- Editor’s note: Ms. Noonan’s observations about how America is viewed around the world is instructive for all of us.
- To quote: “It matters that the world see this. That we see it.”
- Yes, it matters “that WE see it!”
Story excerpt by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal:
“I started the new year talking with an ambassador to the U.S. from a European nation, who spoke of Mr. Trump’s campaign to delegitimize the election. Do Americans understand the damage this does to U.S. allies, the ambassador asked. We look to you for an example of how to do democracy—you’re the oldest in the world! It grieves us to see the beacon of democracy sullied in this way.
“Those words rang in my ears five days later as I watched the Capitol besieged.
“On “Axios on HBO” Sunday [Jan. 31] we … [heard] from President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. He is playing a hard hand. Russia is breathing down his neck, Republicans don’t want to hear about him because they’re embarrassed by the Trump phone call that triggered the first impeachment, and Democrats are embarrassed by Hunter Biden and Burisma. Mr. Zelensky seems kind of on his own, sitting on top of one of the world’s flashpoints. China has been sweetly reaching out.
“Reporter Jonathan Swan asked the president how he felt as he saw the Capitol stormed. “Shocked,” Mr. Zelensky said. “I could not even imagine something like this was possible in the United States of America. . . . We are used to thinking that the U.S. has ideal democratic institutions where power is passed calmly, without war, without revolutions.” Such things happen elsewhere; they’ve happened in Ukraine. “That it could happen in the United States, no one expected that. . . . After something like this, I believe it would be very difficult for the world to see the United States as a symbol of democracy in the world.”
“For more than a century we have claimed the mantle of world power, basked in the warm glow of our exceptionalism, and put ourselves forward as an example. When you do that you have responsibilities; you owe something in return. What you owe is the kind of admirable behavior that gives the world something to aim for. On 1/6 they saw the storming and the siege and thought: Ah, no stability in that place. We can’t learn how to do it there and replicate it here.
“This is a loss to rising democracies and also to us, to our standing and reputation. Senate conviction is the chance to show the world: No, we won’t have this; those who did it will pay the highest penalty.
“It matters that all evidence be presented, that everyone sees we can come down like a hammer, ensuring that 1/6 was a regrettable incident, not a coming tendency.
“It matters that the world see this. That we see it.”
Click here to read the full story.