The Trump-instigated Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, left five people dead and scores injured. Numerous Capitol police officers and members of Congress on the scene emerged with lifetime mental scars. According to the Defense Department, the insurrection resulted in an extra cost of $483 million to keep National Guard troops on site until March 15. According to the Capitol Architect, it will cost at least $30 million to cover the repair and replacement of historical objects and related security costs. Millions of Americans remain shocked about memories of the day that crazed rioters invaded the people’s house, an event that had never occurred before in the nation’s history.

Diehard Trump-defending Republicans like Lindsay Graham, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell expressed outrage in the immediate aftermath of the riots. Observers on the national political scene expressed the hope that supporters of Donald Trump, a lifetime con man and master of chaos, would declare, at long last, “That’s it, Donald Trump. We’re done with you. Be gone.”

No such luck. Kevin McCarthy, tail between his legs, flew down to Mar-a-Lago to make amends to Trump. Lindsay Graham changed his tune on a dime, making frequent trips to Florida to play golf with his buddy. Most other GOP members of Congress dutifully followed suit, downplaying the insurrection and being careful not to alienate He Who Must Not Be Crossed. Trump, true to his “character,” has continued to push the Big Lie, claiming that he won the election, despite all evidence and lawsuits to the contrary. Even to this day, 59 percent of GOP voters believe that Trump won the election. They’ve bought into the Big Lie. More Kool-Aid, please….

Rep. Andrew Clyde (Georgia) wins the prize in the Flagrant Hypocrisy category, although the competition is stiff. He claimed that videos of the insurrection looked like a “normal tourist visit.” A photo of Clyde was later found holding a barricade to a door to keep the rioters out during the insurrection. Oops!

Sen. Ted Cruz made the fatal mistake of saying, rightly, that the insurrectionists were “domestic terrorists.” Tucker Carlson, the bombastic Fox News host, bullied Cruz into apologizing for using such a term.

Stephanie Grisham, a former Press Secretary for Trump, spoke truth to power when she said that Trump gleefully watched the video of the insurrection and often played rewind while chortling, “ Look at all those people fighting for me!”

Okay, where do we go from here? GOP leaders, and many GOP voters, would like the insurrection to disappear from memory. “Let’s move on,” they plead. Sorry, people. We can’t “just move on.” Happily, the Select Insurrection Committee is moving on, but doing so in the right direction, trying to get to the bottom of the insurrection, focusing on who knew what and when.

Members of Mike Pence’s staff are happily cooperating with that Committee. That’s understandable given that the rioters wanted to “hang Mike Pence.” Others who are not cooperating will face subpoenas. To those who are not cooperating, I would ask, “If you have nothing to hide, then why are you hiding?”

Here, in my view, is the Big Picture take. A U.S. President lost a presidential election, fair and square. He tried in many ways and at many levels using the media and many surrogates to overturn the results of that election, and thereby subvert the constitutional process. When that didn’t work, he took the ultimate step of urging his devoted followers to intervene and overturn the election results, using all means necessary, including force. If that’s not a treasonous activity, then what is?

If we just let the insurrection drop with no real consequences to those who masterminded it, then we take a giant step closer to the end of our democracy. Do we want to be governed by a nation of laws or by the dictates of a narcissistic bully, enabled by cowards too weak to stand up against him? Do we favor democracy or autocracy? The choice is clear. What will we choose, America?

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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