We failed to fully heal in 1865...
We can't afford to fail this time
Today’s brief topic revolves around the most severe threat to our nation, in my lifetime, J6/ January 6th. Considering that I have lived through three wars, several combat deployments, a pandemic, two-recessions, a presidential assassination, a POTUS resignation, several impeachments and countless other high-profile events, January 6th’s armed insurrection, was by far the deepest wound and nearly fatal, to all that our nation stands for. That this wound was delivered by a movement of American citizens, enabled by our longest adversary, Russia and operationalized by one of our two major political parties, literally is salt in this, still-open wound.
I’m certain that many Americans, on both sides of the aisle feel as I do. In fact, it is up to all Americans, regardless of political affiliation to not only clean the wound, but to also treat it effectively so that it never threatens our nation and our democratic identity again.
Yesterday’s conviction of some of the J6 leadership, of Seditious Conspiracy is a watershed moment in US history. It also demands that all those who believe in, sacrificed for and hope to bequeath to future generations our “great experiment,” take the personal approach to support healing that is centered on true American values. That doesn’t mean the fake patriotism claimed by the participants and instigators of J6, but the true patriotic values ensconced in our remarkable founding documents. Today’s America looks little different than the dangerously tribalized pre-Civil War America, which also nearly severed our Union over a competition between fake patriotic values and authentic ones.
We never fully completed the healing process post 1865, and J6, by all rights should tell us that we must not fail, fully healing our nation, in order to forestall another J6 or worse in the future. In order to do this, we must have the moral courage to remove the armor of our political identities long enough to accept the truth regarding J6, regardless of where the blame falls. Truly, the operative question is whether or not, most Americans are capable of replacing their insidiously cultivated political spine (by party leadership), with the braided-steel spine that is built over centuries upon the timeless human values, our brilliant founders foresaw, as the foundation of our democratic republic.
If you’ve followed me for a couple of months, you likely already know that President George Washington is a personal hero. One of the more important reasons that he occupies a prestigious place in my personal Pantheon, was his deep disdain of “factions.” Factions in Washington’s time were the hyper-partisan political parties that grew out of the ambitions of men at risk from the siren song of their own egos. He’s one of the reasons that parties or factions are not part of our Constitution.
This wasn’t because he thought them of zero value, but because he was a life-long learner, studiously principled in the form of Roman Virtue that is roughly defined as, “being committed to the public good.” He recognized and foresaw the threat that they could and would become to our nascent republic by men with unprincipled ambitions.
On related note, allow me to interject here that if you have not read Pulitzer Prize winning author, Tom Rick’s newest book, First Principles, it’s a must read about the principles that shaped the lives and accomplishments of our founders. Most Americans of the time, literate or not, were influenced by similar principles.
Both “sides” of today’s aisle have a duty to heal our deep current wound. If anyone fails to acknowledge or contribute to the healing process, regardless of side, they will have abdicated their rights to the title “patriot.” Partisanship is NOT patriotism. Me must stop pretending that we live by our American values, purchased at great cost, if we don’t live by them.
Democracy is messy and it’s a team sport. One thing it’s not, is a “blood sport.” At least, not for principled citizens. There is nothing wrong with being a liberal, a conservative or otherwise, so long as you can show that you are worthy of putting the word, “principled” in front of your belief system. There is no point to a democracy if you are condemned for what you think. If what you believe though is built on a foundation of lies, conspiracy theories and cannot be underpinned by our stated values, you have no business being elected to or holding public office. As an example, Americans elected 178 politicians to the Congress that held “election denial” as part of their personal beliefs. That is a concept, unquestionably divorced from reality.
J6 was divorced from reality and based on the selfish fantasies of a man using a combination of Mafia and Russian influence tactics to overthrow the US government, in favor of creating an authoritarian theocracy with fascist overtones. Those who succumbed to these fantasies were influenced by tactics I have long studied and operated against, and which stemmed from adversaries of the US and our allies, such as Russia, China, Iran, N. Korea, all manner of extremists etc. It’s that type of influence, wielded by unscrupulous power-mongers that put us at risk by fanning social divisions dishonestly, throwing fuel on already simmering, divisions in US society. This type of influence is precisely what we must heal… beginning with accepting the truth.
Like any good 12-step program, religiously grounded, or not, step one is admitting that you have a problem. Now that we have convictions for Sedition it is time for all Americans to acknowledge the truth of the Trump era. It is literally your duty as a citizen. If you considered yourself a principled conservative, only you can say whether or not you retain your rights to the word, “principled” by accepting truth. If you sit on the opposite side of the aisle, it’s time to stop rubbing salt in the wounds of those just coming to terms with their addiction.
We all owe each other the support a family member would offer to someone struggling with addiction. This will be difficult and admittedly, I’m still scarred by watching everything that I believed in coming under assault by people calling themselves patriots. Still, I must practice what I preach, extend a hand and help lead others back to our founding principles.
If I can do this, all of us are capable. Today’s question is simply; “will both sides, extend their hands towards each other” … or not?