By Patrick Murphy

A long way from becoming one nation

A new president and vice president are only days away.

Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris will become the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president.

The election was supposed to end one of the most controversial times in our lives and one of the most contentious elections, but lies and conspiracy theories have fanned the flames.

One week after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, resulting in the building being damaged, items stolen and deaths, the man who egged on and encouraged these terrorists was impeached for the second time.

Outgoing President Donald Trump has encouraged violence since he hit the campaign trail before his election in 2016, and escalated the call for violence after losing the 2020 election to Biden.

What is left is a country divided like not many of us have seen in our lifetimes.

We are fighting each other, we have a worldwide virus that is still killing us in droves, the economy is down, and suddenly our country looks like a frat house after a rager, and we don’t know where to start the clean up.

For four years Trump has run roughshod over the truth and replacing it with whatever popped into his head and whatever he thought his supporters would believe.

We saw the results of those four years when rioters stormed the Capitol.

They broke into the building, took selfies and posted them on social media, stole whatever they wanted, defecated and smeared it around the People’s Building.

All the while Trump watched from a distance.

He watched. He did not take to Twitter or television or radio to tell the infiltrators to stop and go home.

He did nothing until eventually tweeting there should be peace, but not before reiterating the election was stolen.

In the hours and days that followed, some of Trump’s backers in Congress tried to distance themselves from him, while others spoke out against the assault on the Capitol, but continued to claim the  election was a sham.

Later that night, our legislators gathered again in the Capitol and certified Biden as president, despite some Republicans holding up the proceedings with baseless lies that the votes were fraudulent in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Trump lost his bully pulpit - social media - as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, among others, banned him.

Twitter was a way for him to talk to his followers directly. He didn’t have to answer questions, fact-checking was not required, and his followers didn’t care if he spoke the truth, he spoke to them and told them what they wanted to hear.

A week later, Trump became the only president to be impeached twice.

He was impeached the first time for pressuring the Ukraine to investigate Biden, while withholding as leverage military aid, and attempting to block a House investigation. 

This time, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for “incitement of insurrection,” stemming from the attack on the Capitol.

The vote included 10 Republicans who agreed to impeach.

It will now go before the Senate, but likely not until after Trump leaves office. Sen. Mitch McConnell, while reports behind the scene indicate he is in favor of impeachment, will leave it up to Democratic controlled Senate to decide.

After the Senate trial, Trump could be disqualified from holding political office in the future.

I wish I could feel like Jan. 20 will mark a new beginning, the slate will be wiped clean, and we will go back to discussing issues instead of storming federal buildings, but it doesn’t feel like that will happen anytime soon.

I believe the faction of society that feels violence is the right answer will continue to take up arms and attack at any cost.

We are a long way from becoming one nation under God, but have taken an important step.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.