The violent demonstrations and assault on the U. S. Congress will go down as a sad day in U. S. history. Our elected representatives cowered in fear while fanatics dressed in costumes gleefully took selfies behind the desks of our Congressional leaders. This should never happen again in our nation.
At the first level, this was a failure of the Capitol Police, who turned down offers from the Department of Defense and the FBI to assist in securing the Capitol Building. It is the job and duty of the Capitol Police to protect our representatives. They failed. The top leadership has resigned. And lessons will be learned. It was not hard to see this coming.
If proper security had been provided, the assault on our Capitol Building could have been averted. Or it could have been a bloodbath, causing even more shame on our nation. Even the darkest of clouds have silver linings.
It stands to reason that this egregious security lapse will never happen again. But we should learn more from this tragic event. Throughout the summer, demonstrations turned violent and property was destroyed with weak responses from law enforcement authorities. This laissez-faire attitude toward non-peaceful protest laid the groundwork for the attack on our nation’s capital. It sent a message that violence was acceptable if you believed strongly in your cause. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental right in the United States — perhaps one of the most precious rights of our Constitution. But there is no right to protest violently. None. In fact, violent protest undermines the right of peaceful protest, encouraging hooligans to wreak mayhem in the name of justice. Nothing could be further from the principles of our democratic republic. Violent protests are a cancer which, if unchecked, will eventually destroy the fabric of our nation.
It is a sad fact that we are already behind the eight ball. By letting violent protests occur throughout this spring and summer, it will be difficult to extricate the nation from this dangerous predicament. In an attempt to avoid confrontations with protestors, we have now created the prospect of a much greater confrontation. Lives could be lost.
The horrendous images of the attack on our nation’s Capitol Building leave us no choice but to reassert our intolerance for unlawful demonstrations. The local, state and national leaders of our nation must put aside political differences and defend our Constitution and nation. They should unite and commit publicly that any and all unlawful, violent demonstrations will be immediately halted by whatever force is necessary and the violators prosecuted by the full extent of the law. This is not about left wing or right wing or this or that grievance. The nation groans with grievances. This is about the rule of law and how a civilized democratic republic deals with the challenge of managing a diverse citizenry with competing claims and objectives. We must draw a sharp, irrevocable line between peaceful protest and violent chaos.
During the week of this inimical event, another nation on the other side of the world used the global distraction to display their true colors, arresting dozens of peaceful citizens who are protesting China’s illegal, totalitarian takeover of Hong Kong. China’s intolerance of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protests should send chills down the spine of all Americans.
We must never surrender our right to peaceful protest in our country. But to ensure this vital liberty, we must redouble our efforts to make clear that violent demonstrations will not be tolerated in a free country.