On this day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his words, as always, are guideposts: “Violence brings only temporary victories; violence, by creating many more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace.”
Thoughts on January 6
by Allan Ament, Whidbey Island, Washington
Along with millions of people across the globe, I watched the January 6 events at our Nation’s Capitol unfold with “shock and awe.” As President-elect Biden said, words, especially those spoken by the President, have consequences. To paraphrase the childhood schoolyard taunt, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can start a riot!”
This was a sad day, a dark stain on America and its image in the world, especially considering the unnecessary loss of life that occurred. Sometimes, the pendulum has to swing to the extreme before it is able to return to the center. Hopefully, it will be a wake-up call to those who are not quite True Trumpism Believers but who, by their silence and complacency, were and are enablers in this illegal and unAmerican conduct.
I am anything but a “Pollyanna” seeking to find the good and positive in everything. Nor have I ever considered myself a flag-waving, “USA! USA!” patriot. At the same time, I believe that January 6—a day as historically important as 9-11—may well serve as a beacon lighting the way toward a more rational, sane, and functioning America. After all the CYA speeches and resignations, perhaps some of our leaders, present and future, will recognize the dangers of putting personal ambition and self-preservation ahead of the interests of the commonweal.
Yes, it will take time. Blame calling, finger pointing, calls for punishment, increased divisiveness will undoubtedly come first, as will attempts at justification and diverting attention from those inciting the violence and insurrection.
At the same time, we must not lose sight of the ultimate outcome that day. The November election results were certified as accurate. A peaceful transition of power in both the White House and the Senate (thanks, Georgia) will occur on January 20, 2021. Such a peaceful and voluntary relinquishment of power to a political opponent was unheard of and incomprehensible before 1801 when America first showed the world it was possible.
Wednesday night (early Thursday morning) that lesson was underscored when members of Congress, refusing to succumb to the threat of violent insurrection, left their shelter-in-place locations, reconvened, and did their sworn Constitutional duty, albeit after some unnecessary political grandstanding. American democracy worked on that day.
The system bent a bit, but it did not break. Whatever didn’t kill us may actually make us stronger. We can only hope.
May it be so.