It has been exactly a week since the storming of the Congressional Halls of the United States of America. Stormed not by a foreign invader, but by a mob of angry Americans determined to overturn the results of a legitimate election. Their goal? To take away the votes of millions of their fellow citizens in favor of an illegitimate candidate who lied to them for years.
They were, and they still are, maddened to the point of insanity by what they believe is an overpowering conspiracy by what they call the “radical left” to take down our democracy. They have been fed lie upon lie by a variety of miscreants who, for their own agendas, are using the current President as the rally point for unspeakable chaos that has resulted in pain and death.
It has also resulted in a heightened sense of the need for ramped-up security that has brought legions of police and National Guard units from all over the country to protect the capital as it prepares for the inauguaration of a new President. Sacred national buildings are now surrounded by unscalable fencing and armed sentinels stand guard everywhere. Washington D.C. looks more like Kabul than the seat of freedom’s bright beacon. And the US Congress, the very victims of the storming on January 6th, are now discussing impeaching the errant current occupant of the Oval Office despite the fact that he will be gone in less than a week.
In human terms, this apocryphal time has produced both heroes and villains. It is so easy for us to focus the majority of our attention on the villains and their actions. The very shamefulness of their actions both shock and disgust. But, for the sake of the country, we must instead concentrate on the heroes among us. They are many and they have stood in the gap as absurdity has descended upon us. But to do that, we must define what a hero is.
For everyone who grew up with TV shows like “Gunsmoke” or “The Rifleman”, or loved John Wayne as he rode through the Old West defending the “American Way”, a hero is easy to define. A hero is strong. A hero is not afraid, and a hero puts himself or herself in the way of dangerous actions to protect others.
But maybe that perception must be broadened.
For us now, a hero must be a person who is willing to take a stand and tell a truth that will rankle the members of the “mob” who have been awakened by the lies of the would-be dictator who is now Commander in Chief. That would mean that everyone single one of us, irrespective of party affiliation, must decide whether we tell that truth. Do we stand for what is right and true or excuse away actions that were in some ways worse than anything that happened in the boiling days of the 1850s? God forbid it to be the latter.
Yet, even now, when we have seen literal war in the capital, that is not what we are seeing from all sides of this issue. We still see those who would propagate the enabling of the heinous principles of the current President and his lies. We still see those who would, for fear of their “base”, refuse to call that lying treason for what it is. They are, for the most part, members of the same political party as that rogue President. And they are afraid. Not afraid of the evil that threatens us, but afraid of the people who have a say in their political careers. And, unfortunately, they are sad examples of what free men and women should be.
What the country needs now are more “John Waynes” whose focus on “the right as God gives us to see the right”, as Lincoln said. We need those people who still explain away or excuse the horror of this presidency and stand for what is right no matter how it affects their careers. We need them to be among the heroes among us.