Ross: Leaders only have power if people choose to follow them

Apr 15, 2022, 8:06 AM | Updated: 10:28 am
(Getty Images)...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Dustin Thompson, who was part of the mob that ransacked the Senate parliamentarian’s office, was found guilty this week on all six counts against him, including felony obstruction of Congress.

Thompson’s defense was that he’d been traumatized by losing his job a year earlier, and as the pandemic closed in, he doused himself with a firehose of pro-Trump propaganda, and because of that indoctrination, when the president on January 6 told the crowd to “fight like hell,” he took it as an order to attack the Capitol as Congress was counting the votes.

But the jury rejected that excuse, and after the guilty verdict, the judge piled on.

District Court Judge Reggie Walton (and before you ask – he’s a Republican appointee) called Trump a “charlatan” who had “duped supporters into believing the election was stolen.”

I know! Harsh, right?

He then described Thompson, the defendant, as “weak minded” and “gullible,” but said that as gullible as he was, he should have been able to separate Trump’s claims from reality.

Then the judge told the guards to take Thompson directly to jail.

So, according to this judge, even gullible people have a personal responsibility to figure out what the truth is! That would make sense coming from a Republican appointee, because I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard conservative talk hosts demand personal responsibility.

This judge is saying you need to take personal responsibility not only for your actions, but for who you choose to believe.

And before you ask: yes – I think that should go for anybody who uses a street demonstration as an excuse to liberate sneakers, televisions, or bottles of liquor, or to decorate a retaining wall.

If you’re the type who gets caught up in the moment, then you have a responsibility to stay home and avoid the moment altogether.

One more thing: There seems to be some concern among prosecutors that by holding defendants personally responsible for their actions on that day, it might absolve Trump. But that doesn’t bother me.

Leaders only have power if people choose to follow. As the saying goes, a leader without followers is just some guy out for a walk. Moreover, the ultimate check and balance on power isn’t the court system, and it isn’t the legislature. It’s when the followers are smart enough to know when to stop following.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Dave Ross

Ross: Trump’s post-indictment popularity shows character no longer counts

It finally happened – not only was Donald Trump indicted, he was very indicted, in hindsight, none of it was necessary.
2 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Where are all the pro-life activists trying to stop school shootings?

There is one group that has been silent in all this, the pro-life activists who pushed to overturn Roe v Wade.
3 days ago
Nashville shooting...
Dave Ross

Ross: After the Nashville shooting, is this finally enough?

This is another case where all the guns were legally purchased. Yet gun sellers can legally refuse to sell. So where’s the no-buy list?
4 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: We need to trick the wealthy into wanting to pay the capital gains tax

As the reality of the capital gains tax sets in, we’re seeing pushback from the wealthy. So, I proposed that idea to our 'tax whisperer.'
5 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Oh no, the capital gains tax could downgrade my yacht purchase

It’s humiliating! I’d have to settle for the Majesty 100 yacht. Now instead of 180 feet, I have to shoehorn my guests into 100 feet?
6 days ago
Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Helping others through loss with empathy, care, and memory

Death, loss, and grief are hard things, so when we see others dealing with them sometimes our instinct is to turn away.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Ross: Leaders only have power if people choose to follow them