Yesterday, a joint session of Congress met to affirm the results of the 2020 presidential election, which determined that Joe Biden would be the 46th President of the United States. What should have been a ceremonial exercise had instead been engulfed in controversy for weeks. Despite a complete and utter lack of evidence of widespread election irregularities, and despite dozens of court rulings condemning the notion, multiple Republicans stated that they would object to the vote from certain states which had gone against Donald Trump.
These politicians intended to carry out a craven, self-interested charade to appease Trump and his followers, all the while knowing it would not change the result, and knowing that it shouldn’t. They were kicking at one of the key foundations of our democracy, the orderly transfer of power following free and fair elections, in the hopes that it would further their future political ambitions. Such fecklessness was despicable, and it should have been the worst news of the day.
Instead, things got worse, in far more visceral fashion. Following a fact-free speech from Donald Trump at his “March to Save America” rally, a small band of insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol building. Due to an inexplicable absence of proper security, Congressional members were forced to flee the chamber. In a matter of minutes, thugs were literally able to physically overtake the seat of the legislative branch. It was horrifying to witness, and it was a direct result of Trump’s refusal to accept his loss.
Make no mistake. Donald Trump encouraged this action, as did those who have cynically enabled him in both the past two months, and over the past four years. All that preceded yesterday’s events should be dissected at length, and we should do all we can to avoid ever seeing something like this again. Lies and hypocrisy must be called out, criminals must be prosecuted, and democracy must never be taken as a given. When it comes to Trump specifically, the rhetorical two-step that Donald Trump should be taken “seriously, but not literally” must finally be rejected by all. Time and again, Trump has shown exactly who he is. He is serious and literal, and he would do anything to hold on to power, including tearing down American democracy itself.
There must be a reckoning in the coming weeks, months, and years. Republicans must see that placating and cozying up to lunatics is playing with fire, and eventually, we’ll all get burned. Dangerous conspiracy theories and alternate realities must be quashed, because it is more clear than ever just how much they threaten our society. Let us remember yesterday as a terrible day, but also as a death throe, marking the end of an awful era.
While this is generally a humor site, I simply can’t find a joke anywhere in all of this. Nevertheless, I can still find hope. At present, I hope the following will be the ultimate story of January 6, 2021 (as well as the wee hours of January 7): After a demoralizing day of rioting and mayhem in our nation’s capital, Congress got back to work, and certified Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Despite the noxious lies from Trump and his acolytes, despite the violence perpetrated by a small band of anarchistic thugs, our system once again held. In just over 13 days, the Trump presidency will end. Where we go from there, only time and our actions, will tell.