We all experienced, whether you live in the United States or elsewhere, a shock that will stay with us for some time. The shock is the storming of the Capitol by a mob. It is a shock because it has not happened before, at least by American citizens, so I don’t think the British storming the Capitol in 1814 counts. It was a shock because so many do not feel the sacredness concerning out democratic institutions.
If this was a coup, it certainly does not compare with any coup I have ever read about. A mob storming the Capitol, breaking furniture, stealing laptops, putting up their feet on Pelosi’s desk is not a coup. A coup to me is when a group is more organized, knows what they want to accomplish, and has a well-defined plan. Well, some had a plan but not a well-coordinated plan.
So we are left with insurrection and sedition. “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States,” said Sen. Mitt Romney. Biden says, “…it borders on sedition.” I think the use of the word insurrection puts more blame on the riotous mob where an enormous amount of blame lays, whereas sedition points more towards Donald Trump and his enablers. I know many Trump supporters, and I know they believe passionately in some of the positions Trump takes. They fear the far left will influence Biden. They feared until recently having too many liberals on the Supreme court. They fear the loss of their protection-a gun—all legitimate fears.
I was passionate about politics when young. I understand the dynamics of being in a crowd and being worked up into a frenzy by an adept leader. In short, I understand this crowd being worked up to do the unthinkable. Should everyone who entered those sacred precincts of the Capitol be prosecuted to the full extent of the law—for sure. Yes, it was technically an insurrection, but more of sedition if you put most of the blame on Trump, Hawley, and Cruz.
Trump wants to stay in power at all costs. Leaving leaves him open to prosecution for all sorts of crimes he has committed. The authoritarians worldwide- Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un-are admired by him, having positions he cannot by the rule of law obtain. He is no stable genius as they are. If Trump were a stable genius, as he says he is, he would probably be starting his second term on January 20th. Base impulses control Trump; he is not in control of himself. But his enablers are in control of themselves.
Hawley is one of Trump’s enablers. He stood on the Senate floor to contest the election with Cruz in tow. Hawley is a devout Christian. I am sure he has come across this verse in his Bible reading:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18 KJV).
I am just concerned with the words: “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” I would translate it as knowing the truth and not doing it. When electors, and those in charge of the electoral process, many of them Republicans supporting Trump, after recounting votes multiple times, say the election was fair, it was far. When the courts throw out every case brought before it about the election and can find nothing wrong, then there is nothing wrong. So when Hawley gets up to contest electoral votes knowing the process was fair, he “holds the truth in unrighteousness. In other words, he lied. Why he would lie perhaps can be found in what he has written.
We stand at one of the great turning points in our national history, when the failure of our public philosophy and the crisis of our public life can no longer be ignored. And what we do about these needs will define the era to come.
For decades now our politics and culture have been dominated by a particular philosophy of freedom. It is a philosophy of liberation from family and tradition, of escape from God and community, a philosophy of self-creation and unrestricted, unfettered free choice.
Now maybe that is true, but when the Christendom accepts a person such as Trump as their representative, when pastors incite their congregation to go to the Capitol in support of Trump, they are making a deal with the devil.
Hawley believes our society is unjust and wants better one. Our better society cannot be based on a lie.
- Joshua Hawley, “The Age of Pelagius,” ChristianityToday.com, accessed January 12, 2021, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/june-web-only/age-of-pelagius-joshua-hawley.html?share=jV1uguSvxQBkUWVBNEmEka3GOkuy9q5H. ↩