Don Walton: Insurrection comes to America; Congress can help heal


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Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington. 

Insurrection used to be just a word in our history books, but it’s right in our faces today. We saw it up close last week.

This probably is a bigger moment than we can actually process right now with at least 10 dangerous days looming ahead — and the likelihood of many more following that — with the ending not yet determined and certainly not anywhere within sight.

This could begin to ease with an orderly transfer of power on Jan. 20 and a return to some adjusted form of normalcy, but it’s clear now that it won’t really be gone. It is here.

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Any new normalcy will also contain a new element of danger accompanied by growth of an ever-expanding government security force and locked government doors along with the uncomfortable realization that there are strangers among us who would tear our country down.

President Donald Trump will go home to Palm Beach, Florida.

But he’s not done.

There might even be some menace in his tweet informing his supporters that he won’t be at the inauguration ceremonies Jan. 20.

Is that: hint, hint?

Trump rallies are planned at state capitols next weekend.

A big moment approaches now for one of our country’s two ruling political parties, the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, a party whose two most recent presidential nominees before Donald Trump were John McCain and Mitt Romney, exceptionally honorable men.

Trump purchased the party’s support in Congress with judges and tax cuts and then it gave him a free pass.

He has 10 more days to continue to appeal to our worst nature. Sow more division; stir more turmoil; drive us apart; ignite more violence.

Or light a fire in the Mideast.

Of course, it is the president who is responsible for what happened at the Capitol. He invited them to Washington, pumped them up, urged them to march on the Capitol, then returned to the White House to watch the results of his witch’s brew.

And we got in on a little history last week.

And the world watched, and it could no longer see Ronald Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill.”

Congress was in the bull’s-eye last week and that couldn’t have been much fun.

But both the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-led House responded bravely and boldly, performing their duty later that night, politically divided but together undeterred.

Hey, stop and learn a lesson there. Do not go back instantly now to the Hatfields and McCoys; stay away from that divisive R and D nonsense at least for awhile and get some important stuff done now.

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The title and the job is U.S. senator and U.S. representative, not Republican senator or Democratic House member. And there is so much pandemic work to be done and economic damage to repair and political division to heal in order that we might be one country again.

Now that the members of Congress have stared — up close and personal — into the dangerous division that they helped nourish, using it as a political and fundraising tool, maybe it’s time to get some things done for the country.

Look it up if you forgot what that means: “In union, in relationship, in agreement, collectively, in accord.”

No elections this year; time to build and repair and restore our country now.

It’s time to heal.

The Legislature is off to a smooth start.

Election of leadership positions remained true to the Nebraska Legislature’s unique nonpartisan nature with choices centered on merit.

The partisan (yes, I know, and philosophically conservative) takeover of that process four years ago was a one-and-done aberration that threatened the Legislature’s nonpartisan moorings if it had continued in future years. It did not.

The most dramatic example of that this year was the selection of Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont over Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte for chair of the Legislature’s Education Committee.

Walz was the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor; Groene is a Republican and had been chairman of that committee, but his experience was accompanied by criticism that he “doesn’t always play well with others.”

Republicans hold 32 of the Legislature’s 49 seats.

Finishing up:

* Isn’t it time right now to ban weapons from the state Capitol?

* Listen to Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative Republican hero in his 2008 ruling on the right to keep and bear arms: “The court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

* Ten days; hold tight.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSdon

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