Despite the divisiveness, fingerpointing and shaming currently erupting from the left, Americans of all political stripes shared the same gut-wrenching horror when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday afternoon.
On NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday, co-anchor Jenna Bush Hager’s heartfelt appeal epitomized the emotional toll the incident had on patriotic Americans.
“I have to say one of the best privileges of our job is that we travel all around the country and we meet incredible ordinary, extraordinary teachers and nurses and kind people,” the 39-year-old mother of three told her co-host, Hoda Kotb.
“What was so hard, I think, for so many of us who have grieving hearts is these images are not our America.
“This is not the America that you know. This is not the America that I know. It’s not the America that we want our kids to know. So that was hard.”
During a joint session of Congress convened to count the Electoral College votes on Wednesday, a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a clash that left lawmakers running for cover, delayed our democratic process. The incursion left five people dead.
One of those killed was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was taken to a local hospital after a rioter bashed him with a fire extinguisher.
The 42-year-old succumbed to his injuries on Thursday night.
Despite the fear and chaos in the halls of government on Wednesday, Congress later reconvened and declared former Vice President Joe Biden the victor in the 2020 presidential election shortly before dawn the following morning.
The most difficult part for many was watching rioters defile a building that is the heartbeat of American democracy.
Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, felt that pain acutely as she tearfully recalled how the iconic structure was the backdrop to significant moments in her life.
“I have had the privilege of standing on those steps, in several inaugurations, not just for family members but for the first black president of the United States of America, when I was a teacher in inner-city D.C., and that meant so much to so many,” Bush Hager said.
“I kissed my grandfather goodbye in that rotunda,” she said, remembering former President George H.W. Bush, as her voice quivered.
“I have felt the majesty of our country in those walls, and nobody can take that from any of us.”
Bush Hager said she felt, as many Americans do, “helpless” in the face of “casual cruelty that we find in the internet and the words of leaders that do not reflect our country.”
“We can stop that,” she continued. “We can share kindness, and smiles, and love, and we can take back what is our country that we all love so very, very much.
“I have optimism. I see you, seeing people I love, I mean, I have to say I want to hug so many people today. That’s a hardship.
“But seeing people that represent the good, spotlighting them. Like, we have an opportunity.
“And I think, I have faith that our country will be better.”
Since Election Day, many Americans have become increasingly angry and disillusioned by allegations that voter fraud robbed Trump of a second term.
The unfortunate consequence of that rhetoric, along with promises to turn the office back over to Trump, is that a group of radicals used it as fuel to mount an attack on a government building packed with America’s lawmakers.
As for the left’s role, politicians, Big Tech and the establishment media succeeded in convincing half of the nation that Trump’s supporters were vicious white supremacists.
They exploited existing racial tensions to position anyone white and/or not leftist as a new class of aggressors to be feared, denigrated and attacked.
The left has been steadily constructing that narrative and is now using the Capitol incursion as the cornerstone for a radical crusade against the right — the logical conclusion of which is too frightening to even speculate about publicly.
Rather than the rioters succeeding in their misguided plan to stop the vote and overturn the election, the ugly incident has unleashed Pandora’s box on Trump’s supporters.
Many Americans sympathize with Bush Hager’s sentiments regarding the attack on the U.S. Capitol because it’s where the business of American democracy gets done.
Some may also be heartened by her optimistic outlook and encouraged by the genius of the American governmental system in its steady resilience.
Unfortunately, many fear this attack may become the seminal moment that sparks a dark new chapter of the American story — and only time will tell which vision of America prevails.
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