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Speaking out: What price has our country paid?

Speaking out: What price has our country paid?


Last fall, The Bismarck Tribune ran several stories about vandalism that took place in Bismarck and Mandan. One suspect was arrested because the graffiti he painted across buildings in the downtown area was a word known to be associated with him. He will be held accountable for his crimes. The building owners, however, likely had to pay the price to remove the graffiti. Depending on your viewpoint, crimes like these are a nuisance or extremely disrespectful and damaging.

When I lived in Philly, I hopped in my Geo Tracker and drove down to Washington, D.C. It was my first time visiting the city and I was excited about it. I went by myself and drove the back roads all the way; avoiding the toll roads and taking in the scenery. It was early in the morning when I arrived in Washington. I got a sweet parking spot by the Washington Monument, got out and just stood there, taking it all in. It was awesome. “As the first president, Washington's superb leadership set the standard for each president that has succeeded him. The Washington Monument towers above the city that bears his name, serving as an awe-inspiring reminder of George Washington's greatness. The monument, like the man, stands in no one's shadow,” reads the description on It was George Washington who laid the first cornerstone marking where the nation’s Capitol would stand. That was in 1793.

By now, you have probably guessed where I am going with all of this. I tried to avoid writing about the assault on the national Capitol building last week but how could I? The building itself holds deep, symbolic meaning for our democracy, so intentionally damaging the structure itself is appalling. Vandalism does not describe it. And I have no words to describe the hundreds of (mostly) Trump supporters who broke in with the intent of overturning the election; even making death threats to congressional leaders. Five people died in this chaos. Trump takes no responsibility.

Currently, a warning has gone out to every state capital in our country that the same type of violence could be arriving there. Do we have people in our state capable of this? If we do, let them come out and show themselves, like the people who proudly filmed themselves and took selfies in the middle of the riot in Washington, D.C. Then we will know who you are and hold you accountable.

The taxpayers will pay the bill to repair our nation’s Capitol building. What price has our country paid for allowing a full four years of Trump’s presidency? Let there never be a monument to Trump.

The occasional musician, songwriter, comedian and traveler, Robert Dixon lives in Bismarck with his wife and has four grown children.


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