Whenever we editorialize about national politics, we are criticized, unfailingly, by those who feel we should keep our comments local, as well as others who simply call us “fake news.” But after the events in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, we can't be silent; indeed, no American should be.
We won't rehash the incident that turned from a protest to a mob to an insurrection. The scenes of people in MAGA hats carrying Trump and Confederate flags rampaging through the Capitol, the seat of American democracy, have been seared into our consciousness. Idiots in horned fur helmets and laughing fools looting federal property. Windows being smashed, police being pummeled. It was almost too much to bear.
Anyone who doubted where the president's loyalties lie can doubt no more. He does not care, nor has he ever cared, for anyone or anything but himself and lives in his own reality TV show. His shameful pursuit of the lie that the November election was stolen, rejected by dozens of courts – including many presided over by judges that he appointed – starkly exhibits his narcissism. Inciting his followers to storm the Capitol, with no real understanding of what he was doing or any willingness to take responsibility – and then blaming it on Antifa, for which there is no evidence – shows that he is not fit to serve.
Congress was set to vote Wednesday on a second impeachment of the president. We aren't convinced that is the right way to address the situation. Although he retains control – sorry, there's no other way to reference his Svengali-like hold – over his base, after last week, President Trump's political future is nonexistent; the majority of Americans don't like liars and traitors. Impeaching him risks making him a martyr not only among his base, but also among those may see this as a power grab by Democrats. With no chance that Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet members will invoke the 25th Amendment, the best strategy is to wait out the next week and trust that Trump is restrained by Congress, the courts and responsible individuals within the administration – if there are any left – from doing further damage. Removal of his access to Twitter and Facebook has gone a long way in that direction, and the complicit right-wing media needs to recognize that it's imperative to lower the temperature and not give his grievances further airing. Some would argue that impeachment, and conviction in the Senate (which is not guaranteed, even now) is the only way to prevent Trump from seeking office again; we would argue, however, that his own actions have made his ever again attaining federal elected office implausible, if not impossible.
We desperately hope that the predictions of violence this weekend and on Inauguration Day do not come true. Those who believe the election was stolen are likely to still protest, and that would be fine if they are peaceful, but given the frenzy that occurred last week, that's a tenuous proposition at best. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on Jan. 20, and Donald Trump will slink down the rabbit hole of his imagined grievances. Americans must come to grips with the fact that their dark side was exposed, and find a way forward that leads into the light.