The scenes from D.C. last week were unimaginable until they were real.
The aftermath has left us reeling, questioning what happened, why and what's next for our country.
This week, talk of impeachment and the 25th Amendment swirls. Following the attack and deaths at the Capitol, the National Park Service closed the Washington Monument until after the inauguration of Joe Biden next week. And states are bracing for what federal authorities are suggesting could be protests — or worse — at state capitals next week.
But an unlikely messenger emerged. Who would have thought that the horrific violence the country witnessed would have us applauding Conan the Barbarian as he delivered a timely history lesson?
"I grew up in Austria very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass," Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a video posted on his Twitter account Sunday. "It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.
"Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol, but the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. They shattered the ideas we took for granted."
The video had been viewed 33.5 million times as of Monday afternoon. Schwarzenegger's history lesson should be required viewing for all Americans.
Sure, the man has had an A-list Hollywood career and was the California governor for eight years. He became a global star, as he vowed to return as "The Terminator," begged to be killed by a "Predator" and was a cancer expert — "It's not a tumor" — as a "Kindergarten Cop."
But his message Sunday was better than any of his blockbusters.
He recalled Teddy Roosevelt's definition of patriotism, affirmatively choosing country over presidents, our nation's legacy rather than its leader.
Arnold came to this country with such little command of English that executives dubbed over his lines in his motion picture debut half a century ago, but his words Sunday were 100% American.
He referenced a public servant's heart. And he's right, but we as Americans must require more from our leaders, and we must eternally remember that they work for us.
All of us.
Arnold's was a message delivered with passion and a plea for healing that applies not only to Republicans or Democrats but to all of us.
It's an important message, both now and as we look for reasons to hope for better days.
I believe we will, and to paraphrase his most famous movie line, we will be back.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.