Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.


Dishonor, disgrace and tragedy: May we never see anything like this again

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

January 6 is a day that will live in infamy when a mob, instigated by President Donald Trump, stormed the United States Capitol. Shaken but undaunted, the Congress reconvened later in the night to certify Joe Biden, winner of November’s election, as the next president of the United States. On January 7, Trump finally committed in a tweet – through his spokesperson — to “an orderly transition on January 20th.”

It is too little, too late.

The mayhem of the riot has united most of the country in horror. “This is not America” has become a common refrain. Yet it happened, and the nation is at a crossroads. Will the mayhem of this day cause the country — including the media and both parties — to lower the temperature, restrain the inflammatory rhetoric, and seek more common ground? Or will divisiveness and disrespect continue to reign? A first step is for everyone to condemn the violence that took place in Washington, D.C. and for the people of this country to recognize the Biden administration as the legitimate next government of the United States. Under irresponsible duress, the system has worked. The election has been ratified.

The next step is to search inside ourselves and to reject anger and hate, be it on the streets, in our political discourse or on social media. Political disagreement is fine: the more respectful the better. Violence and vandalism are not. Here are some quotes from political leaders – and images from our nation’s capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. May we never see anything like them again in this, the United States.

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

— Vice-President Mike Pence (R., Ind.)

“We have very deep and clear political differences in this country, but we don’t resolve those differences by mob violence. The President of the United States’ statement, in my view, was completely inadequate — what he has done and what he caused here is something that we’ve never seen before in our history.”

— Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.)

Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Unacceptable. Enough. Acknowledge Biden as President-elect and end this madness. Violent rioters laid siege to the nation’s Capitol in an act of insurrection unparalleled in modern times. [Trump’s Tweeting] is not leadership.”

— Rep. Peter Meijer (R., Mich.)

“Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

— Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.)

U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn stand near a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House Chamber. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now in good consciousness object to the certification of these electors. The violence, lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process.”

— Sen. Kelly Loughler (R., Ga.)

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

“We cannot say emphatically enough — violence is not how you achieve change. Violence is not how you achieve something better.”

— Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.)

“Peaceful protesting is acceptable. Violence, lawlessness and attacks on law enforcement are absolutely not.”

— Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R., Mo.)

“The current acts of violence can never be accepted under any circumstances no matter your political affiliation. I condemn this violence and give my complete support to the brave Capitol Police officers working to restore order. Pray for America.”

— Rep. Jason Smith (R., Mo.)

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“The events unfolding at the Capitol are shameful. There is no justification for violence and destruction. … This is not who we are as a nation.”

— Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo)

“The United States Congress has faced down much greater threats than we’ve faced today. We’ve never been deterred before and will not be deterred today. They tried to disrupt democracy. They failed. The free choice of the American people is precisely what shapes our democracy,”

— Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.)

“The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, of honor, of respect, the rule of law. Just plain, simple decency. The renewal of a politics that’s about solving problems, looking out for one another, not stoking the flames of hate and chaos.”

— President-elect Joe Biden (D., Del.)

On Thursday night, a chastened Donald Trump finally condemned the violence. He also acknowledged he lost: “Now, Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20," he said. "My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

Again: too little, too late. And yet, for the nation, we can hope.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.