If not now, when?

Yes, the people responsible for the insurrection on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol must be arrested and prosecuted.

I know there are political reasons why sometimes crimes are not pursued by law enforcement and the court system. There can be extenuating circumstances. Those do not, and can not, apply here.

This is not someone being charged with misdemeanor being let off with a light sentence or some community service. This was a planned and executed attack on our democracy, aided and encouraged by members of our own Congress and White House staff, up to and including the president of the United States.

It was sedition. That’s a serious charge, and not a common one, fortunately. But seditious conspiracy it was, per 18 U.S. Code § 2384 (emphasis mine):

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

That’s what happened Wednesday. A mob, armed with various weapons, invaded the U.S. Capitol while the House and Senate were in session, seeking at the very least to disrupt (to “force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States”) the certification of the Electoral College votes. They were successful. According to numerous reports and video evidence, they also intended to cause bodily harm to, possibly kidnap, and perhaps even attempt to execute members of Congress and even the Vice President for being “traitors.” Political party wouldn’t have mattered, in fact, it’s doubtful the mob would have been thoughtful enough to have bothered to determine whether the person they were targeting was a Republican or Democrat.

That’s the part Trump’s enablers still don’t seem to understand. They still think they have control of the MAGAites. They don’t anymore. They will just as quickly turn on them as they did on Mike Pence, who has been a dedicated yes-man for the president for four years but refused, in the end, to go rogue on Wednesday. Or perhaps that’s why they’re still kowtowing to the Trump brigade: they’re afraid of the monster they created.

This has to be dealt with, immediately and severely. We’ve never had elements of our own government attempt to overthrow the results of a legitimate election before, much less encourage violence in doing so. Those who carried out the desecration of the Capitol on Wednesday must be identified, arrested, and put on trial for sedition and other crimes. And those who stood by and goaded them on must also be dealt with. Watching “Senators” Hawley and Cruz and over one hundred “representatives” including minority “leader” Kevin McCarthy continue their fraudulent objections to the will of the voters of Arizona and Pennsylvania – even after hiding from the mob they helped create – made me physically ill. They have violated their oaths and no longer are qualified to serve in Congress. Everyone involved must be dealt with. There can be no political exceptions.

Otherwise, what’s the point of having laws against sedition? I know it’s a serious crime and it’s a sensitive issue. But if we’re not going to enforce them after what we all witnessed in real time on Wednesday afternoon, then when will we? If there’s no punishment for fomenting an insurrection, we will certainly continue to have them. And the decline of the American experiment will most assuredly continue into the next several years.

It was sedition. Arrest. Prosecute. Punish. There is no other alternative.

Lancing our national boil

What can be said that hasn’t already been said about today’s embarrassing and despicable events at the U.S. Capitol. It would have been embarrassing and despicable even before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an act of insurrection that hasn’t been seen in the United States since the Civil War.

The cynicism of people like Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz is breathtaking. Trying to gain favor with Trump’s cabal, they jumped at the chance to align themselves with those who were creating political theater over the election results, even if that effort was doomed from the start.

Trump’s encouragement of the mob, however, took today to a different level. His speech to the crowd this morning, telling them he’d be with them as they marched to the Capitol (of course he wasn’t), surely contributed to the violence and lawlessness that we witnessed.

In an odd way, though, I’m relieved that this happened today. I think if we hadn’t had something as awful as today happen, our national split may have gone on for years. But the images we saw today may have lanced our national boil. Several of the “Dirty Dozen” are disavowing their support of the objection scheme as I type this. It just might get us past some of this in the end. It cost at least one person their life and many others were injured, but if it moves us toward some national reconciliation, it may have a positive effect.

It’s not over, of course. Tomorrow is another day, but combined with the election of two Democratic senators in Georgia last night, it does seem a bit more hopeful.