The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect who left pipe bombs at the headquarters of both the DNC and the RNC in Washington, DC while thousands of unruly protesters barged into the halls of Congress, intimidating the small security force there and sending lawmakers into hiding.
A fierce war of words ensued between left- and right-wing sworn enemies over who was responsible for the most recent violent insurgency in the nation’s capital since the war of 1812, with each side shocking the other and each side incapable of hearing the other.
Only this one man was apparently able to overcome his personal political biases and make a statement that was both forceful (potentially even very lethal) and evenhanded.
The FBI described the two devices as “suspected pipe bombs,” the home made kind.
I recognize the problem in this humorist depiction of a terrorist act, and I know it probably skirts the boundaries of good taste, for which I apologize. However, the fact is that over the past 20 years, Americans have become so sharply split over their political affiliations, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to put a curse on both our houses.
In this context, I wish to cite one of the better speeches I’ve heard since the November election, which was carried by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the counting of the Electoral College vote and was directed at his fellow Republicans who were attempting to delay the inevitable. Mind you, he said this just before a violent mob did a lot worse to delay the same inevitable outcome of the 2020 election:
The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever. This election was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer. This Electoral College margin is almost identical to 2016. If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would bring a scramble for power at any cost. The Electoral College would soon cease to exist, leaving the citizens of entire states with no real say in choosing presidents. The effects would go even beyond elections themselves. Self-government requires a shared commitment to truth and shared respect for the ground rules of our system. We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes; with separate facts, and separate realities; with nothing in common except hostility toward each another and mistrust for the few national institutions that we still share.
Every time in the last 30 years that Democrats have lost a presidential race, they’ve tried a challenge like this one — after 2000, 2004, and 2016. After 2004, a Senator joined and forced this same debate. Democrats like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Hillary Clinton praised and applauded the stunt. Republicans condemned those baseless efforts. And we just spent four years condemning Democrats’ shameful attacks on the validity of President Trump’s own election. There can be no double standard. The media that is outraged today spent four years aiding and abetting Democrats’ attacks on institutions after they lost. But we must not imitate and escalate what we repudiate. Our duty is to govern for the public good. The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance.
Congress will either overrule the voters, the states, and the courts for the first time ever… or honor the people’s decision. We will either guarantee Democrats’ delegitimizing efforts after 2016 become a permanent new routine for both sides… or declare that our nation deserves better. We will either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of elections accept them… or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, both in victory and in defeat. The framers built the Senate to stop short-term passions from boiling over and melting the foundations of our Republic. I believe protecting our constitutional order requires respecting limits on our own power. It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing. I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.
And then there was this: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted an attack on Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who continued to pursue the challenges to the Electoral College votes after the mobs had been pushed out of the halls of Congress.
As could be expected, AOC did not possess McConnell’s gift for political realism. She criticized Cruz for using the attack on the capitol for his fundraising efforts, all the time using her attack on his fundraising for her own political hay.
Sen. Cruz, you must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday. And how you fundraised off this riot.
Both you and Senator Hawley must resign. If you do not, the Senate should move for your expulsion. https://t.co/O2m6T59LYP
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2021
Finally, this was the conclusion of President-elect Joe Biden’s remarks on the day following Capitol attack:
When Justice Garland and I were talking we talked about, I think he raised it, the reason for the Justice Department was formed in the first place. Was back in 1870. We didn’t have a Justice Department before that, the Cabinet. It was formed in 1870 to enforce the civil rights amendment that grew out of the Civil War — the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. To stand up to the Klan, to stand up to racism. To take on domestic terrorism.
This original spirit must again guide and animate its work. So as we stand here today we do so in the wake of yesterday’s events. Events that could not more have vividly demonstrated some of the most important work we have to do in this nation. Committing ourselves to the rule of law in this nation, invigorating our domestic and democratic institutions. Carrying out equal justice under the law in America.
Anyone who followed McConnell’s and Biden’s speeches knows that they said much more than what I have cited here, and that a great deal of it was not bipartisan at all.
Biden attacked Trump’s record in the most direct fashion. McConnell ignored his own part in allowing confusion about the validity of the votes to turn into an ideology.
And we all understand that AOC and the left’s unrestrained attacks on law and order across the United States this past year have terrified millions of Americans who no longer feel secure at home and on the streets.
In my humble view, if we don’t reestablish the foundations of decency, respect, and honor of our national institutions, we’ll be looking at many more pipe bombs. The madness has to stop.