Nation’s crank calls coming from inside the House

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By TERRY MANNING

I fully expect as investigations continue into the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, we will find out more about sympathizers inside Congress offering assistance to those who stormed the barricades (keep an eye on which Republicans are appointed to those investigative panels.)

Evidence has been being presented already of targeted legislators’ locations being shared; of rioters having detailed maps of the congressional complex; and claims some lawmakers gave tours in the days prior to the attack. How else to explain rioters finding and burglarizing Congressman Jim Clyburn’s unmarked office? The South Carolina Democrat told CBS, “Somebody on the inside of those buildings was complicit.”

That may end up being the most generous description of what happened.

Generally speaking, I’m not a marcher. To my mind, most marches and demonstrations are performative expressions of pent-up frustration that placate the frustrated and typically effect no real change. Despite grumblings from both sides, the afflicted usually go back to being afflicted and the comfortable go back to being comfortable.

I’d much rather join a group or organization and try to change it from within. A well-placed tack hammer blow on the inside can sometimes cause more damage than a cannonball from the outside.

Which is why it makes me crazy to see all these know-nothing know-it-alls infiltrating our federal government. It’s not even that they are “know-nothings.” They know one thing with a frightening certainty: Government doesn’t work, and they are committed to doing anything and everything they can to prove themselves right. These people are driven by a deep-seated, self-righteous, cynical hatred for the government to which they swore allegiance.

The government they hate affirms the rights guaranteed in the Constitution apply to all Americans, not just conservative-thinking, gun-loving, Christian Caucasians who have never given a moment’s thought to their sexual or gender identity. So these “real Americans” attack those who don’t fit those descriptions as if somehow they are less deserving of being recognized as citizens or even human beings.

The government they hate doesn’t play “winner takes all” or allow the folks with the biggest stack of chips to ruin the lives of everyone around them. It’s all fine and dandy to brag about being independent from federal oversight until oil barons in Texas leave millions in the cold because they refused to invest in weatherproofing their power grid since no was there to make them.

The government they hate actually looks out for people who fall on hard times, whether through no fault of their own or sometimes directly due to their own bad decisions and missteps. I’m not really sure what to think about a nation that calls itself Christian, but doesn’t seem to want to give people second chances.

The government they hate might not allow them to carry guns anywhere, everywhere, all the time, with no regard for its practicality or for the safety of others. Yet these “patriots” insist on their Second Amendment right above all others. Many of them bought those guns to defend themselves against government overreach, but then cry foul when they aren’t allowed to carry these same anti-government weapons onto the floors of the houses of Congress?

This lack of awareness of their own hypocrisy extends to how they seize hold of and perpetuate anarchistic chants about “stopping the steal” and votes not being counted, but once in office orchestrate roadblocks to stop others from being able to vote and have their votes counted. They parrot the former president’s false claims about election fraud to justify making rules across the country that will make it harder for people — especially Black people — to vote when every investigation so far shows fraud was virtually nonexistent.

When free elections are a bedrock of our republic, how is it being a “patriot” to pick and choose who gets to vote or whose vote will be counted? These crackpots placed one hand on the Bible, raised the other in the air, and swore they would “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Their actions prove otherwise.

These people are traitors to their oaths and to this nation. They should be treated as such.

Terry E. Manning lives and works in Savannah, Ga. He is a Clemson graduate and worked for 20 years as a journalist. He can be reached at teemanning@gmail.com.