By Dru Clements
What seems like light years ago, during the 2016 Republican primaries, 50 Republican, former national security and foreign policy advisers, went public about what they saw as a lack of character and temperament in then candidate Donald Trump.
Penning a letter to major newspapers, they predicted his unfitness for the office of president would make him “a threat to national security.” Warning that, “Mr. Trump lacks basic knowledge and belief in the United States Constitution, U.S. laws, and in U.S. institutions, including religious freedom, and freedom of the press.”
That “threat to national security,” became evident on Jan. 6, 2021. Members of Trump’s own administration provided testimony to the House Select Committee hearing investigating the attack on the United States Capitol, exposing his complicity in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported more than a dozen groups took part in the Capital riots. Composed of such seditious alliances as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, whose views are based upon white supremacy, antisemitism and antigovernment militias sometimes acting as shock troops.
Trump’s propaganda attracts such groups, as they share the same dystopian vision. Violence and pathological lying are virtues at the altar of authoritarian/fascist dogma.
Believing he was their ticket to a place at the table, the insurrectionists were not coming for dinner, they came with Trump’s blessings, to commit domestic terrorism and treason.
Very few Republicans in today’s congress demonstrate any courage. When Trump’s coterie of an armed, violent mob assaulted the capitol, they did not denounce it, they did not repudiate it. By their silence when confronted by barbarism, they have proved to be supplicants in Trump’s moral wasteland. They chose the role of apologists, becoming examples of how quickly Cowardice can spread like contagion.
The no longer Grand Old Party, witnessed neo-Nazis sweep through the corridors of Congress with signs reading “Six million dead is not enough” and “This way to Auschwitz.”
They watched Confederate flags marching thru the Capital, reminding African-Americans, that Black Lives Do Not Really Matter. They called this a normal day.
Historical memory reminds us of the dangers we face as a democracy. The red flags are there, serving as precursors of what may come, as to whether we survive as a democracy, or not.
Precursors help us to recognize the characteristics and warning signs associated with the nascent rise of authoritarianism and fascism. January 6 is that precursor.
When the former President advocates for “terminating” the United States Constitution he is talking about ending Democracy. He wants to replace it, with himself.
We want to believe that it cannot happen here. That ours is a secure and stable nation, a “Beacon of Hope.”
On January 6, 2021, Hope’s beautiful light flickered.
Dru Clements is a retired educator and a native of Beaufort. During her career, she served as a volunteer teacher at the Univerity of Central America and the office for Disabled War Veterans in Managua, Nicaragua.