Once or twice in every generation, something happens that captures the attention of the whole country. 9/11 in 2001 was such an event, as was the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The storming of the Capitol building in Washington DC, on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, now joins that list. This event had startled people glued to their televisions, watching in horror and disbelief at what was happening right before their eyes. One cannot be anything but shocked by what happened. It was terrible, and there is no justification for what took place. Consequently, it was rightly condemned by people of all political parties.
Now that it is over, I want to ask the question, “What went wrong? What caused this to happen? Yes, what went wrong?”
WHAT WENT WRONG?
We will have to wait until all the investigations are complete before coming to a final conclusion. However, let’s note some possibilities about what went wrong.
- PRESIDENT TRUMP – People point to President Trump’s speech at the rally that proceeded the riot as the cause of what happened, accusing him of stirring up the crowd of supporters and consequently causing them to act the way they did, even though Trump told them to be peaceful and patriotic. This week, the Democrats are trying to impeach President Trump again, which is nothing more than a political ploy, and it does not appear that it will be successful. In my opinion, the real reason for the impeachment is to prevent Trump from running again in 2024 or ever.
- TRUMP SUPPORTERS – Trump’s supporters are made up of at least three groups:
- Those who were disappointed by the results of the 2020 election, resulting in grief and disbelief.
- A significant group that believes the election was rigged, that Trump actually won and are angry about it. (Note – The is no doubt that fraud happened in the election, but there was not enough proof to change the result).
- Agitators, from the extreme right, who were spurred on by social media, including QAnon and others.
It seems like the majority of the people at the Trump rally were peaceful. Even though it was a minority who took part in the riot at the Capitol, all conservatives are now blamed.
- THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF ALL WAS THE LACK OF PREPARED SECURITY – It is quite incredible the lack of prepared security that was on hand for such a publicized rally. Hotels were booked out in the area, and large crowds were expected. If adequate security had been both present and alert, the storming of the Capitol would probably not have taken place.
But is there more to it than that?
THE CAUSE BEHIND THE DAY
John Stonestreet of Breakpoint has a striking thought about the events of Wednesday, January 6th, 2021. Let me share them.
“In the introduction to his book The Content Trap, author Bharat Anand asks readers to consider what caused The Yellowstone Fires of 1988, which lasted for months and destroyed over 1.3 million acres of the world’s oldest, and one of our nation’s most treasured, national parks. The traditional story places the blame on a worker who dropped a single, still-lit cigarette. Anand disagrees.
The cigarette certainly triggered this fire, but a million cigarettes are dropped every single day. That year (likely even that day), other cigarettes and, for that matter, lightning strikes fell in Yellowstone. Why did this one spark so much damage? Anand’s point has to do with the pre-existing conditions, which made something that is benign in most other circumstances, a trigger for incredible destruction” (breakpoint.org).
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS TODAY THAT HELPED PRECIPITATE THE RIOT?
The pre-existing conditions in today’s culture are many and varied. However, here are some of them:
- The Hatred of Trump. Right from his election in 2016, people have been plotting to remove him from office. There was the Russian conspiracy that went on for three years until the Mueller investigation showed it did not exist. Then, there was the move to impeach Trump, sparked by a phone call to Ukraine, and on and on. The hatred of Trump by many people has been and still is intense. It was sure to bring conflict.
- The Mainstream Media. The mainstream media has been against President Trump right from the start. They rarely, if ever, have had anything good to say about him. The media has ended up discrediting him. Consequently, 6 in 10 people either do not trust the media very much or not at all (news.gallup.com).
- Trump Himself. Trump himself has contributed in many ways: His style of communication, his comments about people, his New York way of talking, his blunt way of saying what he thinks. His mannerisms have not endeared him to many people.
- Political Hypocrisy. The reaction of the political parties reveals the hypocrisy that flows so easily in Washington. On the one hand, the Democrats were quick to condemn Trump and, in turn, the Republican Party. However, where were they during the summer of 2020 in cities like Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis, when Federal buildings were under attack? The toleration of violent protests in the summer set the scene for more violence in the winter. On the other hand, the Republicans, during the election, sought to take the “high ground” on law and order. As Minnesota Republican Mary Seifert put it, “. . . our party could say, ‘we obey the law, we don’t defile public property, we respect law enforcement,’ the moral ground was hijacked by a few thousand people. It’s an absolute stain on our country and our party” (www.startribune.com).
- The Country. The country has become divided. The Senate, which is now 50/50 Democrats and Republicans, reflects where we are as a people. We are totally divided. “Every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25b, NKJV).
SO WHAT NOW?
Democracy is always, to some extent, fragile. America is in a crucial time in its existence, as to both where it will go as a culture and as a country. John Stonestreet references the thoughts of Ross Douthat from the New York Times, who wrote it will be either “revolution or religious revival”(breakpoint.org). More about that in a later Langstaff Letter. Meanwhile, let us remember God is still on the throne in these difficult days. Let us remember, politicians are not the ultimate answer to our troubles. As Chuck Colson used to say, ‘Salvation will not arrive on Air Force One’ (breakpoint.org).
So let us not give up hope, but let us pray for America and our leaders.
May God bless America, in spite of ourselves.
The next Langstaff Letter will deal with the subject ‘Election Prophecies that were Wrong.’