President Donald Trump lied, and people died. This is the unvarnished truth. He and his enablers and those who participated in acts of violence, must be held accountable.
The unsettling and dangerous situation that occurred inside our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, is pressing heavily upon all of us. Urged on by words from the president of the United States, a mix of domestic terrorists, political zealots and narcissistic hooligans stormed the seat of our Republic. Death, destruction and fear was their objective, and they were successful in achieving that outcome.
The threat and specter of continued violence hangs like a dark and ominous cloud. What can and should be done now?
From a distance, separated both literally and figuratively from the halls and chambers of government power and authority — the answer for most of us is to simply hold on.
We must hold on, remain aware, and keep our personal safety a priority during the coming weeks. Then, when the storm passes as it surely will, we must seek a path that demands both accountability and de-escalation.
Accountability and consequences are the first order of business. Those who broke the law, regardless of their title or position, must be brought to justice. Those enablers who maneuvered intentionally in the political grey areas of ethics and integrity, must also pay a price of public exposure, censure and condemnation.
Ultimately we must move past accountability and consequences, and through the anger and divisiveness. Both in our local communities and at the national level, we must begin a conversation soon that starts the healing and de-escalates the hate and animosity.
The cynics of course will say that it can’t be done. And for the fringe, the bigots and the zealots, it indeed may be impossible. But for the vast majority of us, we can and we must move soon to rebuild relationships and restart conversations.
There is no shortage of common ground and that’s where our focus must turn.
We need to create jobs. Good jobs that pay a living wage. We need to rebuild our public infrastructure, protect our natural environment and ensure that all communities have clean water to drink. Quality health care and a quality education must be available for all regardless of income or station in life. And supporting all of this, we must have ethical, transparent, and a truly representative inclusive government that is held accountable by honest and open elections.
To pay for our public and societal needs, we must have a tax structure that is fair and equitable. Those who extract more from the public commons, those who waste more, consume more and pollute more, should pay more. And yes, those who have more should also pay more.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates himself stated recently on CNN, “ … the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes.” Fellow billionaire Warren Buffett said similarly on CNBC, “The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population.”
Yes, there is much common ground. While the strategies and tactics to achieve these common goals and objectives may differ, most will agree as to where we ultimately want to go as a society.
The coming weeks will be difficult and challenging. President Trump and others must be held accountable. Those in positions of leadership and power must know that their words and actions have consequences. And the people must know that laws are for everyone, regardless of your wealth, race or title.
But then, after those who brought this grave harm to our Republic are held accountable, we must move on. We must move on to build a more just society where a diversity of people break bread and share ideas, where justice and equality is the norm and where bigotry and violence are an unacceptable aberration.
by Gary Hooser
Published in the Honolulu Star/Advertiser
January 18, 2021