January 6th - The anniversary of one of America's greatest statements of principle
Yes, Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, and Republicans have enabled it all. But FDR has something to say, too.
January 6th is a dark day in American history now. The attack in 2021 on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump in order to overturn the presidential election - and the continued condoning and justifying by Republicans of the attack - will undermine and perhaps break our nation.
So, let's take a moment to reflect for a moment on a more positive political anniversary today - FDR's Four Freedoms Speech.
It was 11 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was trying to get US isolationists to support the democracies falling to fascism in Europe.
In doing so, he articulated what America would stand and fight for:
Freedom of speech and expression.
Freedom of religion.
Freedom from want.
Freedom from fear.
These four freedoms - for everybody - everywhere in the world.
Later these principles would form the foundation for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the United Nations.
Of course, it would take the attack on Pearl Harbor to get America into that war in earnest. Vengeance can be a powerful motivator. But again, these principles became central to the world order for decades - right up until today.
That's what America can do, what it can be. And that's what American presidential leadership can accomplish.
The lies and/or delusions - take your pick - of the lesser and one-term Pres. Trump led, instead, to the first attack on our Capitol since 1814. All of it done to overturn a legally vetted and (now repeatedly) certified election.
Trump and his Republican enablers accomplished more last January 6th than European fascists, Asian authoritarian regimes, Confederate rebels, and religious extremists did in the entire rest of our history.
And most dangerously, Trump and his Republican enablers risk our entire democratic republican project through the denial of election results, no matter what evidence is brought forward and refuted.
Truth is what they declare it is. And the truth to them is that only Republicans can legitimately win elections.
Once you add the willingness to use violence to back up those convictions - to tear apart our electoral fabric - well, let's just say we need to find a way to walk back from the precipice.
The beginning stages of World War II were dark days, as well. But we could still articulate principles and hopes. And eventually win freedom. Here’s to hoping that there's hope yet.