By Tommy Hough
Today was one of the most disgraceful days in the history of our republic.
Can anyone look upon what our nation has become over the last four years and see any connection to the 240 years of American democratic norms, in times of peace and war, that preceded it?
Many of us saw this coming, and tried to warn our neighbors against giving a man like the president, enabled by a disgraceful array of bootlickers and apologists, the reins of power.
With the constant assault of willful, right-wing misinformation that permeates our media environment and has fractured families along political and social faultlines, is it any wonder so many of our neighbors have grown increasingly confused, bewildered, and fearful as they struggle to stay financially afloat and healthy, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Today's terrorism did not occur in a vacuum. It has been enabled over the last 40 years by well-funded campaigns of intentional deception to politically divide and conquer, long-standing attempts to paint government as an enemy rather than a representative reflection of ourselves, and to deny that we have the power to improve our nation in the name of a more perfect union.
The Greatest Generation went overseas to fight fascism and threats to democracy like those we've seen today. Our nation has twisted itself into a pretzel to inoculate it from threats of foreign terrorism in the years since the 9/11 attacks.
But in 245 years our nation has never been subjected to a coup attempt of anything resembling the magnitude of what is occurring now. It is a disgrace. To find anything comparable we would have to go back to the conspiracy to murder President Lincoln and members of his cabinet in the spring of 1865.
That today's violence and sedition were incited, in broad daylight, by the sitting President of the United States, who was actively adding fuel and oxygen to this fire long before his impeachment and electoral loss, is extraordinary.
Those involved with today's sedition may be fighting for Donald Trump. But we are fighting for our nation, for decency, for equality, for equity, and for the institutions and norms that, while under exceptional stress, continue to serve our nation. They need care.
Our Founding Fathers were many things, but they were wise, and they bequeathed to us the ability to continue improving our nation with an apparatus that is only as effective as those we seek to represent us as its caretakers.
These will be trying years ahead. Democracy requires eternal vigilance, and it demands it no more so than at this moment. I hope you'll join me in this pursuit.
May you and your loved ones be safe and well.
A former San Diego broadcaster and media personality, Tommy Hough is a wilderness and conservation advocate, communications professional, California Democratic Party delegate, and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action. He ran as the endorsed Democratic candidate for San Diego City Council in District 6 in 2018.