Four years ago I was in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and I couldn’t believe what I saw in the streets.
Cars were set on fire, businesses had their windows smashed, and my wife Heather, my son Rustin and I witnessed armed Capitol police running down trouble makers who wanted to prevent Trump from becoming president.
Last week, D.C. saw another day of riots, only this time it was Trump supporters who believed the election was stolen storming the Capitol, bashing in windows and taking their frustration out against their government they believed failed them.
What they did was disgraceful and never should have happened.
How did we get here, and is it possible to get back to a nation that can have differences but remain united?
Government will fail the people when it is considered to be the solution to our problems.
Government has never solved issues of the heart. Slavery was defeated because people of good conscience stood up against the practice. Women were allowed to vote because people stood up for the wrong and corrected it.
Government is a reflection of the actions of its people, not the place where edicts are pushed upon them.
To that degree, the failure has occurred with our leaders in Washington.
Nancy Pelosi tore up Trump’s State of the Union Address in front of a national television audience.
For four years, anti-Trump politicians have made false claims about Russian connections to the Trump campaign despite the fact that Trump legitimately won the election in 2016.
Now we have seen an election that had rule changes in the 11th hour that have led many to question the results of the 2020 election, and while those questions are legitimate, the response to them must be the same way all responses are made — through the legal process and through the legislative process in each of those states.
The same rule applies to the actions of a law enforcement officer that might be questioned. We don’t riot, pillage and plunder because we believe a miscarriage of justice has taken place, whether in an election or during an arrest.
But our leaders have pushed us to the brink with divisive language that not only stirs up their own supporters, but it also drives a wedge and infuriates those who have a different view.
Like it or not, Trump and Joe Biden have to make a joint appearance. Speaker Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy need to make a joint appearance. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer need to make a joint appearance.
I don’t care if they hate each other. I don’t care if they detest the policies of the other person.
Leaders should rise above the differences to show unity in America. Leaders have the obligation to those who did not vote for them but have just as much a stake in government as those who did.
This winner-take-all mentality in government must end or else we will be doomed to riots and civil unrest until we become so weak that some other nation or some dictator is looked at as the only way to return to peace.
I support Trump 100 percent. I attended his inauguration and support the policies he has implemented. But Trump must invite Biden to the White House, and they have to start the transition process.
Congressional leaders must do the same.
The nation won’t unify until our leaders are willing to respect both sides.