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Roemer: All of us to blame for political environment that led to storming of the Capitol | COMMENTARY

Following the events of Jan. 6, I find the emotion which best catches my feelings about that day is one of sadness. I’m just plain sad for my country.

The storming of the Capitol Building was bad enough. The reaction of politicians afterward only made things worse.

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There just hasn’t been an ounce of self-reflection by anyone, no recognition at all by any politician of note who all played a role in creating the political environment that caused us to arrive at this point in history.

President Trump certainly needs to answer for the role he played in inciting the crowd to its criminal and disgraceful behavior. It seems some believed proceedings in the Capitol that day would result in Trump remaining their president. How easily emotions can be stirred.

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Trump’s words struck the match, but the fire that match kindled had been under construction a very long time. Politicians of every stripe — left, right and everything in between — built it high and wide, and doused it with gasoline at every opportunity.

And then, in a moment of shock and outrage, as the flames grew, they all turned in unison to the president and screamed, “Look what you have done!”

Not even for a moment did the president’s perennial critics stop their verbal assaults to give heated emotions time to cool. (Read any Congressional constituent correspondence for the week following Jan. 6. They could not be more inflammatory).

As soon as debate resumed, with Sen. Schumer leading the charge, one by one Democratic politicians charged to the microphone in a partisan feeding frenzy to attack Trump and blame everyone but themselves for why things transpired the way they had that day. It was the first thing Schumer did. His words were not intended to heal and assuage a nation in shock. He immediately went on the attack, and the vitriol which has so dominated our political discourse for far too long continued unabated. It continues to this day. Rep. Nancy Pelosi immediately demands and pursues Trump’s impeachment with only days left in his term. President-elect Biden’s comments inexplicably throw race into the mix. They all see this tragedy as nothing more than an opportunity to gain political advantage.

And the wheels go round and round.

Across the entire political spectrum, we failed. None of us should feign surprise — and none of us should deflect responsibility for getting us here. For our own selfish reasons, we all went merrily along, hurling ourselves toward the consequences of our actions. Well, folks, we have arrived. Now what?

As a country, we’d better figure out pretty soon how to talk to each other again; how to compromise and find the middle ground — or we’re doomed as a people.

The truth is, we’re all to blame for what happened. All of us have contributed to the political environment in which we find ourselves today, either through our own actions and words, or by voting into office and supporting politicians who use the most base tactics to get their way. When we criticize the reprehensible behavior of politicians with whom we disagree, but then rationalize the same behavior by people we support, we are throwing wood on the pyre, and the pyre we are building today may ultimately be the one which bears the remains of our civilization. Even as the embers of the current fire continue to burn, we’ve already begun building the next, one much bigger and more volatile. The only question is, who will light the next match?

We just keep pointing fingers, declaring anyone who disagrees with us evil, and blaming everyone but ourselves for the problems plaguing society. We have allowed the most contemptible among us to dictate the agenda, which now has more to do with destroying a competitor than seeking common ground. We view each other as enemies, and all sides think any questioning of their orthodoxy is akin to treason.

We have sown the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind.

Mostly, I’m sad because as bad as things were in Washington on Jan. 6, there is no indication anything will be different going forward. Every civilization before us failed. The failure of our own seems closer every day.

The night is far spent.

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Chris Roemer is a former banker and a former Carroll County Public Schools middle school principal who writes from Finksburg.

For any member of the community who would like to submit a guest community voices column for publication consideration, it should be approximately 700 words and sent to bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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