OPINION: After a dark day, the American republic stands strong, rolls on

Jan 8, 2021, 3:53 PM
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This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

It may seem hard to believe right now, but our republic stands strong, even after the events of a tumultuous week. 

The armed mob assault on the US Capitol for me was a gut punch, especially the hooligans and rabble-rousers overpowering Capitol Police and ransacking the sacred Rotunda — that’s a special place for me. It’s the symbol of democracy that so many people recognize around the world.

Even in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln insisted that work on the Capitol dome continue despite a lack of resources. The message Lincoln sought to send to Americans and everyone around the world is that the United States will continue on, that the nation was building for the long haul.

When I was chief of staff for Sen. Mike Lee in Washington, D.C., after a long day ending around midnight or 1 a.m., I would walk through the Capitol on my way back to my studio apartment tucked right behind the Supreme Court building. 

There is nothing more powerful than walking through the Capitol when it’s dark and empty. Along the way, I would stop for a few moments in the Rotunda. There is so much to take in, not just visually. It has a powerful presence. It is the heart and soul of this country.

So to watch these thugs hanging from the rafters of the Capitol, it was tough to see.

Where do we go from here?

Four things occurred to me this morning as I was grappling with this attempted coup.

Every American needs to:

  1. Take Note
  2. Take Heart
  3. Take Courage, and 
  4. Take Action

What we do with this moment matters. If we leave this moment unexamined, we will have passed over an extraordinary opportunity for the future of this country.

This is the ultimate “We The People” moment.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do I stand on the mob chaos in the Capitol?
  • How did we get to this place?
  • What is my role in all of this?

Anyone who plants thistles in spring is not expecting to harvest fruit in the fall. In other words, those who sow hate do not expect to reap love in the end.

To quote Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois and twice an unsuccessful candidate for president:

“What counts now is not just what we are against, but what we are for. Who leads us is less important than what leads us — what convictions, what courage, what faith — win or lose.” 

Take note of that.

US republic stands strong

Take heart that the greatest moment during the Day of Chaos happened hours later when an unbowed Vice President Mike Pence pounded the gavel to bring senators back into session to complete the certifying the electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins,” Pence said. “Let’s get back to work.”

And with those words, the constitutional republic of the United States of America rolled on. The republic stands strong, friends.

Take courage.

Courage is not calling out your enemies — that’s easy. Courage is calling out your friends when they are wrong.

If we don’t have the courage to call out hate, contempt, prejudice, even social media slurs, it will foment into rage and manifest itself as an angry and violent mob at the Capitol and start breaking windows to get inside.

We also have to call up the courage not to be consumed by any politician, publication or social-media platform peddling contempt and hate as the answer to those with whom we disagree.

We have to have the courage to call out any morally bankrupt idea of superiority and the resulting dehumanizing of others based on race or politics, religion or social status. That is where hate gains a foothold.

It takes courage to listen and suspend your own opinion for a moment and suppose, possibly, that you could be wrong. And the other person right and could have something of value you could learn from. Courage is looking at something through another person’s point of view.

For too long we have not had the courage to say, enough. We have become a culture of personality. That’s not it. It’s about the principles.

Courage is not ransacking the United States Capitol.

So, at this tipping point in American history, what are you gonna do about it? What action are you going to take?

That is the ultimate test for all of us.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson, who is also the opinion editor of the Deseret News, can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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OPINION: After a dark day, the American republic stands strong, rolls on