Brickner: Who are we?

In the chaos of D.C., news anchors and politicians kept saying, “This isn’t who we are.” But maybe it is.

Joan Brickner, Forum Readers Board

It’s Wednesday night, as I write this. My apologies to my editor, as I usually have my column in by now. No excuse, but I got caught in a web of history.

In the chaos of D.C., news anchors and politicians kept saying, “This isn’t who we are.” But maybe it is.

We watched the president’s inflammatory speech, again claiming the election was stolen from him by “explosions of bull-----t.” The fraud conspiracy. He egged on the crowd, saying, “All of us here do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened, left, radical Democrats…That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing...We will never concede. This was not a close election.” He added that they must “show strength” and “fight.” He encouraged the crowd to join him at the Capitol.

But he never showed. Wrapped in coats and scarves, the crowd walked that mile and a half. To the main event.

According to a news report from NBC, one of the marchers said, “"Do we storm the Capitol or stop at the food trucks?"


Many chose to storm the Capitol. And news reports show those stoked up by conspiracy theories conspired themselves. For weeks.

According to Buzzfeed, the chatter on the internet included conversations like, “What if Congress ignores the evidence?” [totally debunked evidence of voter fraud]. “Storm the Capitol,” was the reply, with over 500 likes. Others talked of being “ready for blood.”

So, how were the police so ill-prepared, unlike the BLM protests of several months before?

The crowd bore flags and regalia; some American, but more Trump flags, and even Confederate flags. Or flags that said, “Jesus 2020” and “Jesus/Trump.”

Another woman said, "We don't need Alex Jones [the conspiracy theorist]. We are Alex Jones now." An addiction to conspiracies.


  • Brickner: A year of Halloween I see a fearful acceptance of lying. CNN’s Daniel Dale says, “For a fact checker, you’re kind of sitting there with Biden. Occasionally, you’re saying, ‘Oh, that’s wrong.’ With Trump you’re like the "I Love Lucy" episode in the chocolate factory. You don’t know which one to pick up because there’s just so much.’” Yet, many don’t seem to mind.
  • Brickner: Blood on his hands, and ours The president said he didn’t want people to panic, that he was following Winston Churchill who said, during World War II, “Keep calm and carry on.” But Churchill never denied the Nazi threat. He didn’t lie. Brits prepared, urging unity and courage.

Crowds scrambled over restricted Capitol steps, some hung from balconies, broke windows and doors with kicks and crowbars and shields, trespassing inside. They strolled around as if they were on a museum tour. Some entered private offices to rifle through doors, steal items, and vandalize. Earlier, a noose was hung.
The lives of the members of Congress were in danger, including those who supported him. Some called to say goodbye to loved ones. Congressmen were grabbing gas masks, hiding behind desks and in rows before they were rescued and taken to secure locations. Crowds burst into the Senate floor. Government men barricaded doors and poised their guns at attempted intruders. One woman died, shot in the turmoil.

As Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said, in the aftermath, "We gather today due to a selfish man's injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning." Life and death in the tongue.


The crowds of hundreds left behind trash and broken glass, but Congress was not deterred in its duty. They reconvened several hours later, while several Congressmen still supported a bogus maneuver to help a conspiracy fueled coup.

But, like clockwork, despite praise from the president and his daughter for “patriots,” another conspiracy theory pops up: those rioters were Antifa.

How do we make it stop?

Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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