For at least a decade I have been writing about the escalation of unconstitutional behavior by the Republicans, and by unconstitutional I mean behavior that went beyond normal legislative battles and our usual political scrum
I don’t think I caught the very beginnings, but by the time I tuned in even someone like me, out here in the cheap seats in America, could see that things were getting a bit extreme. Glenn Beck’s rants about Obama told the story, the ones where he mentioned Hitler and Obama in the same sentence over 140 times according to a count by a journalist at The Washington Post. Rush Limbaugh talked to truckers through the long dark nights helping them express their anger over the employment and pension changes that had put hard-working middle class Americas at a sudden disadvantage, with, according to Limbaugh (and O’Reilly and Levin) minorities and then foreigners taking their jobs, and illegal immigrants taking their benefits, and Democrats to blame for all of it, because unions.
We watched the rise of the Tea Partiers indignant about deadbeats (also hyped by talk radio) using precious tax dollars and yet not paying any taxes; gaming the system so that they did not have to work, riding on the tattered coattails of the middle class. Then we watched the rise of rude behavior in Congress, Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham, interfering in House business, purposely mocking the business of government and those elected to govern; his disrespectful ‘crew’ acting like “Merry Pranksters” drowning the establishment in farce.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, when GOP legislators got the court to drop the preclearance section, the section that made states who had suppressed black votes clear changes to voting with the courts, voter suppression began in earnest. Obstruction had already become the overweening Republican strategy. The entire goal of the party seemed to be to prevent Democrats from getting elected in enough places that Republicans would be able to maintain control of the federal government.
From those days to the present day Republicans have stuck to these same derogatory and obstructive strategies and more. The reason there are so many all red states, with Republican governments and legislatures is because Republicans wooed them and won them. How much of a role did white supremacy play in their success? Hard to say; easy to guess.
This has been a ‘take no prisoners’ party for some time. They have taught frustrated Americans to blame Democrats, to demonize Democrats, to ‘own’ Democrats and they intend to destroy the Democratic Party completely. They are so close.
But, look what they have to do to make it so. They have to use hate, racism, misogyny, jealousy. The Republicans have to destroy democracy in the process, trash the republic they pretend to be protecting. They have to ignore rising violence. They have to love a President who did not have the least clue or desire to stop a pandemic from ravaging the nation. They have to act like insurrection is no big deal, and that there is nothing to see here.
Were there any Republican Senators who had to take shelter in the Senate as an armed mob rattled the doors and broke the windows and eventually cavorted in the well of the Senate, or were only Democrats terrorized? How can they pretend that insurrection doesn’t matter?
Their allies are millionaires and billionaires, corporate CEO’s and Evangelical big wigs who want to keep the oil and gas flowing, the oil and gas that lines their pockets with more and more money in order to help them win the big prize of being at the top of the Forbes list of richest men. They want to keep oil and gas flowing because they are too old and too unimaginative to picture how new forms of energy could be just as profitable.
Here we are then, what is one frightening insurrection fomented by a lame duck President who doesn’t want to lose his power and a few radical legislators who will act like they have done nothing wrong? Apparently it is nothing if you are a Republican.
Still, we wonder will one insurrection lead to another? Is all that anger gone in just one heady day of mayhem?
We are trying to reboot a saner government, but when only one party is trying we may fail. What will our country become if Biden fails? Clearly he will get no help from any Republicans. What can he do so that his actions won’t fail? The Republican message is very clear. So, we have to keep asking, can one party, very effectively obstructed by another political party, make headway that will strengthen our democracy/republic enough to save it, or will we become whatever it is that the Republicans want us to become.
They will not even change their course in the face of insurrection; of being attacked in their own safe spaces. It all has to do with their long term plan and they can taste victory. We all saw the disinformation campaign and the incitements happening in real time, and yet we could not stop the brainwashing. Can we deprogram those who were stirred up to commit mayhem and can we do it now at this crucial moment? Will Republicans really go so far as to embrace insurrection?
( I have written about this escalating anti-democratic behavior in my books Loving America to Death by N. L. Brisson available on Amazon.)
This is an excerpt from Part 2 of a Trumpian Fantasy that is set in the future (2028).
Where Are We?
When the army helicopter landed in the officer’s compound at Guantánamo, the Trump family seemed dazed. They relieved Donald of the strait jacket, which the 10 th Army Division had told him was needed to protect him from Antifa. He wandered around the landing area like the bewildered old man that he was. The meds they gave him to keep him calm when they removed the strait jacket had kicked in and contributed to his disorientation. But, thankfully, he was docile.
Melania moved off in the opposite direction from Donald, turning in a slow circle to take in their surroundings. The helicopter had already lifted off. Ivanka’s movements inscribed that same slow circle as Melania’s. Jared was trailing after Donald, and Barron was trying to get his phone to work but could not find even one bar. These were the only family members at the Southern White House when the “rescue” took place. The question “where are we” was written on every face? The flight had not been long.
Clearly they were in a walled compound, and that made it hard to tell where they had been set down. There were few geographical clues. After wandering a bit, the family could see that there were buildings if you wandered away from the wall. The buildings were obviously the sorts of buildings the US military builds on bases around the world. The buildings nearest the landing platform looked utilitarian with some personnel barracks off to one side. There were golf carts nearby. There were palm trees and the air was moist and tropical. Perhaps they were simply in another part of Florida.
Someone dressed as secret service appeared on his own golf cart. He told the family to follow him and he would give them a tour of the compound. They set out in their separate golf carts in parade formation down the main road that divided the buildings. It was hot and humid. The roads were made of concrete so that melting tar would not be a problem.
Their guide drove around the perimeter, which was a long drive, and stopped at the recreational facilities where there were tennis courts, and a swimming pool visible in the distance. He drove around an abbreviated 9-hole golf course. After checking out the amenities they traveled back towards the landing pad. The guide turned down the tree-lined main road, traveling straight ahead rather than turning left to trace the perimeter. Eventually, he pulled up in front of a pair of buildings obviously built to house officers. He dropped Ivanka and Jared off at the smaller house and then left the Trump family at the door of the larger building.
The family had tried to pepper their guide with questions but his answers were surprisingly slippery. He never did tell them where this compound was located or why it had been built. He didn’t have any idea where their belongings were, if or when they might arrive. He never would discuss why they seemed to be the only people here. Donald repeated often that he was the President of United States and people did not keep secrets from him. He demanded that the uniformed man answer his questions but all his allies were gone. He was only one old man with his useless son-in-law, both unarmed; his only tool the imperious voice Trump had learned to wield when his power was absolute.
“Donald”, said Melania petulantly. Let’s just go in that building for now. I am hot, I am thirsty, I am hungry, and I am tired. There must be a staff in there to take care of us.”
Donald did not answer but he began to move in the direction of the front door to which a White House style portico had been added. They kept expecting a butler to appear to welcome them. When that did not happen Barron finally opened the door. The cool air that escaped lifted their spirits. Baron led his befuddled parents into a foyer centered by a round pedestal table topped with an enormous fake floral arrangement and resting on a Turkish-style carpet. Off to the side was a line of hooks for outdoor accessories and a thick absorbent mat for wet footwear.
They wandered further into the dwelling and came across the living room, large and very beige. The couches were comfortable and expensive looking. There were three couches and four matching chairs. Various tables were arrayed around the walls of this very large room and held lamps and a few unartistic items of décor. The sofas faced a line of patio doors that could be left open at rare cool moments. The pool was on the far side of the patio. Trump sat on a sofa and waited to see if any staff would appear. Melania continued to explore, wandering towards a dining area and an enormous chef’s kitchen. Barron trailed along behind Melania. He opened the refrigerator and found bottles of water.
“Mom, do you want a water?” Barron asked.
“Oh sure, honey.” Melania answered, although she was distracted by the absence of any kitchen staff.
When they returned to the living room Trump was beginning to come out of his docile state.
“Did you find anyone to make a meal or bring us some food?” Donald asked. “Why isn’t there any TV? Why doesn’t my phone work?
Donald was getting agitated and cranky. Melania told him she would bring him some water and quickly exited the living room. It began to dawn on her that she might be expected to cook. She knew how to cook but she did not want to take on that role without putting up a fight. She was, after all, the First Lady.
Fortunately, Barron had already investigated what the freezer had to offer and he had microwaved some pizza snacks which he was happily eating. Melania stole one from the stash and gave him a little grin. She ate half and set it down on the table. She wasn’t quite hungry enough for pizza snacks yet. So, she grabbed another water bottle for Trump and returned to the living room where she sank into a chair as far from Donald as possible.
“Something’s not right,” Donald stated. Well, that was obvious even to Melania who said nothing. “What happened that we needed to be protected from? Where are all our Secret Service people? Why isn’t this place staffed?” Donald rose from his seat on the sofa and started to pace the room, his mood escalating towards anger. He would begin venting at any moment and then move on to a massive temper tantrum which might cause a mini stroke. Melania was getting worried. There were no doctors here. Where were Donald’s meds?
Melania said, “Donald, I think we need to go find the bedrooms and unpack those overnight bags that they had the staff pack for us. Then we should go to the kitchen and maybe make a sandwich or something and just go to bed until morning. By then the rest of our belongings and our staff may have caught up with us.”
Presenting Donald with a plan seemed to short circuit his impending rant, for now. The bedrooms were on the second level and each bedroom had its own bathroom. Donald took the one that seemed most palatial, perhaps intended for the base commander. Melania took one closest to the stairs and the elevator. The rooms were also beige with army green blankets on the beds, but they were nicely furnished, had good-sized closets, and the bathrooms, while not designer spas, had everything necessary for comfort. Donald and Melania had not shared a bedroom in quite some time so this arrangement would not seem odd to Barron who must, at this moment, still be in the kitchen.
Melania appeared in her husband’s bedroom and unpacked his overnight bag. Just as she thought. There were his meds. As in a hotel there were glasses on the dresser and an ice bucket. There was also a mini fridge filled with water bottles. She collected his pills in the palm of her hand, grabbed a water bottle, and he absent-mindedly swallowed the pills. The army personnel on the helicopter had given her a small number of tranquillizers in case they were needed. Melania had added one of these pills to the others. After distributing the contents of the overnight bag around Trump’s room she took his hand and led him off towards the kitchen.
When they got to the kitchen Barron was already there. Ivanka and Jared were also there. Everyone was sitting around the large granite island in the center of the kitchen but nothing had been done about dinner.
“You know these doors don’t lock,” said Jared. “I guess with the 20-foot walls around this place locks are unnecessary.”
“Is it possible that we’re prisoners?” asked Ivanka.
Melania looked at Ivanka and lifted her carefully penciled eyebrows, tilting her head slightly towards Donald. But the tranquillizer had kicked in and Ivanka’s father was tuned out.
“Let’s talk about that later,” said Melania as she opened the big double doored stainless-steel refrigerator. “I think we should just have sandwiches tonight and then get sleep.”
The refrigerator was not full but it held a few staples. There was some cola for starters so Melania poured Donald some in a glass she found in a cupboard. Someone had left them a fresh-baked loaf of bread in the pantry, a small room next to the stove. There was deli meat-both turkey and beef, along with lettuce and tomatoes and mayonnaise. Melania placed all of these things on the counter. Everyone else was just sitting there waiting to be served.
“Ivanka, get some plates and silverware please. Jared, find a board to cut things on and a sharp knife, not too big. Barron, you just ate. Do you want a sandwich also?” Melania said all this with a bit of a scowl. When she married Trump, she had thought she was done with kitchens. But everyone jumped up in satisfying fashion and hustled to do the chores they were given.
Soon they were cutting bread and tomatoes, slathering mayo on bread and building their sandwiches. Donald seemed to be somewhere else.
“What’s wrong with Dad,” asked Ivanka.
“The man who brought us here gave me some extra pills for your father. He was upset so I gave him one. He can’t have a stroke right now, there is no doctor here, our phones don’t work, we don’t even know where we are.” Melania was usually pretty silent. This was a long speech for her.
Barron made his father a sandwich and Donald did focus enough to eat it. “I’ll clean up,” Barron said and got a grateful smile from his mom. Barron, at 22, should not even be here, but he had been home on a visit from graduate school and got scooped up with the rest of the family. He seemed pretty calm considering.
“We can’t stay here without the children,” Ivanka complained. Why are we all here in this godforsaken place anyway? What will happen to us?”
“Maybe we’ll get some answers tomorrow when they bring our belongings. Let’s go try to get some sleep,” said Jared.
You might want to check out Part 1 of this Trumpian Fantasy, 2028: The Rebellion
This morning on Meet the Press Chuck Todd asked his panel, “Will this be a functional bipartisan government?” It was his feeling that we would know in eight days. Sadly, I think, if we listen to what Republicans are saying we already know the answer and the answer is no. Republicans do not like Biden’s plan to rescue Americans from this “COVID” economy nor do they agree that an infusion of money is necessary to keep the American economy afloat until we can vaccinate enough people to reopen safely. They are livid that Biden has included a boost in the minimum wage and they contest that this will ruin each of their particular red states. They are pointing to the deficit once again. They did not lose enough seats in the Senate or the House to feel a threat to their “putsch” for power.
On that same politics-round-table this morning, where the round table has become a zoom meeting, Todd also asks if we had to choose what Biden should prioritize, would we want him to go “big and bold” or stick to “bipartisanship?” Other talk shows were highlighting the same choices.
If Republicans persist in obstruction of Democratic priorities, should we end the filibuster rules and make every item subject to a simple majority vote? The reason Democrats keep hesitating to scrap the filibuster is that doing so may work against them at some future moment in time. Do we live for today? Are we at an existential moment when policy decisions will matter enough to buck tradition, and perhaps hurt us in the next election which is only two years away. Which way will the scales tip?
From the things we are already hearing Senate Republicans say we should hold out almost no hope for bipartisanship. Keep your eyes on them. If you are happy to have them simply hold the current line until they regain power in two years or four years then you will have to give some things up, like a better rollout of vaccinations, like opening up our economy, like getting kids back in school, like making it through these tough financial times without ending up on the streets or living in your car. When that eviction order ends, and you can lose the apartment you call home because you are unable to pay all your back rent, will you be glad that you chose the Republican way?
Biden knows and likes many of the most moderate Republican figures, many of whom are not politicians, but are writers and professionals who are married to Conservatism. The Democratic Party is paying far more attention to ex-Republicans who helped Biden win than they are to the Progressives who know where the party needs to go in the future. Conservatives did not stop being conservative when they stopped being Republicans. David Brooks is not really with us, nor Jennifer Rubin, nor David Frum, Michael Steele. I have come to appreciate all of these people, but not their conservatism. Conservatism has not served America well. Conservatism harbored racism in its bosom as long as the racists kept relatively silent. Will these “nice” Conservatives steer the Biden agenda, or will Democrats assert themselves and help Biden do those big and bold things America needs so badly right now. He doesn’t even have to go full-on Progressive to go big right now. Democrats know what America needs to do. Tap into some of those memes on Facebook and build party confidence. Proudly take the stage and govern. Show no empathy for those who have to sink to conspiracy theories to demonize the party. Let success change their minds.
Democrats are relieved and ready to accept far less drama in our politics. The spectacle of that domestic insurrection that seemed intent on overturning our government as we know it has helped us, like opening a pressure valve keeps a kitchen pot from exploding, but the pressure will build again and Republican obstruction will feed it. Keep your eyes on them. The fever for power is still alive and well in them.
If the Democrats accept obstruction and accomplish little or nothing they will be blamed. Americans are not very subtle about their politics. Those who say that first the Democrats must win on their issues and second they must trumpet their wins, own their wins, use their wins to win again are perhaps offering the best advice. And there are only two years before the next election so it all has to happen fast. Whether things can turn around enough in two years remains to be seen. VP Harris, President Biden needs your counsel; advise him well and prod him to be the somewhat progressive voice America needs right now. Right now Biden seems on fire, but can he make that fire burn beyond the Oval Office?
Ousting Donald Trump is just the first step in restoring American sanity. Either the Republicans help govern or they also must go. Right now they are still the party of insurrection. Democrats can’t have gone through all this just to let the Republicans take back the con in two years.
This weekend the AFL-CIO held a convention for Martin Luther King day, which is actually being celebrated on Monday, January 19 this year. The keynote address was given by Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP. There were plenty of references to MLK’s dreams and what he would think about the progress that has been made. The union wanted to celebrate the important roles women were taking on in unions, and they wanted to honor the incredible work of unions, working with Stacey Abrams and others in turning out votes that allowed two earnest citizen Democrats to win out over two wealthy Republicans who were favored to win. It has been a Davida – Goliath story which has changed the power equations in Washington. This win, as we know, removes Mitch McConnell from his high position as Majority Leader of the Senate, a perch he has used to allow Washington to operate as essentially a one-party system: one party with some pretty strange ideas about democracy and governance.
I was invited because I have written a number of times in favor of unions and I am still a union member, paying dues to United University Professions, part of NYS United Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO. I understand how extraordinary it is to see women, and minority women, so involved and active in unions. These women have done their due diligence for their unions for years and have risen to positions of power within their unions where almost no African American or other minority women or even white women could have been found even a decade ago.
Unions are unpopular in these years following the Great Factory Migration. Republicans broadcast a message that blamed. increasingly greedy requests by union members for salary increases and benefits for driving corporations first south and then out of America to China, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and even Russia.
The campaigns conducted after World War II against communism and in favor of capitalism finally succeeded in planting capitalism, if not democracy, in nations that had found communism an inadequate economic driver. Once these markets opened, the lure of cheap labor and new consumers deserved far more blame for the migration of our factories than unions did.
What Republicans really hated about unions is how they favored Democrats and the great success they had turning out the vote for Democrats. Republicans decided to run a propaganda campaign to demonize unions, thus robbing Democrats of votes. Robbing Democrats of votes has been an all-consuming and very creatively conducted strategy used by Republicans to hold on to power as they became a party without majority support in America. This drive to suppress certain votes has been one of the policies which has helped twist the Republican Party into the inauthentic, conspiracy-riddled mess that elected and hung on to Trump. Republicans despise unions, and they have driven many Americas to feel the same way, thus the success of ‘right to work’ laws.
Many ask, now that our corporations have fled, if unions are even relevant. If you keep track of the support that unions have offered minority workers and women in the work force you would understand that unions have found work, even though the dynamics of that work has changed.
I worked for many years in a program that grew out of LBJ’s War on Poverty and the civil rights movement. The program still operates in inner cities and on college campuses. It’s called the Educational Opportunity Program, the urban centers are EOCs. It was designed to be affiliated with SUNY colleges giving its faculty the status of college professors and its job was to provide a pathway to success in college for adult students who saw that more education might benefit their families or even just their own personal fortunes.
Since there was no SUNY college in my city, my EOC got shifted from one inappropriate entity to another and finally ended up connected with a rural college miles away. A succession of college presidents at this two-year college refused to accept our faculty as equal members of their staff. Some of the problem can be laid at the feet of an exaggerated elitism because the college was a two-year college instead of a four-year university. Some of the problem can be ascribed to racism. This is racism I might never have experienced as a white person. But it did enlighten me about the racial discrimination even educated African Americans or other minorities faced, in even our supposedly enlightened colleges and universities.
As I fought along with a very supportive union to win the same treatment afforded to EOC faculty assigned to four-year colleges I learned how humiliating elitism and racism can be. Our faculty files were stored with our parent college, but they were made available to us on occasion at our center. We were allowed to make copies. After I copied my records the President of the college accused me of altering my records. This was a tactic to discredit me because I was being too tenacious. The issue arose because when our program became a year-round instead of school year program we never had an increase in pay. I asked the union to either increase our pay or give us summers off. In the end I won, but it was a demoralizing fight and it took a toll on me.
Attending a virtual conference is a lot like attending an in-person conference except you can go in your pajamas, you don’t get served a lunch on white tablecloths with crisp napkins and there is none of the buzzy chatter of colleagues visiting. But you still have keynotes and you still have break-out groups. It was a piece of normal and a piece of the new normal seeing all these women who have leading positions in the nation’s unions. One woman was the head of the Steel Worker’s union. Very cool.
I missed the closing speech but I was back for the awards. The first award of the AFL-CIO at this conference entitled ‘From Protest to Power’ was our heroine Stacey Abrams who tirelessly organized to deliver the two Senators who put Democrats in the majority in the Senate. Stacey Abrams is a capable and warm presence, with a smile that you can’t wait to see. This was a reward well-deserved. The rest of the awards all went to organizers in Georgia. Fair Count whose motto is ‘we are not 3/5’ won an award, as did a group called Georgia: Stand Up led by Debra Scott who likes to say, ‘this is not just a moment, it’s a movement’, Nsé Ufot for the New Georgia Project, and Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. The Justice, Peace and Freedom Award went to the Labor Coalition for Community Action. Latino women were well represented at this conference also. To sum up the conference projected this message:
Sometimes it all gets confusing, contemporary politics I mean. Emotions get all mixed up with facts and I begin to doubt my stands on the issues. The aftermath of the violence at the US Capitol showed Americans who are convinced that they are the true patriots and that Donald Trump is the answer to all their questions. They are passionate and willing to look absolutely ridiculous dressed as comic book heroes. They must have known they would be arrested. They must have been willing to take the risk. But in my heart of hearts, I am convinced that they are wrong about everything.
Are Democrats demons married to the stock market, elitists who only care about money? I always believe that it is Republicans who fit this mold. Many Americans feel that both parties are corrupt and need to morph or die. Republicans may have once been a party of reform, the party of abolition, the party of women’s rights, but they have not filled any of those roles since the sixties.
There are wealthy Democrats, but the party also has worked to wage war on poverty and has backed programs to foster equality such as Head Start and Educational Opportunity Programs. Republicans argue that these programs did not make the differences they were intended to make, but Republicans also added hoops people had to jump through because they were worried about cheating. How much did the extra bureaucracy affect the outcomes?
My experience tells me that Democrats are not as married to money and economics as Republicans are. Democrats are Socialists these Trumpers say. The name calling starts. Which is worse: to be a Socialist or to be a Fascist/Neo Nazi? Being a Socialist is about equality. Being a fascist is about using physical threats to force people to comply with your wishes. Being a Nazi is about believing that skin color determines worth, or being a Christian determines worth, and everyone who is not white or not Christian is fair game for isolation or extinction. Even if Democrats do embrace elements of Socialism, that still seems preferable to what these Trump folks are espousing. I’ll take Medicare for All over forced labor any day. I’ll take alternative energy over turning all the beautiful places on this earth into oil wells or fracking operations for natural gas extraction.
We can see signs all around us that we are killing the earth wherever we live, and so many animal species. We can be the dead conquerors of the planet, plunder the earth for money which is a man-made resource that we stockpile at our risk. You can’t eat money. You can’t drink money. Right now, money will buy you food and drink, but if we turn earth into a wasteland money will be useless. So again, I throw my lot in with those who think mankind can do things to reverse man’s negative effects on our planet. Republicans do not believe this.
Republicans, Evangelicals, and some Catholics have decided that the right of a woman to end an unwanted pregnancy is a deal breaker. They define it as murder and they say that makes it a crime. But I still want women to have control over their own bodies. I still contend that no one is forced to have an abortion and that the freedom of religion our documents promise us makes it possible to have differing beliefs in this matter. If this right was not being opposed so rabidly, I would not even see this as one of our society’s big issues. These judgmental men and women are not God. They are humans who simply think they have some kind of access to God’s will that the rest of us do not have.
I don’t believe that there is a cabal of child traffickers, although I do believe there are men who traffic children. I just don’t believe they all belong to one worldwide organization, and I see this as a remnant of older tastes that arose from cultures of extreme male domination. I don’t believe that either Republicans or Democrats are part of such a cabal, although individuals in either party may be child traffickers. All the horrors of this world were invented by humans and may always be with us.
If it is true that some people are using the environmental guidelines of Agenda 21 and the even stronger guidelines of the Green New Deal already, I do not think the point of these activities is to turn humans into domestic animals whose behaviors are controlled by a climate dictatorship of some sort. This is what people who love Trump say he will save us from. He will save us from being herded into cities and into organic farming and other aspects of climate theory designed to make life on earth more sustainable. Authoritarianism is far more likely to result in mind control than a plan to sustain life on this planet.
It is entirely possible that Trump’s peeps are being used by billionaires and millionaires to keep the yachts full of dollars, and other currencies arriving at their offshore bank accounts. Do they realize that the end result of their efforts is that all of our noses will be glued to corporate grindstones in perpetuity or until earth becomes a blighted landscape which will not even support the lives of the billionaires and millionaires who insist that this must be the future of the world? Why? Surely we have more imagination than these people and are more far-sighted.
I read an article this morning about charismatic Christians who are sticking with their belief that God is on Trump’s side, that he is supposed to be the one to lead us. Who’s deluded; these people or me?
When I find my mind twisting, and my brain getting foggy and I hear these Trumpers and extremists making one iota of sense, I just sum up what they are defending using the same name calling techniques these folks use to remind myself of how wrong they are: the words I come up with are racists, white supremacists, egomaniacs, authoritarians, vigilantes, fascists, sadly mislead humans. Does that make me judgmental and inclined to feel superior? It could, but I don’t think it makes me the same as them. To me they are the dark side perhaps holding on to gas and oil to use for barter when the whole earth becomes whatever future Mad Max lives in. We must all fight for the light. If the light is ‘socialism,’ sustainability, accepting our diversity, fighting for economic floors, and human rights, then I am in. I am human, so I certainly could be wrong but still I define what the ‘light’ is to me, and I choose the ‘light’.
David Brooks has this article in today’s NYT about Evangelicals and Jan. 6, 2021
America is an amazing place. We are in the midst of a battle for control of our government, for living according to laws we accept as tradition, or throwing our history overboard to install an arriviste in a position of authoritarian rule in America. But if you look at our media you would never know this is an existential moment for our national governance. Life goes on. We discuss TV, movies, music. We gossip about our celebrities. We live in our COVID bubbles and privately mourn the deaths of thousands, the ruin of our economy, the closure of our favorite restaurant. But our emotions are so overexercised that we have difficulty distinguishing between what is possibly devastating and what is simply titillating.
Was Joy Behar rude to Megan McCain?
Justin Beiber’s new song “Holy” is great!
What is Justin Beiber doing on Shark Tank?
What was that guy in the Capitol riot/demonstration intending to do with those zip ties?
Is the revolution over?
Are we running out of oxygen?
Was Megan McCain rude to Joy Behar?
The mail is really running late isn’t it?
All these things are discussed by Americans with the same intensity every day, a reminder of how big America is in terms of geographical area, and how diverse it is. For politics we may break into two segments, but for daily amusements our disagreements are far less tribal. There seem to be no other nations except America these days. The rest of the world has just sort of disappeared.
America almost lost its collective mind without sports. Now withdrawal symptoms are soothed by watching college children risk getting the virus with possibly serious outcomes so we can see those college basketball games or football games or soccer games. These are young healthy people we reason. They’ll be fine. We limp along with professional sports contests that are cancelled or rescheduled more often than they are played. But America is gleeful and tranquillized. Our sports are back!
It seems likely that our government could change completely; that Trump’s troops could win out and he would govern once again, and America would hardly notice. If we all get vaccinated this will be even more true. Oh, our favorite restaurant reopened. Look, the real Academy Awards, in person, back on the red carpet. There will probably be a lot of political speeches but we’ll suffer through that. We can go to the movies again, in person. Movie theaters were in trouble before the pandemic and people will not save them in the long run, but they may go in droves at first, unless all the theaters are bankrupt. Terrorism at the movies – that will be a thing of the past. Maybe.
People will get the travel bug again and go cruising and driving and flying. Can’t wait, they all say. It will be difficult to make anyone take changes happening to earth’s environments seriously with all this normality happening. We are resilient. We are shallow people who enjoy our pleasures. Life will go on regardless of who is in the White House. Is this how we let 244 years of history slip through our fingers? After all, America will still seem the same in many ways (until it doesn’t). Can an entire nation blithely survive by simply ignoring serious things like pandemics and political coups as long as they can swim up to a bar? We might be the first nation in the history of the world to pull off anarchy. As long as the economy is doing well nothing else matters. What if you staged a revolution and no one noticed? We may find out.
Trump’s troops descend on the Capitol Building in Washington where the House and Senate were holding a ceremonial certification by Congress of the Electoral College votes. This is an on-going situation which news media is treating as a minor obstacle to the certification process.
The Senate was breached and protestors were knocking on Senator’s doors. There have been shots fired and there is talk of the National Guard.
Many of us would say that Trump called these folks out and the news people are asking that Trump demand that these people leave the Capitol which he is not doing. Trump, and this is not news, is feeding his ego with the Americans who he has asked for loyalty.
Protestors leaving the scene tell Martha Raddatz that they have every right to protest and that this is people’s House, which it is. Still it’s a violation of the principle of the “peaceful transfer of power.” Is this really America? How will this end?