On Dec. 7, 1941, America was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. That date “will live in infamy” President Roosevelt told the nation. His speech united us and gave us the resolve to defend our democracy.
On Jan. 6, 2021, our Capitol was attacked by a mob of President Trump’s supporters. That date “will live in infamy.” The President incited that mob by his lie that the election was stolen from him. He urged them to go to the Capitol to “stop the steal” and “fight like hell.” So they did, chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” The graphic pictures from the Capitol showed the plunder, the destruction, and the assaults by the violent mob, many armed with weapons. The mob searched for representatives and senators who hid in safe rooms or barricaded offices. Five of his supporters needlessly died. One was a police officer who gave his life to protect our democracy; so much for the President’s promise to provide law and order.
This President did not condemn the attack incited by his inflammatory words. He offered no words of solace, sorrow or regret for the dead, the injured or the destruction and desecration of the Capitol. The President, who told us the government is broken and only he can fix it, left it in turmoil and the nation in anguish over his supporters’ attempt to overthrow our democracy.
How did it happen? It happened because truth, words and character do not matter.
We choose to live in tribes, prisoners of our own ideology. We do not listen attentively or respectfully to others’ opinions. We do not talk civilly to one another. We do not investigate facts. The facts we do not like we call “fake news.” We take truth from opinion makers who reinforce our beliefs and our biases. We do not discern.
We elected a flawed man who does not tell the truth or cares about the harm his words cause. Jan. 6 may have been a shock, but it was not a surprise.
This insurrection proves that words, character and truth do matter. But above all is truth. A good leader tells the truth despite the political consequences. There is hope. There are senators and congressmembers on both sides of the aisle who have come to this conclusion. May God bless us with more good leaders.
—Thomas M. Lamberti