps that’s where I was headed when I wrote the opening two paragraphs of this commentary. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put that label on people who may support Trump or that it is fair to brand somebody like that based on who they voted for. I still think that most are loyal Americans who somehow see Trump as someone who was going to, as their banners say, “drain the swamp.” It is time for them to realize that, as is too often the case with this guy, it is all just words and all about Donald Trump.
We should have seen it from the start.
Some Losers Still Believe in Democracy
Truth is, no matter how many of us were chagrined that Trump was declared the winner four years and two months ago, none of us sued, demanded recount after recount after recount and wailed about imaginary election fraud. Even the loser, Crooked Hillary “Lock Her Up” Clinton, conceded gracefully, though reluctantly, the day after, because she believed in our system of Democracy and its constitutionally conceived apparatus —voting.
The two groups of people from whom the right to vote was withheld for years—both slaves, in many ways — sent Trump to Loserville in November. I’m referring, of course, to blacks and women, and that’s really what’s sticking in the craw of some conscienceless objectors crying about “taking back our country.” I don’t think we ever were the country they’re striving to take back, but maybe I missed something.
Is treason too strong a word to apply to people who break into the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives for the express purpose of stopping or delaying a constitutional process and, in the course of doing so, desecrating government property and refusing to vacate the premises?
They have proven, at last, to be the real enemy of the people, and the most dangerous kind. They are among us.
As for treason, I leave you with its primary definitions. Both seem to apply to what happened Wednesday. First there is “the betrayal of allegiance” to your own country, “especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies to commit such acts.” I’m assuming most of the protestors who showed up at Trump’s invitation were not expecting this outright assault on Democracy, but many seemed to enjoy hanging around and even entering the premises.
The second definition is simply the “betrayal of someone’s trust or confidence,” and that is more about what Trump has done to his loyal followers than what some of those supporters have tried to do their government.
Above all, the President of the United States, by his actions on and before January 6, 2021, has committed the more heinous act of High Treason, or “acting to overthrow one’s government.”