At the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself that I would write more editorials about issues that are impacting our city—something that has been lacking in my first two years as Managing Editor. But as much as I would like to talk about food trucks, downtown specific plans, statues of dead presidents and homelessness, I can’t get Wednesday’s events at the nation’s capital out of my head. The images from those hours of lawlessness in what is supposed to be one of the most secure locations on the planet are haunting. It was a dark moment in our country’s history that will forever be remembered as the day our democracy was pushed to its limits. While it is extremely unlikely that the country’s lawmakers would side with the pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol Building to empower a true insurrection, the idea definitely crossed my mind. As I saw the Trump flags draped over the Capitol and heard no condemnation from a president who just hours before stoked the fire that inflamed the mob, I thought to myself: is this the end of our country as we know it?
It wasn’t. Congress was back in session later that night and certified the Electoral College results early Thursday morning. The Donald Trump presidency is over, and it’s time to face that reality. There is no steal, and numerous officials, including Trump’s own Attorney General William Barr, have stressed that point. There is no way to stop the will of the people. The people have spoken and the courts have too. This dangerous charade is over, and all of the conspiracy theories that have accompanied this administration need to leave with it.
Of course, that’s not going to be an easy task. Just hours after the riot was subdued by heavily armed police, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz was back in the Capitol building defending Trump and the mob that had forced him and his peers into hiding. He continued to push Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, and said that Antifa, masquerading as MAGA-hatted Trump supporters, was to blame for the violence. He wasn’t the only one. FOX News host Laura Ingraham on her Twitter account ran with the unfounded claims that Antifa had infiltrated the pro-Trump ranks—she has since posted another article that debunked the claim. Hundreds of thousands pushed the same fallacy on social media, empowered by famous Trump loyalists and the president himself who in a video that has been scrubbed from Twitter and Facebook continued to claim mass voter fraud and justified the mob’s actions.
This era of misinformation powered by political puppets with no backbone has to end now. Truth has to reign supreme once again. Social media giants need to take this issue seriously and stop profiting from false information. This week’s riots should serve as their final notice that something needs to be done.
For those who voted for Trump in 2016 and again in November despite all the chaos that he brings—that includes nearly 27,000 people in Santa Cruz County—it’s time to jump off the bandwagon. It’s time to side with your country instead of a man who either has no idea of the power that he wields, or is fully complicit in inciting a small coup and the deaths that came from it. It’s time to admit that this weird, misguided experiment has exploded in our faces. It’s time to come back to reality. If it is not now, then when?
Tony’s Thoughts is a recurring column from Managing Editor Tony Nuñez. Contact Nuñez at [email protected].