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By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

Regardless of their political leaning — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — what Americans witnessed in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Wednesday, Jan. 6, represented a repugnant and shameful disgrace for every U.S. citizen.

The savage violation of the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of rightwing ultraists who, egged on and enabled by the incendiary rhetoric of their leader, President Donald J. Trump, was far more than a travesty against law and order. It was a violent transgression against the core values of the U.S. Constitution and democracy itself.

For the last four years — and even before — the United States has been desecrated and pillaged by an encroaching surge of social acrimony and political intolerance.

That bitter contempt between extremists on both sides has fueled mutual distrust, small-mindedness and a bigotry that has metastasized into blind hatred and irrational sectarian divisions.

It has ripped at the very soul of the American spirit and tainted the conscience of the nation, so much so that it has endangered the fundamental freedoms and principles set down by the nation’s founders.

Yesterday, a few hundred fanatical followers of Trump breached the walls of the U.S. Congress, forcing its members to flee for their safety and interrupting the certification of the country’s next president.

The storming of the capitol building was an affront not only to the rule of law, but to that fragile institution that all U.S. citizens most cherish, democracy itself.

Yesterday, the entire world looked on in horror as democracy in the United States came under violent assault by some of its own citizens.

Fortunately, the grotesque barrage was soon contained and only one person died in the savage clash between the so-called protesters and police inside the legislative chambers.

But the real casualty of the day was far more frail, more intangible, more momentous than a single human life.

It represented the brutal uprooting of a nation founded on the ideals of democracy and equality.

Yesterday, the entire world looked on in shock as the American elective system was left forever maimed by the crass actions of abhorrent intolerance and senseless partisanship.

And today, we must ponder: Where do we go from here?

…Jan. 7, 2021

 

 

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