Coup In The Capitol (A Social Justice Perspective)

Hunger for power can inspire megalomaniacs to commit insidious acts of injustice. Those who relinquish their will to such narcissists and blindly exercise that of their leader’s, will rock the foundations of justice.

After a speech given in front of the White House, President Donald Trump encouraged the disruption of Congress in the certification of the presidential election. The Executive branch has never asked its people to do its bidding for the president and disrupt the process through insurrection. It has been claimed by law scholars that “this is a seditious act” and warrants removal from office, enactment of the 25th Amendment or a process of impeachment.

Lawmakers across the country are calling for one of these acts to be implemented.

Only once before in our history has our Capitol been under siege and was desecrated and that happened when Britain, a foreign enemy of the state at the time, overran the Capitol in the Chesapeake Campaign during the War of 1812. Never in our Nation’s history has its own people overrun the Capitol to disrupt Congress’s duty of legislation on behalf of its citizens — this did not even happen during the Civil War.

We are a nation of laws.

The process of objections to the elections has been carried out through the courts in the states where the president lost. Not one court decision ruled in favor of the president and his claim of fraudulent results of the election. This includes judges who were appointed personally by the president.  No evidence was submitted to prove the claim.

Last week, a Republican lawmaker in Georgia recorded the president who directly asked the Secretary of State of Georgia to “Find some more votes” to overturn the election result in that state.

These are unprecedented times. The images from the Capitol are horrific and five people lost their lives in the assault.  Armed, “domestic terrorists” infiltrated the House and Senate Chambers wreaking havoc and destruction in their wake – “desecrating the Temple of Democracy.”  Breaking windows, overrunning capitol police, stealing documents from the Speaker’s office and other artifacts to lay claim to their delusional patriotic pride.  

The doors were barricaded and arms were drawn in the House chamber by police. Legislators were told to wear gas masks and escorted out of both chambers to a secure location for fear of their lives.  Some members of Congress called their loved ones for fear that they were going to be killed.

A Capitol officer, who swore an oath to protecting and serving the people of the United States and lawmakers to protect and defend the Constitution, was killed. Two senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri have the dubious distinction of supporting the objection to a certification of our presidential election even though Biden won the electoral college and received more popular votes than any other presidential candidate to date.

As we speak, the number has risen to over 400,000 people who have died of the deadly coronavirus. Unemployment is climbing and the rolls of people seeking assistance continues to climb. Although the Democrats control the House, Republicans control the Senate and presidency, yet President Trump’s followers are laying the blame squarely on the Houses of Congress, disavowing the president from any blame.

History speaks of the dangers of more than one egocentric Caesar who cared only for his own welfare. Nero played the fiddle while Rome was burning. President Trump repeated his bogus claims, watched and tacitly told the insurrectionists to go home, telling them “We love you…  Go home and go home in peace.” My friend Chris recognized the dissonance of using this phrasing as this is our final sending forth in leaving church. Jesus calls us to care for one another. In the wake of such corrupt acts, some people are not living the message.

The president’s dissonant remarks are a “banging gong or a clashing cymbal.” Love does not divide.  Love multiplies. True love unites.  True love inspires the hearts of people to come together for the sake of the common good and to use our gifts to arrive at solutions to difficult problems.

An elevated state of consciousness brings light to the world and inspires the “angels of our better nature” to plant seeds of hope and faith and inspire the cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice – reasonable, agreeable terms in the name of progress and the promise of spiritual leaders who proved the points with their lives.   

In the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “…morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

We conquer evil by standing together as one body. The unity of diversity is our greatest strength; a people of diversity bringing gifts and listening intently to the cares and concerns of noble women and men.

As Trump himself said at his Inauguration four years ago, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.  We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly but always pursue solidarity.”  Are these just words?

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