Last Wednesday, while Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was being mortally wounded defending the U.S. Capitol from a coup, the president of the United States was “borderline enthusiastic” about the armed attempt to overturn his election defeat. That’s what White House sources told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, according to the Huffington Post.
Also last week (and, again, relayed by HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told a conservative talk show audience that another inside source reported, “Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as … He was delighted.”
One must suppose his delight arose from the fact that he had just returned from ordering that “assault on democracy” – as most world leaders and media outlets described the insurrection. (He said he was going to lead his followers in the attack, but apparently his bone spurs flared.)
When news of Officer Sicknick’s death was reported Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the Capitol he died defending to be lowered to half staff. She said, “The sacrifice of Officer Sicknickreminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic.”
Finally, Sunday afternoon, three days after Officer Sicknick’s death, flags were lowered at the White House. Evidently Blue Lives and law and order don’t matter so much if they’re standing between Trump and an illicit power grab.
For much of Trump’s term in office, I’ve reported how the term “stochastic terrorism” translates smoothly into “stoking” violent actions from others while trying to avoid personal responsibility. Trump has been a master practitioner of this vile tactic, from encouraging rightwing terrorists to disrupt Black Lives Matter protests to calling on hooligans to “liberate Michigan” – and whose subsequent plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was thwarted by the FBI. (Two Capitol attackers were arrested carrying zip ties.)
A second level of complicity includes Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri and others who perpetuated Trump’s lies about election fraud. That includes Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, U.S. Reps. Kevin Hern, Stephanie Bice and Markwayne Mullin, Sen. James Lankford (until scared straight by the Capitol invasion), and local State Reps. Brad Boles and Toni Hasenback – as cited in The Oklahoma Observer’s current issue.
Not so funny how good GOPers claim election fraud except concerning the ballots that elected them – even if in the same election.
But, they did not order an attack on Congress. President Trump did. As Sen. Sasse said in his interview, the “greatest symbol around the world of freedom and liberty…(was) ransacked by a mob that was incited by the president of the United States.”
If, during the commission of a crime, a murder occurs, everyone involved can be charged with murder – from the shooter to any accomplice on hand to the person driving the get-away car. By that standard, everyone who attacked the Capitol should be charged with the murder of Officer Sicknick.
Furthermore, it is well-established that mob bosses can be indicted for the actions they order. That’s the president, who later told his mob, “We love you, you’re very special people.”
You want special? Try Brian Sicknick. As a member of the New Jersey National Guard, he served in Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan before returning home to pursue his life’s goal to protect and serve in law enforcement. He was killed doing just that.
Let’s remember, too, that more than 50 other officers were injured defending this country last Wednesday – while other officers seemed to be abetting the attackers: removing barricades and taking selfies with them.
Perhaps those derelict officers learned the lesson I cribbed from Robert Pirsig’s Lila last fall: Just as looters are opportunistic parasites on social protest movements, so, too, rightwing vigilantes are not allies of our police – or any law and order except anti-social brute force.
Congress met on New Year’s Day to override the president’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. One of Trump’s objections to the bill was its inclusion of provisions to rename U.S. forts that currently bear the names of southern generals who fought to destroy our country.
So, it should surprise no one that, while Trump reveled over the coup-inspired chaos in congressional chambers, some of his supporters waved the stars-and-bars of treason in those hallowed halls.
There are ten such forts. I suggest one should be renamed for Officer Sicknick – as a representative of all of the loyal soldiers who answer the call, serve honorably and come home and continue to do their best for their country.
Fort Sicknick – honoring an “American hero who gave his life defending our Capitol,” as Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged – would certainly recognize a more patriotic man than Fort Lee.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)