By Marilyn Lori
The most important lesson my grandparents taught me was that courage was not the absence of fear but brave action in spite of it. On the night of Jan. 6, it gave me hope to see all our senators and representatives have the courage to return to Congress and finish the job of certifying the election results despite a violent, attempted coup hours before. The images were terrifying from afar so I can only guess how scary the insurrection was to live through. However, I question if it’s not a little too late to fight the creeping fascism that has become the norm for a sizable number of citizens in our country.
Inciting treasonous behavior that is an attempt to overthrow the government is called sedition. The creation of a dark culture of unchecked alternative facts on social media has enabled such actions and has been fostered in the last four years. The distortion of information on partisan sources is very damaging to our democracy and people’s lives. Erroneous and sensational information with an agenda is simply that, and has no place in a democratic dialogue.
I have never owned an American flag of my own, although I have been proud of my citizenship until late. Somehow the American flag has been replaced by a flag with our current president’s name on it. I cannot think of a more destructive indicator of how compromised our nation has become. Patriotism is not fascism beholden to a dictator. I strongly believe that we need to stand up as citizens against this very clear brush with tyranny. It does take courage to stand up and speak out in a transparent way outside of social media, but I know our democracy is worth it. We cannot allow treasonous mob violence to destroy our future by being uncomfortably silent.
We live in a country with a history of fair and impartial elections and smooth transitions of power from one president to the next. Leaders of both parties have affirmed this reality. In 2016, I was highly disappointed with the outcome of the election, and I marched in the streets of Washington D.C. in peaceful protest. I welcome anyone unhappy with the result of the 2020 election to do the same nonviolently. After the election of 2024, we may see another transition of power to protest against on either side.
I may not consider myself to be a zealot or a patriot of the republic, but I do consider myself to be one person and one vote in a democracy.
Marilyn Lori lives in Denver.