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The realities of the failed insurrection last week are still hard to comprehend.
It’s clear now what the mob is capable of, what it’s willing to do.
They rampaged through the Capitol. They dragged a police officer into the mob, beating him with an American flag. Another officer was murdered. They erected gallows and paraded through the halls of Congress with a Confederate battle flag. Reporters were attacked, beaten and harassed.
The images of a noose and the flag of sedition trapsed through the Capitol, the marauding traitors who seemed bent on mayhem and perhaps murder.
It’s all too much.
And it keeps getting worse. Each day there are new revelations, new layers of the conspiracy uncovered, new and terrifying information coming to light.
From reporting in the Washington Post, the president not only incited the riot and put his own vice president in danger; he also wasted time in his response, watching with some sort of twisted glee the coverage on TV.
He ignored pleas for help from his allies — his co-conspirators who were willing to overturn a free and fair election for his benefit.
It’s terrifying and disgraceful.
Trump must be removed from office, and he and the others who conspired against our democracy held accountable. If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to act, then the U.S. House of Representatives must impeach and the Senate must convict.
Watching from Maine – still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic and the havoc it’s causing on our people – there’s a feeling of helplessness to everything that’s happening.
But we can’t let that deter us.
For every violent, seditious image coming from Washington, there is a picture of bravery, perseverance and courage.
There’s the lone Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, who led the mob away from the U.S. Senate, saving untold lives and perhaps the country as a whole.
There are the Senate aides who spirited the Electoral College votes away from the Senate floor before they could be captured by the traitors storming the gates.
There’s the members of the House and the Senate who returned to work just hours after the attack, and the law enforcement officers and the National Guard who made that return possible.
And there’s the image of New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim, bent down cleaning up the garbage left behind by the mob, helping to pick up the pieces and repair the damage done by the insurrectionists.
“When you see something you love that’s broken, you want to fix it. I love the Capitol. I‘m honored to be there,” Kim said, according to the Associated Press. “This building is extraordinary and the rotunda in particular is just awe-inspiring. How many countless generations have been inspired in that room?
“It really broke my heart and I just felt compelled to do something. … What else could I do?”
That is the question to all of us. What else can I do?
Most of us can’t physically help to repair the Capitol, but we all have a role in repairing the damage that has been done.
Yes, our country must come together in a new spirit of unity. But unity is not possible until there is truth and accountability.
We must put in the hard work to understand the details of what transpired, we must reject and hold accountable any political leader who uses the language of violence to incite their supporters. We cannot allow this behavior to be normalized.
More protests are coming — more violence is possible. We have to decide: In which picture do we want to appear? Among the mob, waving the flag of slavery and hate? Or with the brave and committed people willing to do the hard work to put our country back together again?
David Farmer is a public affairs, political and media consultant in Portland, where he lives with his wife and two children.