The storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg by the Bolsheviks. Street riots by the Nazi’s in 1920s Germany. The storming of the U.S. Capitol building by Trumpists.
I sat in amazement staring at the TV on Jan. 6 feeling anger, rage, disbelief, sadness, and shame. “Is this America?,” I thought. It had to be. I recognized the building that I had been in countless times in my two-decades working for two congressmen. I recognized the hallways, staircases, and the great chambers of American democracy. Every time I walked through the Capitol, I literally felt an electric tingle of our history. In its deep tunnels, as I walked, I’d run my fingertips along the building’s hand-hewn foundation stones placed by slaves. When I walked through the Capitol Rotunda, I’d pass the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. The building is a temple to the sweep of America’s wonderful self-correcting uniqueness.
During all the upheavals of our nation, including a civil war, never had the world’s temple to democracy been breached by its own people. As a life-long Republican, who voted for Donald Trump twice, I am now embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I could say I should have known what this man was like, but the truth is I knew. I also know many people like myself, those who knew and made excuses. I suppose I and those like me were not unlike those a century ago who made excuses for Lenin and Hitler.
I am not equating President Trump to those monsters, he is his own monster; a gremlin compared to Godzillas, but in our nation’s story a monster, nonetheless, for violating American laws, traditions, and inciting a mob to violence. He has revealed himself as a psychotic narcissist. He is now the anti-President.
My older brother is also a Trump supporter. On the Trumpian scale I am a four or five, he is a 10. We spoke on the night of Jan. 6. He admitted he too had given up supporting the president. “What do I say to those who told me I was wrong about Trump after defending him for so long?” he asked. I told him, say you’re ashamed and sorry. Tell them they were right, and you were wrong as I now say “I’m sorry, I am ashamed of myself. You were right, and I was wrong.”