On Saturday, Sept. 18, a right-wing extremist rally was staged in Washington D.C. in support of rioters who had been arrested and charged with insurrection in their attempt to overthrow our government with a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol building, Jan. 6.
The attendance at the rally was smaller than anticipated. The press coverage was so muted, it appeared the event was discounted or ignored. But it was something that cannot and must not be overlooked. It was a grim reminder that our democracy is still in peril.
Donald Trump proclaimed that the demonstration was a great patriotic expression, as if it were something he himself had orchestrated.
The Constitution of the United States of America grants considerable latitude to freedom of speech and expression of opinions. In the past few years, the limits of those Constitutional allowances have been stretched, but violence is still off limits.
Trump is out of office but not out of power. He owns the best politicians money can buy. He is free with no limitations or unaccountability for his actions, his slander, and his malicious instigations. He is more dangerous and destructive in his role as a kingmaker.
On the sidelines of the political arena, the Donald teasingly mentions that he might run again for the presidency. His ego would compel him. In that case, his opposition should remind the electorate that Trump did not seek the presidency to serve the people. He intended to have the people serve him.
Currently, Trump’s influence is evident in the legislative results in Texas and in Louisiana with state laws enacted to limit voting rights and curtail women’s health care. There is a danger that more such laws will be enacted in more states.
America stands as a nation divided, struggling to reconstitute itself morally and philosophically, and to regain its stature among other nations and allies. It is plagued by two pandemics: the pandemic of the coronavirus and a pandemic of Trumpism. Unfortunately, there is a vaccine against only one of the plagues.
Trumpism is an idea, a philosophy, physically intangible, that cannot be quashed by legislation. Thus, the question is how to purge Trump’s warped, flawed logic from the hearts and minds of half the nation. Perhaps the answer to the question is in the phrase, “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
Over the four years of his presidency, Donald Trump told 30,573 lies and untruths (Google). The undoing of Trumpism is contingent on discrediting lies and revealing truth. Trumpism cannot stand scrutiny.
A man’s wrongful death in May of 2020 stunned our consciousness. Resulting demonstrations and protest brought to light numerous moral flaws permeating our society. The national sins are systemic racism, brutality of those who serve and protect us, economic oppression of minorities, and many others.
Now we can proclaim: “We have seen the enemy and he is us.” (Walt Kelly)
Fred Natkevi is a longtime Oak Park resident.