• Sona Chaturvedi

Never Let GOP Forget Last 4 Years

Photo Credit: Erin Schaff/Getty Images. Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald Trump.

The most dramatic transition of power in American history has finally come to its resounding conclusion.

You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief throughout most of the world.

Everyone was on edge about the safety of the big day, as we have never seen this type of military presence during a standard inauguration ceremony. Nothing was normal. The former president did not attend or welcome his replacement to the White House. He did not observe any customary traditions except, thankfully, leave.

Mainly, no one cared. Most were elated he took off and just wanted to forge ahead with a day of celebration and quickly return to “normality.”

It will be tempting to develop amnesia about the last four years. Twitter users are already tweeting about never mentioning Trump again and forgetting his presidency ever happened.

But it did.

As Biden takes control, the GOP has been gutted, their former leader is reviled, and after years of excusing every presidential affront to “conservative values,” their credibility is shot. How will the GOP recover from the complicity and corruption of the Trump era? To many Republicans, the answer is simple: Pretend it never happened.

But everyone knows what occurred. All of Donald Trump’s fascist and anti-democratic practices, that the GOP either excused or participated in, must not be forgotten. If it is not admonished, it will undoubtedly happen again.

The amnesia is setting in. They lost, they know it, and now they want to move on.

No one can let them.

“They spent all that time coddling the president and now want to recast themselves as voices of conscience, or whitewash their relationship with Trump altogether,” said McKay Coppins, writer for The Atlantic. “Policy makers who abandoned their dedication to ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘limited government’ will rediscover a passion for these timeless conservative principles. Some may dress up their revisionism in the rhetoric of ‘healing’ and ‘moving forward,’ but the strategy will be clear -- to escape accountability by taking advantage of America’s notoriously short political memory.” In the first 100 days, the Biden administration is tackling the massive hurdles it has inherited. The president already made sweeping changes with executive orders in his first few days. He signed a COVID-19 response bill, including a national mask mandate, lifted the Muslim ban, re-entered the Paris Climate Accord, tackled immigration and reversed several Trump-era policies. It is quite the undertaking, and it’s natural to want to fix these issues first. But we need to be able to do two things at once. That means every leader who participated in criminal behavior -- including Trump, his family and countless others -- must be held responsible. The rule of law must reign supreme. The time to act is now. We cannot wait. With regard to the terrorist attack on Jan. 6th, Nancy Pelosi said, “there will be prosecution for members of Congress who aided and abetted the Capitol Hill rioters.” She wants to move forward with the Senate impeachment trial against Trump. Now, it will be in the hands of the Senate once again.

There are many questions to be asked. What led to this inexcusable behavior? How could the GOP turn a blind eye or willingly participate in this corruption? There must be consequences. This needs to be done so we, as a nation, can make the necessary changes that will hold our democracy together. Once sworn in, this needs to be Attorney General Merrick Garland’s top priority.

Given recent events and the clear criminal conduct of the last four years, we have learned how democracy takes effort to maintain. We must exert our energy toward preserving it every day. If true unity is the goal, justice must also be served. “Our republic is like a living, breathing organism,” Rep Ilhan Omar said. “It requires attention and growth to meet the needs of its population. And just as it can be strengthened, it can be corrupted, weakened and destroyed.” This means no amnesia or whitewashing over what will now be American history. The last four years should by no means define us. But it happened here. Fascism nearly came to America for the first and hopefully last time.

Without justice, there can be no unity.