Democracies are the most fragile form of government. Historically, democracies only last about 250 years. The United States democracy is 245 years old. The political, judicial, and social changes since the 1960s have exponentially accelerated in the last few years, including the shameful riots of the first week of 2021. (See “Democracies Are Fragile”, The Roanoke Times, October 31, 2020)
The US democracy and Constitution, In particular, are based on Judeo Christian principles as detailed in all founding documents, the Congressional Record of Congress in session since 1787, and thousands of volumes written by our founders and later statesmen.
The founders were very concerned that ordinary citizens would not be able to keep democracy. Benjamin Franklin stated, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters.” President Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we remove their basis?” Ronald Reagan understood when he stated, “If we ever forget we are one nation under GOD, then we are a nation gone under “. “Civil law must comply with Christian principles.”, said James Wilson, one of Washington’s appointments to the first Supreme Court. There are thousands of examples of the intent, context, and purpose of our founding. Our Constitution is one of individual rights, self-government, and personal freedoms, not one of group rights or classes of people. However, since these principles have not been taught since the ‘60s, the average citizen, and Congress, has no understanding or concept of our founding or Constitution.
While other attacks and bombings occurred at the Capitol in the 19th and 20th centuries, the 2021 riot was the first time the Capitol was breached or occupied since the 1814 burning by the British during the War of 1812. The 2021 illegal riots and attack on the US Capitol are despicable, contemptible and a stain on our democracy. Inflammatory, agitational, inciteful remarks by any political leader or citizen on “social media” are fuel to gullible citizens. It’s reminiscent of Hitler’s rhetoric that inspired the Nazis as the Gestapo begin disarming the Jews in 1933-36 before sending them to the gas chambers.
I am outraged! This is not why I served in the US Army during the unpopular, riotous Vietnam era. However, in time, history will reveal what actually happened the last few years and in particular the first week of 2021. When two or more participate in illegal acts, at least one will eventually talk. The FBI and other officials were warned of the riots and attacks. Why were the Capitol grounds and building not protected with adequate police or military presence? How did paramilitary trained individuals with long rifles mix in with peaceful average citizens? Were there Al-Qaeda or other terrorists in the crowd on a practice run? Who paid for 80 tour buses, air travel, lodging, meals, and other expenses for thousands? A motley group of average citizens cannot organize such a riot in such a short time, without centralized organization and financing. How did weapons get past airline, train, or bus checkpoints? Why did so many people “look the other way”?
History will reveal what happened in time. GPS records of US mail movement, cell phone tower pings, lodging and restaurant receipts, cell phone and Facebook video and surveillance cameras in lobbies, stores, toll booth plazas and on the streets of Washington, other cities will speak to us. These clues as to what happened are all available now, if the DOJ is interested. We have enough external enemies, such as Russia, China, Iran with whom to contend. A fragile democracy can’t survive internal terrorists.
In the meantime, I fear things will get worse before better. Stock market value, your 401K, and retirement funds will decrease in value. Taxes will increase on all levels, not just the wealthy. Fuel costs will increase dramatically. There will be more gun restrictions on law abiding citizens with no effect on criminal activity, more BLM riots and killings of innocent people. Churches and other 501(C) non-profits will be penalized, Increased immigration will strain our social programs, schools, and hospitals. Interest rates will increase and more small businesses, our economic life-blood, will be prone to failure, including my own of 40 years.
We, the People, have been resilient in the past and I pray we will wake up and return to the Constitutional principles and Rule of Law that GOD instilled in our founders.
Fizer is a founder of Roanoke-based Lodging Technology. He resides in Roanoke County.