I’m still having a hard time finding words to express my outrage over the horrifying events of January 6 in our nation’s capital. Until I can, Michael Gerson’s column, The U.S. must punish sedition — or risk more of it, in The Washington Post, will suffice. He captures much of what is going through my mind at this moment.
First and foremost, the murder of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick defines the outrage I feel. Gerson writes of it:
One moment captured on video stands out to me for its brutality and symbolism. An insurrectionist pulls a police officer down the steps of the Capitol, where he is stomped and beaten with the pole of a U.S. flag. The crowd chants “USA, USA.”
Gerson notes that Republican appeasement to Trump and his sycophants has lead to what we witnessed on January 6. The path forward is clear.
Stopping this rot in the political order will require accountability. That begins with the president, who deserves every legal and constitutional consequence our system offers. He should be impeached for sedition. He should be prevented from holding any further elective office. He should be stripped of all the perks of the post-presidency. He should be prosecuted for insurrection against the U.S. government.
Those appeasement should come at a price.
But the responsibility does not end with a single man. Many elected Republicans enabled the president’s political rise. Trump could only attempt the occupation of the Capitol because he had already occupied the Republican Party — in that case, with little resistance. Elected Republicans who cheered that takeover deserve to lose, and lose, and lose, until their party is either destroyed or transformed.
As Gerson notes in his title, this sedition cannot go unpunished or it will continue.