There are certain words I never thought I would say, let alone put in writing.
The President incited a riot.
Insurrectionists took the Capitol building.
My mother was right.
The last one may seem out of place but bear with me. You see, in the last couple of days I have noticed the continuing of a trend that has been going on for years, if not for decades. A trend that has arguably brought us to this point, and one that needs to stop if we are to ever get to a better place. It can best be summed up in a quote from the movie Batman (1989): “I made you, you made me first.”
Call it “whataboutism”. Call it “finger pointing”. Call it whatever you want. It boils down to the simple childish back and forth of “well X did this, which is just like Y”, or “well they did this, which justifies them doing that.”
As my mother told my sister and I when we were kids, “I don’t care who started it.” And she was right.
This shit has to stop. There can be no excuse for the actions that took place in Washington, DC on Jan. 6, 2021. There can be no justification based on actions taken by others because there is no justification. Full stop.
Likewise, to those who are taking to social media taking the opportunity to say, “I told you so”, again I say this shit has to stop. Like so many others, I am saddened, angry, and not at all surprised by these events. But seizing the moment to drive forward partisan divisions rather than simply condemn the actions of those responsible (and yes, that includes specific political figures up to and including Donald Trump himself) is risible. It does nothing to resolve the tensions that led to this moment, it simply exacerbates them. Many of you spent the entirety of George Bush’s presidency claiming he “stole” the election, and much the same of Trump in his sole term. Does that language sound at all hauntingly familiar?
But hey, as Winston Churchill said, “never let a good crisis go to waste,” amirite?
This shit has to stop. I don’t care who started it.
Let’s get in the wayback machine, shall we? In 1994, Newt Gingrich led a revolt in Congress, the so-called Contract with America. He got the Republicans to start playing hardball in politics. The Democrats were slow to catch up, but they sure were game for it. And hey, they decided to end the filibuster for non-SCOTUS nominees, so all even right? Nope, then the Republicans ended the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees. And Wow, those SCOTUS nominees! I mean, look at the way Garland was treated! No Supreme Court nominee has ever been treated badly by the Senate ever! He totally got Borked! Totally justifies screwing over the next guy if we can!
“I made you, you made me first.”
This shit has to stop. I DON’T CARE WHO STARTED IT.
Now there are people on social media demanding that those who perpetrated this offense against our nation be hunted down and executed summarily. Others see them as some sort of heroes defending the union against tyranny. I would humbly suggest that both sides are extremist assholes who need to put down their cellphones and get a nice cold glass of shut the fuck up.
I don’t care who started it.
I want them, all of them, to have the full benefit of the American justice system. Let them have a real trial with a vigorous defense and a jury of their peers. Let there be no doubt in any reasonable mind (you can’t reason with the unreasonable) that they were given every right under the very laws they so carelessly flouted. And let them enjoy the full penalty of the law as decided by that system they tried to destroy.
What truly makes America great, what always has and will continue to make America great, is this: despite the avaricious desires of some, we always have and always will, even- nay, especially in the face of adversity strived to be a nation of laws, not men. While we have in the past and even to this day sometimes fallen short of that lofty goal, that is not an excuse to lower the bar. It is instead all the more reason to set it higher.