Our nation’s frustration showed loud and clear on January 6th . The Capitol Mall and streets of Washington, D.C. were packed with protesting Americans. Pictures of the sea of citizens were eerily similar to what we saw of Honk Kong citizens taking to their streets in protest. One-seventh of the entire population were protesting the Chinese Communist Party’s harsh crack down on citizens and pushing years ahead of the scheduled take over of Hong Kong by China. In those protests, these Freedom loving people were carrying American flags and U.S. Constitutions. They understood what America’s Founding represents and want it for themselves instead of living under the crushing fist of communism.
The January 6th American protesters carried our flag and Constitution, fearful that our Freedom is being stripped away. Freedom beats in the hearts of all humans and is baked into our DNA. Some are able to attain it and some are not but all are willing to die fighting for it. In a formal manner, Americans have had hard-fought Freedom for over two and a quarter centuries, four centuries informally with the arrival of the Mayflower. Those early settlers to our shores were escaping religious persecution. They soon found their experiment with communism nearly destroyed their entire colony. Once they corrected their mistake, the colony began to thrive and a new form of government took root where people are the masters of their own fate.
American citizens have the Constitutional right to assemble for peaceful protests. However, once property damage or physical harm begins, the peaceful protesters should immediately leave the area which the vast majority did last week. Americans have seen confusing messages beginning last summer with violence and destruction on a nightly basis in our major cities going unpunished. In America, the rule of law is to be equally applied to all. When it is not, there is only the arbitrary rule of man which greatly angers law abiding citizens.
On January 6th , a relatively few went too far, in comparison to the hundreds of thousands protesters. Even among those few, a small percent engaged in damage to our nation’s Capitol. They should be charged and have their day in court. The others who entered the building and did no damage may have believed they had the right to walk into a building owned by all Americans. The chaos which ensued was frightening to those working there and in the surrounding buildings containing the members’ offices. No one knows in advance what will be the outcome of a mob of people. I am grieved that five Americans lost their lives as a result.
I am also saddened that our public government buildings have been closed off to the public. That is not the American process and certainly not how our state Capitol operates. When the public is excluded, suspicion and distrust take root along with rampant rumor of dastardly deeds being done to our Freedom. That is why the legislative process must operate in the open. There are laws against closed, secretive meetings when setting public policy. Sunshine is a powerful disinfectant.
Let us again trust American citizens to be responsible keepers of the peace. Equally punish those throughout the land who turn violent and destructive. Allow our blindfolded Lady Justice to treat all people equally. Permit our law enforcement officers to do their duty. Respect for all will go a long way to heal our nation into the loving, caring place we all know it has been and can be. The Golden Rule of treating others as you wish to be treated still applies to all.