Submitted by Joe Angland, Chair, Greenwich Democratic Town Committee
The Greenwich Republican Town Committee’s condemnation of the Capitol insurrection (Greenwich RTC: Riots Disguised As Protests Undermine Our Democracy, Jan 11, 2021) is welcome as far as it goes, but it does not go nearly far enough. While the RTC manages to decry a mob’s seizing of the Capitol and imperiling elected representatives of both parties, it remains conspicuously silent regarding the reasons for this national embarrassment.
There is no mention of the words and actions of President Trump and his minions that directly inspired the mob, as though the outrageous behavior arose spontaneously as opposed to having been courted for months by a disgruntled president unable to accept the reality of his election loss.
This unwillingness to place the blame where it belongs is a continuation of what we have seen for the last four years.
In its statement the RTC laments that Greenwich Democrats have expressed concern about President Trump’s behavior rather than wearing blinders and looking only at local matters. Recent events, however, have highlighted the good cause for the concern about what has been happening in Washington. For four years, President Trump has spun a fantasy world in which all facts that run contrary to his interest – no matter how indisputable – are deemed “fake”. This wholesale disregard of the truth culminated in a final fantasy – that the election had been fraudulently stolen from him – that was so unsupported that his legal team refused to defend it in many of the lawsuits they brought and that judges (including several Trump appointees) consistently rejected it.
President Trump could not have done this alone. He was able to get a mob to accept a version of the facts unmoored to reality – on the election fraud issue and many others – because of the complicity of too many prominent national and local Republicans who either explicitly or tacitly condoned his fabrications. To be clear, not many of these prominent Republicans believed the fabrications, and some would joke in private that it was just “Trump being Trump.” But their public silence had a cost. Hearing no chorus of Republican leaders consistently calling out his flagrant lies over the past four years, President Trump stretched reality further and further.
And many rank and file Republicans, not hearing their party leaders counter the Trumpian version of the facts, came to live comfortably in the fantasy world that he conjured. It was thus the silence of Republican leaders – sadly, including those in Greenwich – that legitimized President Trump’s invocation of alternate realities, which is what led to the chaos of last week.
I want to be clear: I am not saying that any local Republican leaders wanted to see the insurrection; I am saying that they and so many others throughout the nation share responsibility because they stood by silently while President Trump made a mockery of the truth for four years.
While unwilling to hold President Trump accountable, even at this late date, the RTC statement pivots to talk about local education issues, painting Republicans as the saviors of the Greenwich schools. The reality is far different, and these critical local issues will get the attention they deserve in the coming months as we move toward the municipal elections. For the moment, however, the issue is the insurrection and the culture of “alternative facts” that spawned it.
The events of January 6th serve as a sad reminder that truth and morality matter, even as far away as Washington. Greenwich Democrats are proud that they have consistently challenged the prevarications of President Trump, and those Greenwich Republicans who remained silent and continue to do so should be embarrassed that they have not done the same.