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Our View: Jan. 6

Do not forget this other date that will live in infamy

Some anniversaries are celebrated. Others are commemorated. Jan. 6 falls in the latter category. Like Dec. 7 or Sept. 11, it can be seen as nothing other than an attack on our nation and all it stands for.

Our response should be commensurate. As with Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers, those responsible for the attack on the Capitol should be made to pay. All of them.

That would include Donald Trump. While he lost the 2020 presidential election – clearly and certainly – he was nonetheless still president a year ago. And with that he was duty-bound to act in defense of the Capitol. He did not.

As Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has said, the congressional committee looking into the Capitol attack has heard testimony that Trump watched the insurrection unfold in real time on television – and did nothing. He did nothing as hooligans trashed the Capitol building and endangered lawmakers of both parties. He did nothing as congressional Republicans, friendly talk show hosts and even his own family members urged him to call off the mob. He did nothing as rioters debased the institution most central to our democracy.

While usually requiring overt betrayal, there is a point where inaction can amount to treason. Trump crossed that line.

That Cheney sees that is telling. As the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the Wyoming legislator’s last name is forever tied in the minds of many to the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq.

That is both inescapable and unfair. She has proved herself both courageous and honest. And it is ridiculous that she is being disparaged or dismissed as not being truly conservative or properly Republican. She exemplifies the best of both.

It is sad and frightening that being conservative or Republican is now being defined as subservient to Trump. That is made worse by the fact that Trump clearly embodies ideas and actions that Edmund Burke or William F. Buckley would have found anathema.

The Jan. 6 insurrection can be too easily dismissed because so much of it involved people who were clearly extreme. Sporting a bare chest, painted face and horned helmet to a violent insurrection is unusual on any day.

But that weirdness should not distract us from the fundamental truth that what happened was both wrong and serious. A sitting president endorsed – at least implicitly perhaps overtly – a violent assault on one of the central institutions of this country. And he did so with the clear intention of subverting the will of the American people. That is a clear and direct affront to the founding principles of this country.

Also troubling is the fact that a number of Republican leaders denounced the insurrection in its immediate aftermath, only to reverse themselves in the months that followed.

There is much still to learn about last Jan. 6. And it is imperative that as a nation we get to the bottom of this. That will not happen if we forget or ignore what we all so clearly saw.