What a disgrace.
Jan. 6, 2021, will be remembered among the most shameful days in American history. Congress gathered to certify the results of the 2020 election, in which President Donald Trump was soundly defeated by President-elect Joe Biden. A handful of Republicans in the House and Senate planned to do what they could to set aside the vote and the rulings of the courts, though enough with some shred of integrity remained that it was clear from the outset the effort was doomed.
No sooner had the debate started than it ended, with Congress fleeing into the basement. Right-wing terrorists, those “very special” people who Trump earlier encouraged to “stand back and stand by,” stormed the Capitol and took over the House and Senate floors. Many carried weapons. An explosive device was found.
If this reminds you of scenes in countries beset by coups, that’s because we are living through an attempted coup. Trump has led it. Many congressional Republicans have abetted it. And violent groups of thugs have tried to push it by force.
If it reminds you of scenes in Idaho, that’s no mistake either. Ammon Bundy and his thugs tried something quite similar during the special session, and they’ll be back.
The day was at least clarifying. We learned who is ready to set aside the rule of law, the Constitution and democracy in order to have power.
Count among them leaders in the local Republican Party. That very morning, a column by the leader of the Bonneville County GOP exalted the “great and terrible day” when Vice President Mike Pence would set aside the election results. (Pence, to his credit, stated clearly that he had no power or intention to do so.)
Count among them Rep. Russ Fulcher. The thugs who besieged the Capitol broke windows and doors, but Fulcher had already announced plans to attack its very foundations. He filed an objection to the certification of the election results. He profaned the sacrifice of every patriot who shed their blood for this country. In short, he betrayed the American people.
As Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, if Fulcher had his way, “Democracy would enter a death spiral.”
Fulcher should carry that shame forever.
Rep. Mike Simpson, Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch at least had the decency not to object to the election results. But that is simply the minimum that ought to be expected.
If you three want to help set things right, you need to start talking to your constituents, many of whom have been wholly taken in by lies and conspiracy theories. The insurrection was motivated in large part by the lie that the election was fraudulent, a lie many of you have either allowed to stand unchallenged or actively promoted, for example, by signing on in support of the laughable lawsuit pursued by the state of Texas.
Already, it’s common to see assertions from those in your party that the Capitol wasn’t invaded by Trump supporters at all, but by Antifa. One of those commonly asserted to be a member of Antifa by some in right-wing media is, in fact, a man from Boise, one of your constituents.
You three were there. You know the truth. If you want to serve your country — rather than simply not betray it — you have to speak that truth loudly and plainly. You have to confront the lies, spread by the president you served, that are tearing America apart.
The disgrace at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was simply the whirlwind reaped from the wind our congressional delegation helped sow. If any of them still have a conscience, that thought must have crossed their minds as they fled their floor seats, on the verge of being devoured by the same forces they helped unleash.
For the rest of us, there remains a country warped and scarred beyond recognition. The coup has failed. But the damage done to the country will last for generations.
The Post Register’s editorial board consists of Publisher Travis Quast, Managing Editor Monte LaOrange and editorial writer Bryan Clark. Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.