Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” America has been waiting two long years for justice to be served for the death of Officer Brian Sicknick and injuries to 140 other Capitol Police officers who bravely defended the legislative branch of the U.S. government against a violent white supremacist mob that assembled, organized, and executed one of the greatest crimes in American history. The insurrection of January 6th, 2021, happened for one simple reason: the criminals were invited and encouraged by the most powerful man in the world. Since that man was also the Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world it was reasonable for them to believe that their coup attempt would succeed.
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It has been a maddening two years, too long to wait patiently for the only outcome acceptable for the survival of the Republic. Hopefully, Merrick Garland will follow through on his promise that no one is above the law and that indictments and convictions will follow for the 45th President of the United States. For the sake of my children and grandchildren it cannot happen soon enough or I fear that they will lose confidence in our institutions of government and the rule of law itself.
I welcome the disclosure of more and more evidence by the January 6th Committee and the Department of Justice. Their work, their documents, are an important part of American history; but in this case, waiting for the wheels of justice is all the more frustrating because no additional evidence of guilt is needed beyond what we witnessed with our own eyes. The President went to the Ellipse and gave a speech on national television that was more than an hour of solid lies about election fraud that did not exist. He told his followers that the election was stolen from him and under those circumstances normal rules of law did not apply. He lit the fuse, and watched their violence all day long. He did nothing to stop it despite pleas from family, friends, and members of Congress. To seal his absolute guilt, at the end of the day, when he begrudgingly allowed himself to be talked into calling off the mob, he went on national TV and told those who assaulted law enforcement, illegally breaking and entering a building, that he loved them.
On the anniversary of January 6th there is much angst about whether justice will be served but the former president’s crimes were verified by the sworn testimony of two individuals alone. Pat Cipollone and William Barr, the White House Counsel and the Attorney General of the United States both testified that they told Donald Trump that there was no evidence to support his claim of election fraud. He not only refused their legal advice, he ordered the DOJ to broadcast his lie. They refused. AG Barr resigned from office rather than be part of an attempted coup, and DOJ lawyers threatened to resign en masse if he replaced the acting attorney general with someone who would encourage the coup. This is an open and shut case because, like January 6th itself, the Barr/Cipollone testimony is recorded for history on film. But our future remains uncomfortably in doubt because both impeachment trials of the former president were also open and shut cases, and, in both instances he was acquitted. Republican leaders chose party over country. They betrayed their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic – the same oath that every military member is willing to defend with their life and our Capitol police defended with theirs.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. fought his entire life for a justice delayed. The election of Barack Obama was a powerful symbol that the delay might finally be over. Donald Trump and his white supremacist followers were the backlash to the unity and diversity we thought we achieved, the “wokeness” that infuriates and motivates those who prefer the nightmare of racism and inequality. On this anniversary of January 6th let us hope that “I have a dream” prevails over the attempted resurrection of an ideology we thought we had thrown on the trash heap of history.