E. Eugene Webb PhD
As the impeachment proceedings unfolded this past week, The American public has been able to see exactly what went on during the attack on the capital.
Significant amounts of previously unknown and seen video indicate the level of violence, the degree of sophistication, the intensity of the perpetrators, and the sheer terror of the moment.
It would seem, that the reality of what took place is just now starting to sink in.
As I sat and watched the impeachment proceedings, it is easy to understand how the members of the US House and the US Senate, their staff, and all of the other people working in the Capitol building at the time of the attack we’re in fear for their lives.
I will simply leave the adjudication of the responsibility of former president Trump to the impeachment proceedings and to the investigations, charges, and prosecutions that will certainly follow.
What I would like to do in this Post is present some questions for you to consider as you ponder what happened to the United States on January the 6th 2021.
In the impeachment proceedings and in the lead up to those proceedings you heard any number of politicians, and pundits indicate that our democracy was under attack. I will admit that I for one, at least in the early going, thought much of that was hyperbole generated by the intense political feelings surrounding the event.
As I've watched and listened to the impeachment proceedings, viewed the videos, listen to the presentations of both sides, my view of the events has modified slightly.
So here are five questions for you to consider as you think about your country and the freedoms you enjoy.
1. What would have happened had the capital attackers managed to capture and or kill Vice President Pence?
2. What would have happened if capital attackers had managed to capture and or kill Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi or Senate President Chuck Schumer?
3. What would have happened if the capital attackers had decided to occupy The Capitol building and not leave?
4.Thinking about the question above, what would have been the likely response of president Trump, and lacking any response from President Trump, what would the actions of the military have been?
5. Since virtually the entire chain of succession was in the Capitol building at the time of the attack, what does the command structure look like when everyone that command might pass too was rendered in effective because of the insurrection?
Looked at in the window of these five questions and many more, the issue really becomes how would our government proceed in an orderly fashion, who would assume control, and on what authority could they or would they take action to secure the capital?
I do not propose any answers to any of these questions at this point.
In fact, I am not sure there are any answers at the moment.
I merely raised them for you to think about and begin to appreciate the fragility, not weakness, fragility of our democracy.
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