“…a date which will live in infamy.
– President Franklin D. Roosevelt, speaking in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941
I never thought it possible after the horrors of World War II, but on Jan. 6, 2021, we witnessed a second “date of infamy” when what can only be described as an undisciplined, un-American MOB stormed the United States Congress to disrupt a Constitutional requirement effecting the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another.
Exacerbating the defiling of Constitutional norms that symbolize what a Democracy stands for, it was the now “temporary” president of the United States – Donald Trump – who for weeks not only urged his followers to come to Washington to protest the election, but on that disgraced day told his followers to march up Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House promising “I will be marching with you.” (He wasn’t.)
Thousands did just that, not as a peaceful protest, but as a mob. And while peaceful protest is something no one can argue against because we all have that right under our Constitution, when the “protest” turned into a destructive mob pillaging the Senate and House of Representatives, the Trump presidency created a second date that will live in infamy in American history.
TRUMP TO THE MOB: ‘WE LOVE YOU’
And the “acting” president did nothing to stop it. While the rioters were pillaging the Capitol, breaking windows, smashing desks, stealing “souvenirs,” trashing the seat of our democracy, when it was almost over, Trump came out and told HIS mob to “go home now…. but know we love you.”
No condemnation, but instead a reaffirmation of the litany of lies about his lost election being stolen. Then, in an attempt to cover his ass legally, the next day he made self-serving, “we don’t condone violence” video. Too little, and far, far too late!
NO ELECTION FRAUD
Now, let’s be clear – 59 court challenges, almost a dozen recounts, including those by Republican secretaries of state and two Supreme Court decisions, have stated definitively that the election was fair and there was no massive vote fraud as alleged by Trump and his minions.
In our democracy, that’s it.
But no. Led by none other than Missouri’s Disgraced Greitens copycat “I’m now running for president” Josh Hawley, millions of Americans have refused to accept FACTS even from their own Republican sources. They have drunk the Trump Kool-Aid, marched as a mob on Washington in an unprecedented insurrection, and shamed America throughout the world.
LIKE RATS FLEEING SINKING SHIP
Before 24 hours had passed, like rats abandoning their sinking ship, dozens of Trump cabinet members and staffers were resigning. Not out of honor, but only to begin distancing themselves from their despot boss in preparation for their next gig. They hope this will make them look “honorable.” It won’t.
WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?
Brothers and Sisters, no matter who you supported in the election, and many of you supported the president for your own good reasons, now is the time to ask yourselves, “Is this what we truly stand for?” Will you stand by and let our Democracy be trashed?
And don’t think it can’t happen. What Trump has started will be followed by other demagogues who follow (Hello, Josh Hawley), because they have seen how effective it can be. Trump plowed the ground and sowed the seeds of dissent, and they will fertilize that ground to reap their own harvest.
Dictators and demagogues around the world smiled last week as an American president joined their ranks, championed their methods, and all but erased any illusions of American exceptionalism.
UNDER THE RULE OF LAW
As trade unionists, our generations past have fought to protect our Democracy, have demanded, fought for, and died for America, and our rights as working people. And we will continue to do so – under the rule of law.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in response to the shameful debacle at our nation’s Capitol, “This… (is an) effort to violate the constitutional rights of every law-abiding American, and the Labor Movement will not stand for it. Not today. Not ever.”
We can accept nothing less.