On September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were attacked and destroyed, the Pentagon was attacked and a hijacked plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could have reached the Pentagon. In all 3 attacks, 2977 people were killed and numerous more injured. The 19 perpetrators of the September 11 attack were radical Islamist members of al-Qaeda. 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia and the others were from Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE. They wanted to destroy American democracy, the “American” dream, and our system of values. We all considered them to be terrorists and we all united against terrorism. President George W. Bush, in retaliation, attacked and invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and 2003, respectively. It was the beginning of America’s war on terrorism. Every non-white, non-Christian was suspect, and many were harassed and discriminated against.
On January 6, 2021, an armed mob of Trump supporters called to Washington, DC by defeated President Donald Trump to protest his election defeat and overturn the election of President-elect Joe Biden and attacked the United States Capitol. Their purpose was to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, at all costs, even the murder of the Vice-President and Democratic members of Congress. When it was all over and law enforcement regained control of The Capitol, 9 people had lost their lives and the Capitol building was desecrated.
The January 6th insurrectionists came from many of the 50 states of our country. They all had several things in common. They were all supporters of Donald Trump. They all believed his “big lie” that the election was stolen from him. They all believed that the “American Dream” belonged only to them and that the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution were possessed by only white, Christian people born in this country. They believed that the American system of values was defined by Trump and his cult and not by Democrats, immigrants, people of color, or anyone who doesn’t look, act, worship, or talk like them.
Unlike after the 9/11 attacks when America was united in defiance of terrorists, America became deeply divided, with Trump and his Republican toadies leading the way. Those who attacked the Capitol and attempted to murder members of Congress to bring down our Democracy, instead of being labeled as the terrorists they are, are considered “patriots” by the Republican Party.
The perpetrators of 9/11 have been hunted down and held accountable for their actions. Bin-Laden and most recently al-Zawahiri have paid the price for their actions. As of today, the people who organized and orchestrated the insurrection, Trump, his closest advisors, and members of Congress remain free and unaccountable for their treasonous actions. The boots on the ground, the little guys, who actually stormed the Capitol are slowly being brought to justice, albeit in most cases, with just a slap on the wrist.
Why is it that foreigners can attack our democracy and try to destroy our freedoms be labeled terrorists and suffer the consequences, while a bunch of American citizens, led by a narcissistic, autocratic, sociopath is labeled patriots and are not held accountable for their actions? What does it take to be considered a domestic terrorist? If you are a white Christian and perform terrorist acts, you are considered mentally ill. If you are a Muslim, and an American citizen, you are considered a terrorist, not a domestic terrorist. If you try to destroy our country from outside our borders you should be considered a terrorist, a foreign terrorist and if you try to destroy our country from within, you are still a terrorist, a domestic terrorist.
After 9/11 the American people were outraged and still are. They vowed to never let this happen again. On January 6th Americans were outraged and placed sole blame on Trump, but a week later Republicans in Congress, many of whom owe their lives to the Capitol Police, called the insurrection just a bunch of “tourists”. Instead of investigating the insurrection Republicans lined up on their knees to kiss Donald Trump’s ass, either out of fear of Trump or complicity in the insurrection. Instead of exposing “the big lie”, they encourage its spread. Instead of assuring that this would never happen again, they have laid the groundwork in swing states that would assure that when it happens again, it will succeed.
The January 6th Committee has been doing an astonishing job investigating the attempted coup and those responsible for it. They have uncovered evidence of the involvement of Republican members of Congress, Trump administration officials, Trump associates, and even the wife of a Supreme Court justice. The only 2 Republicans on the Committee have been chastised and demonized by the Republican Party, simply for doing their job defending the Constitution. Instead of doing their constitutional duty and supporting the Committee, they have been fighting it every step of the way hiding behind the Fifth Amendment, “executive privilege”, or refusing to testify, being in contempt of Congress. These are not the actions of patriots, They are actions of terrorists attempting to cover up an insurrection.
If Trump and his MAGA Republicans are not held accountable as domestic terrorists for their actions in the January 6th attempted coup, they WILL try it again. The greatest dangers to our country and our democracy come not from abroad, but from within our borders. Some of the very laws that now protect us, will be the ones that will destroy us. As radicals have taken over the Islamic religion, so too have radicals taken over the Republican Party and the Christian Right. If we don’t realize the dangers that Trump and his sycophantic Republican followers pose to our Constitution, our democracy, our country, and our freedoms and vote as if our lives depended on it, the United States will cease to exist as we once knew it.