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Susan Duncan

“A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.”

John F. Kennedy, “Profiles in Courage”

The rioting Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol by President Trump’s devoted marauders surreally played out before a gobsmacked nation.

“You reap what you sow” was on full display as rioters — at the behest of the defeated president — sought to overturn the will of the majority of Americans, who in November chose Joe Biden as the country’s next leader.

The mob action — tantamount to wanton entitlement gone rogue — was simultaneously mesmerizing and heartbreaking to watch.

It, however, only delayed the inevitable. Biden’s win was certified by Congress in the predawn hours Thursday. The margin of victory wasn’t close — 306-232. The total has been constant, no matter who operates the abacus.

Responsibility for the four deaths that occurred during the insurrection and the untold damage to one of America’s most sacred buildings, wherein lives democracy, falls squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump.

The defeated president has spent the last two months stoking the fires of anarchy by making false claims of voter fraud and a delusional win. It was as if he were channeling the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, tapping his ruby red loafers together and chanting, “There’s no place like the White House, there’s no place like the White House…” in hopes of making it his forever home.

But the majority of voters already had served him an eviction notice, his denial notwithstanding.

Biden’s victory was assured despite the hourslong procedural delay in Congress when rioters breached the Capitol.

But there were other victories Wednesday championed by unlikely actors.

Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — both staunch allies of Trump throughout his presidency, in the end rebuked his power play, standing firm on their oaths to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

When America came under attack from within, these two men along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other members of Congress bravely executed their duty of certifying the electoral votes. In doing so, they made it clear that terrorists would not win the day.

Unyielding, democracy rose to victory on one of the saddest days in our nation’s history. It was assured by the acts of the courageous, those who as John Kennedy put it, did what they must “in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures…”

We are forever grateful.

Susan Duncan is the editor of the News and Tribune. Reach her at

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