I was glued to the television Wednesday night, shocked by what I was watching, but not really.

I heard President Trump encouraging his supporters to march on Washington, I guess I just never thought they would try and storm the capitol. Who could have really imagined that? I was as surprised by my own visceral reaction to demonstrators taking over the Senate and the House as I was by their actions. I am no fan of Vice President Mike Pence, but when I saw some bum sitting in his chair I was appalled. I found myself yelling at the television, “Get out of that seat!” I didn’t realize how strongly I felt about respect for the office.

Then I watched the speeches. The endless speeches. Pence went on to long, but he ended with, “let’s get back to work.” I liked that. It sent the right message. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke. I cannot stand him. Like many good Democrats, I find him repugnant, revolting, and truly believe that he cares more about his own personal agenda than he does about the nation. His speech was very good. I got choked up listening to him.

I listened to Sen. Mitt Romney speak. I used to hate Mitt, now he is my hero. If you told me five years ago that my heroes were going to be a Republican senator, the ex head of the FBI, and a variety of Republican defense secretaries, I would have told you that you were nuts.

And then Sen. Graham spoke. Another very good speech; to the point and even a little bit witty.

I went to sleep vaguely relieved that some of President Trump’s staunchest allies had finally told the American people what they needed to hear. President Elect Joe Biden, and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris had won the election fair and square and that they were going to be our president and vice-president. I woke up feeling mostly the same.

As the day wore on the speeches started to nag me. With the exception of Romney, how could I could go from hating the enablers to forgiving them for giving a good speech. And then it dawned on me. McConnell, Graham and a long list of other Republicans have stood by President Trump through thick and thin. They watched him call a democratic election rigged and a fraud before the election even happened. They stood silently while he did and said any of a thousand vile things.

It was not until they were physically threatened by hoodlums and hooligans that they finally decided there was something wrong. I realize that it is slightly more complicated than that, but not much. When the Proud Boys were banging on the door, crashing through the door and storming the Capitol where these lawmakers work, well, now things have gone too far – but not until then.

I don’t know when Trump first crossed the line. When he called John McCain a loser for being taken prisoner of war? When he boasted about grabbing women? When he paid off a stripper to be quiet about their extramarital affair? I don’t know.

But I do know that he has helped pave the way for the slow death of decency and democracy. Next time – and there is always a next time – perhaps our senators won’t wait until the barbarians are at the door to stand up and defend democracy and our country.

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