We now have laws in Texas and several other states, dominated or heavily influenced by the Trump wing of the Republican Party, which seek to whitewash part of our history by limiting what educators can teach about racism. So, is it too much of a stretch to fear that someday, if Trumpism continues to control the GOP, that similar ideological efforts will be made to require teachers to describe the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters as patriotic defenders of the American way of life?
Donald Trump has called his supporters who stormed the Capitol at his bidding to try to stop Congress from certifying his election loss to Joe Biden “very special…peaceful people…great people.” Republican members of Congress who were forced to flee before the mob are now doing everything they can to undermine and discredit an official investigation of the riot.
And Trump’s supporters in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, continue to actively court the racists, conspiracy theorists and malcontents who attacked the Capitol, while doing little or nothing to dispel Trump’s lie that the election was “stolen.”
Former President George W. Bush has been one of the few prominent Republicans throughout the country to speak the truth about the election and Jan. 6, and he did so again last Saturday during an event remembering the Americans who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was in office. In remarks delivered in Pennsylvania, at the crash side of United Airlines Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked that day, he called out the Jan. 6 rioters for what they were – “violent extremists” – as he likened them to the Sept. 11 terrorists.
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit,” he said.
Politically, it is easier for former presidents to speak the truth than for politicians who are still trying to hang on to public office or climb the political ladder. But the efforts by our current crop of Republican elected leaders, including the governor, to downplay the truth, whether about racism or election outcomes, for political gain are pathetic – and dangerous for our democracy.
The question is how low will they go before they start losing their own self-respect – if they have any left.