President Biden’s words yesterday that he’ll not let anyone “hold a dagger to the throat of democracy” was laudable. None of us should tolerate that for an instant. But his words ignore the fact that there is more than one dagger being brandished these days. These daggers are the effects – not causes – of threats to Democracy today.
First, hear me. I’m in no way, shape, or form absolving the Jan. 6th insurgents from their reprehensible actions. Period. They must be brought swiftly to justice.
That said, the President’s party and mine have been throwing daggers for years. To ignore that is to be complicit in the whole ball of wax (to mix metaphors). In order to get our needs and wants met, ignoring the danger of escalation we’ve willingly signed on to a deadly pendulum ride. That’s the elephant in the room. More metaphors, but you get my drift. Who knows where it swings next. I tremble to think.
Republicans and Democrats need to do some soul searching. We’re reaping what we’ve sown with tone deaf hardball politics: division, blame, and violence. And now here we are.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that a riot is the “language of the unheard”. Desperate people do desperate things. What did we imagine would happen when we’re unwilling to look for win win outcomes?
Though nobody forces a rioter to break the law, the fact is that their actions result from feeling threatened and not being listened to. The progression holds true for siblings and disgruntled activists alike: first words, then noise, then fists. Some are willing to kill to get their way. They exhaust efforts toward persuasion and finally get off the couch when the stakes are high enough. And our bloodied flag is the result.
Here’s my point. We’re confusing the expressions of their discontent with what caused the pain, Mr. President (and party leaders).
You can’t say you’ll work together for solutions disingenuously, be racist or homophobic, take away folks’ religious and Constitutional freedoms, ignore the cries of the hungry and homeless, or hurl insults about peoples’ guns and God forever. You can’t change the laws and mores of society or Congress solely for your political benefit and not expect the other side to do the same. If you do, before long someone’s going to by-God-or-not get off the couch and do something about it.
Ask yourself. Where are we in the progression and do we want to keep going down that road? Can we instead acknowledge that everyone’s worth listening to. That none of this goes away if we don’t drop our daggers and stop cloaking ourselves in a bloody flag. If we don’t start trying to understand what’s behind others’ words and actions.
Ignoring our part in this thing is just plain stupid and illustrates our ominous lack of foresight. Do we truly not care about our nation? I think we do.
So let’s all of us – Republicans and Democrats – recognize the daggers in our own hands and throw them down. Let’s listen and work on solutions before it’s too late for Democracy and we lose everything once and for all.