What will it take for us to be Americans first? Americans were ashamed at what happened yesterday in the nation’s capitol. Americans were horrified that a president who clearly lost election to a second term, tried to take over the government in what amounted to an act of sedition.
Most of all, we Americans were disappointed that so many self-proclaimed ‘patriots’ – voters and elected officials – supported these actions seemingly without a care as to how they ran counter to everything we stand for as Americans.
Dissent is a badge of honor for Americans because it separates us from the fake democracies run by dictators around the world. But dissent does not neutralize all our other responsibilities as Americans – respect for the law, for our institutions, and respect for each other. Someone once said, “You do not grow taller by cutting off the heads of those around you.”
Americans rose above the tribal societies that ran the world and in many cases still do. Our tribe was over 300 million strong, yet stood as one regardless of party affiliation. It served us well in overcoming a Civil War, defeating communism and overcoming deadly diseases like polio.
Now we have become two tribes again, failing as a nation to defeat the deadliest disease we ever faced and ready to overturn a free election. We stand at the brink of another civil war as evidenced by yesterday’s takeover of the capitol. It is lawlessness fueled by rhetoric and baseless conspiracy theories. The first Civil War was at least based on principle, different interpretations of our Constitution. This civil war will be based on some poorly defined grudges masquerading as principle to impose the will, not of a party, but of a single individual. That is how it is done in other countries that hide behind a façade of democratic principles while suffocating dissent at every opportunity.
Whatever our beliefs or allegiances, we must continue to express them within the framework of our common principles of freedom and democracy. In other words, we must continue to be Americans.