Vast majority of protesters were peaceful

Ty Helgenberger of Rockport met friends from across the nation in Washington, DC Wednesday, Jan. 6 to show his support for President Trump and to support election integrity. He said the media didn’t cover the thousands of peaceful demonstrators, many of which corralled disruptive individuals for law enforcement on site. Helgenberger said he didn’t cross any barriers, and was there only to peacefully show his support.

Like everyone (hopefully), I was appalled by the actions of a very small percentage of demonstrators that descended on Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Jan. 6 and stormed the U.S. Capitol. Those who broke laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Now pause.

One of the single best lines I’ve heard since that terrible event in our nation’s history, which overshadowed the protected actions of thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Washington, D.C. that day, was an individual on cable news who said something to the tune of, “What our country needs right now is for someone to flip the master switch in the breaker box and turn everything off.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that?

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen because the poison of politics seems to taint every action and/or reaction nowadays.

We are at a point in this country where very few people, anywhere along the political spectrum, can honestly look at themselves and recognize their part in bringing our great country to its proverbial knees.

As I wrote in this space recently, before the events of Jan. 6, we will survive this, but if we don’t, no single event in our past can be pointed to as the cause of the turmoil we collectively face. If we don’t survive, will it really matter who was at fault?

Step back a moment and think about how the anarchy began on streets in cities across our nation because an unnamed percentage of Black Americans felt they were disenfranchised, or treated unjustly.

The population of the United States is approximately 330 million, with 13.4% identifying as Black. That means there are roughly 44,220,000 Blacks in the United States.

The number of Trump voters in the November 2020 election totaled roughly 74,000,000, or about 22.5% of the population, and represented a little less than half that votes cast.

Now, take an imaginary trip way up in the sky and look down on what I just said.

If one takes the stance that individuals - other than those responsible for carrying out the carnage, rioting, burning, and looting of businesses, overthrowing sections of cities, and setting siege on government buildings etc. – are responsible, then shouldn’t individuals who helped instigate those actions, including Democratic elected officials (i.e. Rep. Maxine Waters), musicians (i.e. Madonna), and Hollywood types (i.e. – Johnny Depp), be in legal trouble, as well?

There is no doubt in my mind that a certain percentage of Blacks feel the way the news was portrayed on the airwaves, in newspapers, and social media this summer.

However, all Blacks do not feel the same way.

Just as those who felt Blacks were disenfranchised had every right to demonstrate, so did the Trump supporters who marched on Washington last week.

If you blame Trump for any of the carnage, then you must also blame someone, other than the actual people who carried out illegal actions this past summer.

If everything is Trump’s fault, then all should be perfectly splendid come January 20, but we all know that will not be the case. We are deeply divided and that division will not cease if all sides refuse to budge.

In the rioting, looting, and arson cases this past summer, there were bad actors imbedded within lawful demonstrators that caused all the mayhem, and they wrote the summer’s headlines.

The same is true about last Wednesday’s carnage at our nation’s Capitol.

In all cases, those who cause mayhem should face the consequences.

In all cases, those who don’t break the law should not be belittled because of the color of their skin, or their political affiliation.

We will never exit this quagmire we’re in if we can’t, as a people, agree that we are a nation of laws, and there has to be equal consequences for breaking the law.

The laws of our land should not pertain to only certain groups, regardless of how those groups are defined.

The quest for power in Washington, regardless of side, is the fuel that continues to stoke the fires in our streets, as well as in our hearts.

Like the cool illusionist on stage, the politicians act with sleight of hand, as we are lured in another direction.

If we can’t come together as Americans, and dramatically lower the temperature when we disagree, we don’t stand a chance.

The United States has lasted longer than any “quasi-democracy” in history, but we are on the path of destruction from within, which will only be exploited by forces outside our borders.

If the bitter hate doesn’t subside, we will pass the point of no return and can only look at our own actions, starting with the snubbing of law and order, and not treating our fellow man as equals in the eyes of God.

As far as politics go, Democrats have to figure out which faction is going to run the show, and Republicans have to find a new leader because Trump is damaged after the gauntlet faced the past four years. However, the populist movement he led will not fade anytime soon.

The day political parties put aside their narrowly focused desire for power, and work for equal opportunities for all, will be the day our national healing begins.

We can not move forward, and our slow death will continue, as long as political maneuvering to win a political battle fuels every decision.

Where’s my vaccination?

Our office has received many calls about where one can receive his or her vaccination.

The simple answer is, at any given time, “I don’t know.”

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations reminds me of the days immediately after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

There was little communication, and nobody new exactly where to find needed aid.

As days and weeks passed, traditional methods of communication were resurrected, and most people started receiving the information they needed.

I imagine the same thing will happen regarding vaccine distribution.

I plan to take the vaccine when made available to me. I have no idea when that will be, and quite honestly, I’m not really worried about it.

There are many elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions in our county and I hope they receive the vaccination first.

In the near future, the system for distributing the limited amount of vaccine doses made available locally, will become clear.

Just as in the days after Harvey, focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, not the storm we just passed.

It will give you a bit more peace of mind.

Until next week, have a good week.

Mike Probst can be reached at

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