Jan. 6 showed us the harm in letting Trump make false election claims | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Jan 08, 2021 at 5:00 PM
Remember when somebody asked, once it became clear that Joe Biden had won the presidential election, “What’s the harm” in letting Donald Trump go on with his protests, contesting the results, claiming that his “victory” was being stolen from him? What was the harm, some argued, in letting him have what he wanted for just a little longer?
For me, and for a lot of people who’ve lived with narcissists and know exactly how much harm they cause, the attack on the Capitol felt deeply personal. This is the macrocosm of watching that destructive force in your life deny the truth, gaslight you and others, and trash the safety and security of your world because they’re denied something they want. It’s having someone ask you the same question again and again, because they’re certain that, eventually, you’ll give them the answer they want instead of the truth. (The analogy, of course, is repeating “stolen landslide victory” over and over until the election results change.) It’s watching truth itself take a back seat to violence and fear.
The gang that stormed the Capitol building: sure, some of them probably would have been there whether or not Donald Trump called on them, out of hatred for “the system” and whoever they think is stealing their rights, whatever they define those rights to be. But most of them, I’m more than willing to believe, cling to the disinformation they’ve been fed because it gives them a validation they desperately need. I won’t stop believing that most people are just people, and that the real responsibility for yesterday’s violence lies with the manipulations of those who have the power to incite a mob.
And, by the way, anyone still comparing the attack on the Capitol with the Black Lives Matter protests and saying “those protesters trashed stuff too!” needs to look at, among other things, the fact that the systemic dehumanization of people of color is real and this “stolen landslide victory” is not.
It is well past time for any adults left in the room to stand up and say that the narcissist cannot be indulged in his tantrums any longer. The effects of enabling him are as destructive to this nation as the effects of an uncontrolled abuser in a family.
I’m deeply thankful that Congress resumed its work, which must have been difficult after the trauma of the day, and confirmed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I’m deeply thankful for the wins in Georgia. Now we have to decide how to move past the events of Jan. 6 and find a better way forward.