Letter: Attack at U.S. Capitol should be a wake-up call

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To the editor,

Generally, we Americans are very proud of our democracy; expressions like “only in America” or “the shining Beacon on the Hill” abound. However, particularly with the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol, isn’t it time we take a hard look at ourselves to see what America is becoming?

I am extremely sad to see the USA seemingly following in Nazi Germany’s footsteps: their Jews and Gypsies can be compared to our refugees and would-be immigrants, their Gestapo compared to our Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the dreaded knock on the door, day or night, and people put into concentration camps, or our detention centers.

I lived in England during WWII and will never forget the constant bombing and fear of invasion as Hitler attempted to conquer England, too. Things were tough, but when news of the atrocities in Europe began to filter through we knew we were lucky by comparison and had to keep fighting. I am scared and worried that America is going down this same road. Without the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it is doubtful if the USA would have entered WWII. It was all too easy to enjoy comfortable lives and safety, and talk of the conflict as other people’s problems.

When news of the attack on the Capitol started to come through, I thought that this might be the shock we needed — a wake-up call. Despicable, violent people, spewing hate, threats and destruction were invading one of America’s most hallowed places. Now, it’s calmed down and I see reports that some of these individuals are being charged; after videos appear to show some Capitol police officers welcoming the mob past barricades.

But what about the rhetoric from more senior officials that may have helped fuel the mob? Will they be held accountable or are only the small-fry considered disposable by them? Plenty more where they came from?

And former President Donald Trump, the chief instigator, who can’t stop talking about what he’s done — and plans to do?

So many people — Republican politicians, fundamentalist churches and ordinary citizens — are proclaiming “Trump is king” and still supporting and excusing him. They are putting an individual ahead of their country.

The shameful legacy of slavery is, sadly, still alive and well in lack of opportunities for people of color and the savage treatment they often receive from police and courts. If it had been a Black, Liberal or (horrors) Muslim crowd at the Capitol, their reception would have been very different. Racism is a major factor motivating these radical, right-wing groups, but most of us continue to ignore or even support it.

So, let’s decide. Do we want to become the next Reich or perhaps just the latest banana republic with a dictator strutting around, trophy wife trailing behind, and worried staff scurrying around trying to keep him happy? It’s our choice.

Terry Peirce

Naugatuck