Siege on the Capitol: Sedition, Traitors and Trump

Opinion

Siege on the Capitol: Sedition, Traitors and Trump

Mr. Arthur J. Simental

January 17, 2020

(Disclaimer: *This article was prepared or accomplished by Arthur J. Simental in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.

Our nation is in peril. Faced with a broadening rupture that threatens the future of America. Trump and his supporters turned to insurrection in attempt to disrupt certification of the electoral votes in a joint session of Congress to finalize Vice President Joe Biden’s and Senator Kamala Harris’ win as President and Vice President-elect. This violent disruption, an attempted coup carried out in broad daylight left the nation’s capital defiled… An event such as this has not occurred since the British Army decimated the Capitol and burned down the White House during the Revolutionary War of 1812.[i] Our nation has never been closer to the brink of another Civil War…

            America has never been more divided. Our rivaling ideologies and political parties have reached a breaking point in which our democracy can no longer function normally. We can no longer carry out the procedural, expected functions of governance as our political parties have entered a death spiral. One in which tribalism and loyalty to one’s political party is more important than the good of nation. Group think and cultish fanaticism for President Trump are the norms that Republican’s embrace. President Trump has enslaved the Republican party, bending it to his will. Republicans, once the proud party of Lincoln, have now fallen so far from the grace of the proud mantle they held as fiscal and defense hawks, ardent proponents of individual freedoms and small government to become an authoritarian cult willing to do anything to stay in power. America has been systematically attacked by a President and Republican political party that willingly carried out his orders. Every aspect of our government and our most sacred institutions have been desecrated over and over again during the Trump presidency. Even before the election, one thing has been very clear. You are either with Trump or against him. That goes for the Congress, the Senate, the Courts, the Supreme Court, no one is treated as being independent. You bend the knee or face the wrath. Even in his defeat, Trump and his allies masterminded a vast network of great conspiracies and attacked the very truth and reality of the world in which we find ourselves in. This was not a matter of difference in perspective. It is the creation of an altered reality in which Trump’s lies magnified by his cultish republican following became a truth that allowed for no other reality to exist. President Trump has declared himself a prophet and protector of the truth. The one he decides it to be. He accepts nothing else to be true. That is why he proclaims everything he does to be the greatest, regardless of the actual merits of his deeds. After four long years of indoctrination, his mindless hordes and his cult followings accept his and his word alone as the truth. The continued echo and magnification of the webs vast conspiracies and lies, especially through conduits such as social media has led to this exact moment in time. I would state it is not surprising that social media, a tool designed to foster the sharing of ideas and information has quickly become a tool for radicalization and recruitment of extremists and even terrorists domestically and internationally. ISIS demonstrated how easily this could be done creating a blueprint for other nefarious movements. We find ourselves at this moment, where the truth is varied. Our democracy has been disrupted because:

Half of America, believes in a fake version of reality in which President Trump won and Democrats are stealing the election, and the other half of America believes in the truth that Joe Biden won and beat Trump fairly.

            Let me be clear, there are no alternative facts, no alternate realities, or universes. There is only the truth and the one reality we live in. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election. It was not rigged, there was no vast wide-spread election fraud. Over 60 courts across the nation at every level up to the U.S. Supreme Court have definitively rejected this false claim. States across the nation have further conducted numerous recounts and audits to verify the results of the election. There has been a massive effort across all levels of government to assure that the 2020 election was perhaps the most secure election in history.

            Despite all of these immense efforts, President Trump and his followers refuse to accept the truth. They would not relent and instead chose to promote the greatest lie of our nation’s history – that Trump won the 2020 election despite every remedy and legal option having been exhausted to contest the election results. Even knowing the hard truth, Republican elected officials across the nation chose to follow Trump and continue to promote Trump’s great lie.

            The result is well known around the world in what can be described as the expected end to Trump’s legacy as President. The incitement of violence to overthrow the results of the election in an attempted self-coup where Trump sought to declare himself the victor and overturn the election results. Trump and his Republican allies called for violence at the Pro-Trump rally and then marched on the Capitol. What happened next is now history. The Capitol was defiled, five people died, one of which was a Capitol Police Officer and the lives of the Vice President, the Senate and Congress were put in jeopardy at Trump’s behest. Even after the insurrectionist movement and the attempted coup had ended and order and peace were restored thanks to the National Guard and the many law enforcement agencies that supported the response, 147 Republicans still stood and continued to promote Trump’s great lie contesting the certification of the electoral votes. Despite an armed mob donning attire designed to invoke fear and spread the message of hate splintering doors, shattering windows, and putting the lives of Congress members and staff in imminent danger. 147 Republicans still voted to overturn the election results. As of this date two pipe bombs, several firearms, 11 Molotov cocktails were noted as being found in and around the Capitol building and insurgents seen on closed circuit video carried other items such as zip ties suggesting a grander plot to potentially take hostages, detain lawmakers, their staff and subject them to all manner of evils. This is nothing short of domestic terrorism. It is shocking that so few Republicans have chosen to wake up and accept the truth. In this hour they continue to support Trump and plot their next acts of insurrection, having been emboldened by successfully disrupting the election certification joint session of Congress.

            The comparison here I would make is that of Nazi Germany. The Nazi political party over time indoctrinated its following into what can be described as a nationalistic cult like we see in today’s modern parallel.[ii] Nazism was not just a political party, it started as a movement that gave power to lies and blame much as Trump has done. Hitler cast Germany’s woes on the Jewish people and blamed them for the nation’s woes, made stereotypes that became common and reinforced those beliefs into the very fabric of German culture and society to give rise to a Nazi party that was all powerful, the Nazi way was the only truth as Hitler made it to be with the help of his allies and fanatic supporters. Trump has wielded American nationalism as a rallying cry against minorities and all those who he deems in his way. He’s called Mexican’s murderers and rapists, he blamed Asian’s for COVID19 referring to it as the “Chinese virus” and many other horrible disparaging sentiments met by thunderous applause of republicans at his rallies, much like that of Hitler.[iii] Declaring his enemies as enemies of progress all the while supporting white supremacist ideals and movements such as the Proud Boys and Boogaloos and others.

They say when you repeat a lie often enough it becomes accepted over time. People become desensitized to the truth and reality. Unable to distinguish the lie from truth or fact. It can start out seemingly innocent based on an observation or perception based on truth but distorted. For example, Hitler blamed the Jewish people for Germany’s economic woes as many Jewish families were affluent and held high-profile positions. For example, “a growing minority resorted to lies and conspiracy theories, such as the stab-in-the-back myth, which blamed scapegoats like Jews and socialists rather than the military for losing the war”.[iv] Multiplied through propaganda, racial prejudices and confirmation bias you can deduce how this became dangerous overtime. Long held white supremacist beliefs and long held republican immigration sentiments against minorities have led to statements like Mexicans are lazy, immigrants are stealing good American jobs, or black people are dangerous and abuse the welfare system. These sentiments have been greatly exaggerated by Trump to justify his agenda and have become more treacherous remarks such as Mexican’s are murders and rapists, immigrants are criminals and terrorists, and other similar statements towards minorities being everything from drug dealers to “undesirables”.[v] Fueled by nationalistic pride, Trump has declared war on democracy itself in an attempt to purge America of those deemed “unamerican”.

            History lessons from the Civil War show us that after the Civil War, those that rebelled and supported the insurrectionist succession movement were deemed unfit to hold office by the inclusion of the 14th Amendment. To be welcomed back into the fold, insurrectionist confederate leaders were made to swear allegiance back to America but still paid the price of being a traitor – sentenced to no longer be able to hold public office. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your republican, democrat, liberal, black, white, brown, we are all Americans. You are either for America or not. No political party, no affiliation can claim to be absolute in being for America or not, because American democracy is the culmination of all of these things. The balance of both republican and democratic ideologies that govern America. Likened to Star Wars’ balance in the force.

            The Siege on the Capitol, the insurrectionist movement and attempted coup should be viewed through the lens of history. President Trump has committed a High Crime against the nation and should be impeached. However, it would be a grave mistake to punish just the head of the insurrectionist movement as he did not act alone. Many elected officials have carried out destabilizing acts and attacked the credibility of the election and worse yet, deliberately chose to propagate Trump’s great lie despite knowing it to be false. Even after the violence subsided and peace was restored at the Capitol 147 Republicans still deliberately pushed Trump’s great lie, knowing it was false attempting to dispute the counting of electoral votes. This is an act of insurrection, just as after the Civil War to support the Confederacy was insurrection and treasonous.[vi] They too should each bear responsibility and be punished in the same manner. No less than removal from office, forced to reaffirm allegiance to the United States and disbarred from holding future public office. For they have put personal, party and political interests before the nation, despite their solemn oaths of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”[vii] In doing so they have committed treason in supporting and inciting the violent attempt to overthrow the United States Government.

References:

[i] (N.D.) Burning of Washington, 1814. United States Senate. https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/August_Burning_Washington.htm

[ii] Voigtländer, Nico and Voth, Hans-Joachim. (2015). Nazi indoctrination and anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany. PNAS. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1414822112

[iii] Frias, Lauren. (2020). Trump has a penchant for calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Kung Flu.’ Experts on Asian culture said the racist implications of the term divert attention from the disastrous US response. Insider. https://www.insider.com/experts-trump-racist-names-for-coronavirus-distract-from-us-response-2020-7

[iv] Brenner, Micheal. (2020). Pre-Nazi Germany tells us the fight to save American democracy is just beginning. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/01/09/pre-nazi-germany-tells-us-fight-save-american-democracy-is-just-beginning/

[v] Wolf, Byron. Trump basically called Mexicans rapists again. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/06/politics/trump-mexico-rapists/index.html

[vi] Sprunt, Barbara. (2021). Here Are The Republicans Who Objected To The Electoral College Count. https://www.npr.org/sections/insurrection-at-the-capitol/2021/01/07/954380156/here-are-the-republicans-who-objected-to-the-electoral-college-count

[vii] (N.D.) Oath of Office. United States Senate. https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Oath_Office.htm

 

Author Bio:

Arthur J. Simental, M.S.

Biography

Mr. Arthur J. Simental is an Adjunct Instructor and Homeland Security & Emergency Management Subject Matter Expert for the College of Security Studies at Colorado Technical University. Mr. Simental is also the Founder of Simental Industries Ltd. Mr. Simental has a decade of service in Government, Homeland Security & Emergency Management and Emergency Services. Serving at the local, county, regional, state, and federal level, and in the private and non-profit sectors in homeland security, emergency management, healthcare & public health emergency preparedness, space & defense, security, education and critical infrastructure.

Mr. Simental possesses a Master of Science in Homeland Security, Emergency Management and Public Health from Colorado Technical University, a Bachelor of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University, an Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security/Emergency Management from Pikes Peak Community College, and an Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity from Colorado State University.