The last 48 hours have been stunning. I imagine that many of us are shocked by what happened in Washington D.C., when armed terrorists broke into our nation’s capital to intimidate lawmakers and vandalize the space where they work. It’s terrifying to realize how vulnerable our country is when leaders exploit hostility, ignorance, and a sense of “righteous” anger.
Events of the last 48 hours (and the last four years) didn’t start with blatant appeals to uninformed bigots and fascists. = This started decades ago, when political leaders began framing policy differences as a holy war. The current climate has been building gradually, bit by bit, with one party attracting a base of support driven by ideology instead of reality. For decades, political leaders crafted a narrative of victimhood and resentment — echoed and repeated in public spheres — that overwhelmed facts and reason. That carefully cultivated anger produced a population of Americans motivated by rage and the goal of domination.
Our national government has suffered terribly because elected leaders quietly encouraged these hostile and dangerous attitudes; in the last four years, elected leaders openly embraced, defended, and exploited reckless and destructive impulses. Every American should realize now (if they didn’t before): our institutions and democracy are fragile.
I am grateful for Ann Arbor’s elected representatives in Congress who consistently stand for facts, reason, and the rule of law. Rep. Dingell, Senator Peters, and Senator Stabenow are on the right side of history and I expect them to be bold and courageous in defending our country during this crisis.