Opinion

Trump Is Merely the Symptom

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Posted: Jan 08, 2021 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Trump Is Merely the Symptom

Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

There’s a great rage and anger out there all across America. It exploded on January 6th in our country’s capital when a very small number of the massive, and a completely peaceful protest crowd, broke into the U.S. Capitol Building and rampaged through it. Sadly, a young woman was shot and killed by authorities protecting the building.

Since the events of January 6th government officials, politicians, and the news media have used the term “insurrection” to describe what happened, lumping in the tens of thousands of ardent and peaceful protesters with the small group who violated the Capitol Building. Curiously, that’s a term that has been missing for most of 2020 when American cities were under attack and being burned to the ground by real insurgents. 

Regardless of whether those who incited and participated in the rampage were genuine supporters of President Trump, the bottom line is that those who broke into the Capitol Building were no longer outraged and angry American citizens voicing their displeasure at elected officials, they became nothing more than just criminals. Just like the ANTIFA and BLM thugs terrorizing American cities all across the land last summer, and still ongoing in Portland, Oregon today.

What happened in Washington is only a symptom of what has been building up in America for decades now. Trump was able to tap into those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Though not very eloquently, he gave voice to the voiceless. 

For decades now Americans have been bombarded by 24-hour cable news on television. Americans once got their news at six o’clock every evening reported to them by Walter Cronkite, or from Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Occasionally there would be a guest invited to offer an editorial opinion.

What we have now is hours and hours of talking heads offering their opinions, and very little actual news reporting anymore. The 24-hour cable news programs have become extensions of whatever political party they happen to align with.  And make no mistake there is a definite political bias exhibited by many of the television news personalities.

Does President Trump share the blame for what happened yesterday? I believe so.  Through his rhetoric he has created the opportunity for the kind of behavior witnessed Wednesday to happen, especially in this highly contentious and volatile political atmosphere.

Think back to the days of his primary appearances in 2016 when he encouraged his followers to “take him out and beat the hell out of him” when someone would try to disrupt his campaign rallies. While many laughed it off, this is the kind of rhetoric that incites others.

No, President Trump did not specifically encourage anyone to storm the Capitol Building. And most of his supporters in attendance understood that. They were there to peaceably express their support for him and their displeasure with the outcome of the November election.

But the underlying grievances have much more to do with that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Trump got 74 million votes not because everyone liked his personality. He got that many votes because he gave voice to a large percentage of Americans who feel forgotten by the career politicians in Washington, D.C., as well as the seats of government in all 50 states.

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Americans want their elected officials to work together to do things for the good of the people. All of the people, not just special interest groups who pump money into their campaign coffers.

January 6th needs to be a learning experience for all of us. Democrats, Republicans, the news media, politicians, and citizens. The hatred and invective heaped upon Republicans and Trump supporters by Democrats and the news media needs to stop.   Just as it needs to end coming from the other side of the aisle. And opinion columnists certainly need to be included and mindful of what, if any influence, they have. Words matter, what we write and how we talk to each other matters.

President Trump will leave office with an enormous number of accomplishments in just four years. Unfortunately, his presidency will be tarnished by what happened January 6th, whether or not he personally shared responsibility.

President Trump is just a symptom of what is ailing our country. All politicians from both major parties would do well to learn from this, and return a voice to the forgotten people of America.