There were five words my mother used that could put a stop to any unruly childish behavior.
“We don’t act like that.”
While the message was clear, the key word was the two-character pronoun used to ignite the sentence.
It was a reminder that our behavior — be it brawling in the backyard with a brother or throwing a temper tantrum in a local store — was a reflection on our entire family.
The way we conducted ourselves, especially in public, was representative of our genealogical tree — or at least a branch of it.
Kids, parents, grandparents and more.
Was a hissy fit over a toy at the popular Hills store worth embarrassment to the collective clan?
Last week West Virginians once again viewed the actions of a state delegate behaving badly.
Recently elected House member Derrick Evans, R-Wayne, livestreamed a video showing himself and others breaking into the U.S. Capitol.
The mob scene, which transfixed the nation and the world, came after President Donald Trump riled up protesters on the day of certification of Electoral College results.
Trump was unable to concede defeat in a gentlemanly, courteous manner. So, instead, he egged on protestors to engage in an illegal storming of government property.
Meanwhile, much of the rest of America watched in astonishment and shame.
How many times have I sighed and rolled my eyes at the antics of so-called lawmakers in countries across the globe?
I am sure readers have seen the videos.
Fist fights in governmental meetings. Name calling. Shouting matches. An occasional skirmish that lead to a wrestling match.
Each time I witnessed such actions I would say a silent thank you for being a resident of the good ol’ U.S.A.
A place where we don’t act like that.
Delegate Evans’ behavior was shameful — as a citizen and, especially, an elected representative.
In a criminal complaint filed Jan. 6 at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Evans was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. Evans was also charged with violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
In the complaint, filed by FBI Special Agent David J. DiMarco, it states Evans traveled to Washington D.C. on or about Jan. 6 “and knowingly and willfully joined and encouraged a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol and impeded, disrupted and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United state House of Representatives and the United States Senate.”
DiMarco states that Evans streamed live from his Facebook page a video depicting him “joining and encouraging a crowd unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol.”
Evans “identifies himself by first and last name during the recorded video capturing the offense,” DiMarco said in the complaint. Later, about 28 seconds into the video, “Evans shouts, ‘There we go! Open the door!’”
Evans then begins to chant, ‘Our house! Our house!’”
About 40 seconds into the video, according to the complaint, “Evans states, ‘We’re at the door now. There’s cops on the inside stopping us now.’”
Those are powerful words.
Because it is, indeed, our house — mine, yours and every other citizen of America.
Personally, I don’t want to see my house vandalized or burglarized or pillaged by angry marauders.
I prefer civility to mob mentality.
This is not a partisan column. It is not about left or right. Conservative or liberal.
It is about right and wrong.
When protests erupted in 2020 they were a constitutional protected, First Amendment freedom. Americans have the right to peaceably assemble.
When some of those protests devolved into rioting, looting and arson, they became illegal acts.
No justifications. No excuses.
Right and wrong.
The same holds true for last’s week’s protest-turned carnage.
People died last year and they died in D.C.
How can anyone involved in any of these actions take a high ground on ethical behavior?
We are better than this.
We can disagree with one another politically, but we should do so politely and respectfully.
And, most importantly, legally.
As I watch our great nation devolve into chaos, I can’t help but think that Mom would be embarrassed.
Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @BDTPerry.