Guest opinion: Where is the accountability?

The thread that seems to run through Bertha Cooper’s opinion piece in the Jan. 13 Sequim Gazette (“Les Miserables?”, page A12-13) can be summed up in one word: accountability. She wants those responsible for the planning, destruction and rioting in and around the U.S. Capital on Jan. 6 to be held accountable for their actions.

I totally agree; those responsible will be held accountable. Why? Because they are conservatives who supported Donald Trump.

As for Donald Trump himself, he has already been convicted by one of the highest courts in the land — and not the Supreme Court. Twitter shut down his account, acting as sole prosecution, judge and jury. He was found to be guilty and a danger to society in holding a Twitter account. If that doesn’t make you pause, perhaps freedom is not really that important to you.

Fairness, accountability should cut both ways; in other words, liberals should want to be just as accountable for their actions as conservatives, right? Some of my conservative friends say that if it wasn’t for double standards liberals would have no standards at all. But I don’t believe that’s true, so let’s run down a little list just to test things out:

Liberals would want to be accountable for spending two years trying to convince America that Trump was illegitimately elected because he somehow received Russia’s help to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, right? But after two years of “Russia, Russia, Russia” and not a shred of evidence that Trump did anything wrong, who was held accountable? No one.

Aided by liberal media outlets, they kept trying to remove President Trump from office when they thought they had the smoking gun of evidence to remove President Trump from office, only to have all those stories discredited. Were they held accountable? Outside of really embarrassing themselves, not really.

When six blocks of downtown Seattle were taken over this summer by domestic terrorists — including a police station, was everyone held accountable? How about the rioting around the Portland, Ore., federal courthouse and attempted takeover? How about the breaking of store windows, the looting, the fires, the rock-throwing at police, etc.?

How about all the rioting in countless other major American cities? Anyone accountable? Yes, there were a lot of arrests for various crimes but there were also a lot of quick releases and seems there was not enough accountability as compared to all the destruction that occurred.

The rioting at the U.S. Capital lasted less than a day, but several major American cities all over the U.S. saw rioting and occupation protests for weeks.

Now it’s a situation of who would want to walk the streets of these once beautiful cities and especially who would want to bring their business to these cities? Not many, I suspect … because there is not enough accountability.

So what’s the point? Does anyone care? Does it make a difference? Probably not, because if you’re a conservative reading this you’re going to applaud, put down the paper, and turn on Fox News. If you’re a liberal reading this, you’re going to declare that it’s all lies, put down the paper, and turn on either ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC.

Research shows that it’s like eating comfort food during the virus: we eat what makes us feel good. Things are so polarized today that we simply gravitate toward the type of news that is going to make us feel good and reinforce our political positions.

Remember, however, it’s not Donald Trump who created the original polarization climate. It was the administration from 2008-2016 that created the climate for Donald Trump to even be elected in the first place.

So here’s my olive branch, proposal and challenge. First, turn off the television. Next, if you’re a conservative, find a liberal friend and have a civil discussion with him or her about a political issue.

If you’re a liberal, find a conservative friend and do the same. You will probably disagree, but you may find you have some common ground about some things.

If another Donald Trump comes along and the climate is the same, well, you know what they say about history, “If you don’t study history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”

Daryl Knuth is a Sequim resident. A 1978 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he spent 21 years in the Air Force, and then another 20 years in federal government supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FEMA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He and his wife Sandra retired and moved to Sequim in July 2019.