There is so much to be disgusted and angry about over the domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol that it’s hard to know where to begin.
So let’s begin with what these home-grown invaders have in common with the terrorists who have assaulted us under the flags of other countries and religions. The common thread is criminal records and gnarled ideologies.
Take the Boston Marathon bombers. The radicalized Tsarnaev brothers acted on a twisted interpretation of Islam and opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tamerlan, one of the brothers, had already been charged with a variety of crimes and was the prime suspect in multiple murders before they exploded their deadly bomb in Boston.
Also in a twisted, radical interpretation of our laws, the Constitution and patriotism, a small army of people falsely calling themselves patriots attacked America’s Capitol. This misguided group of thugs who destroyed property and incited violence that resulted in five deaths, including the murder of a Capitol police officer, were protesting living in the greatest country in the world and enjoying the longest list of freedoms known to mankind. In an unkind cut, many were funded by their government stimulus checks.
Some of these so-called patriots already had criminal records, just as Tamerlan Tsarnaev did. Like camouflage netting, they waved a sea of flags and religious insignia, including holy crosses, to pose as good guys.
And we should be thankful that many of these thugs, like the failed actor who lives with his mother but got all dressed up in a horned headdress and playschool face paint for the insurrection, felt compelled to document their assault.
Running like a rat from the FBI this week was a man seen among the insurrectionists carrying a Confederate flag inside the Capitol. He was arrested Thursday. A closeup shows what appears to be a teardrop tattoo under his left eye.
Unless you already are a lawbreaker, or you believe violence, theft, property destruction and murder are excusable when somebody’s flag is being flown, you know--whether you want to admit it or not--how evil and sinister this assault on the Capitol was. But the bigger question is, are you speaking out against the evil these people embodied?
Are you voicing your opposition to the open bigotry, the open hatred of Jews, the obvious alternate reality that serves as the foundation of these hateful people?
Are you closing your eyes to the starkness of racial hatred that looms over the fact that if instead of white domestic terrorists these Capitol marauders had been Black there would have been blood running down the steps and into the street?
Are you not saying it’s wrong for preachers to preach politics and give tacit approval to the insurrection?
Are you nodding when someone tells you most of the invading mob didn’t realize things would get out of hand? That they meant well? Or, are you telling them this was wrong? Are you smirking when you see video of news reporters and photographers, whose occupations have been demonized, being assaulted while simply doing their jobs?
Are you a sympathizer, or are you simply afraid to stand up to bullies, including those with pulpits?
Lord knows my home state of Arkansas has many embarrassing historical black marks. Added to the list now is the man who sat in the House Speaker’s chair and claimed to be a patriot while openly disrespecting the American flag he had tossed onto the furniture. He was a criminal who knows nothing of our flag’s honor. He is not a patriot.
If you remain silent when presented with good reason to object to this wrongdoing, then your silence becomes the noose around all our necks.
Larry McDermott is a retired journalist and farmer in Rutherfordton. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.