I imagine things were quiet there in DC first thing this morning, that the stink of the tear gas has cleared, that the spent shells were swept away overnight, and that all the Confederate and MAGA paraphernalia littering the Capitol was relegated to the dustbin (though I’m sure a few sympathizers pocketed some bits for posterity). I also imagine that there’s a lot of fevered, hushed talk about what to do – about you. Can we Article 25 him? Can we impeach him? As I noted yesterday, those options seem farfetched, but I hope you’re hearing the whispers (or really, screams), I hope their meaning is penetrating your shell at least a little bit.
Yesterday morning, first thing, before you spoke and before it was clear that you would be turning your supporters into a mob and that security would be so lax that all those belligerent, armed White people would end up with free rein of the Capitol, I wrote to you knowing that I’d probably have to replace it in light of whatever the day’s events were to be. This came to pass; I did need to write an entirely new letter, but what I said yesterday morning still holds and so I’m going to use it for today’s letter.
Here it is (early Jan. 6, 2021):
Oh, the loveliness of a few minutes of gloating. One can luxuriate in the calm relief and the not so noble giddiness of having bested one’s opponent(s). One can take nice deep breaths while consciously allowing one’s shoulders to drift back into their proper place, well away from one’s ears. And what a wonderful feeling it is to know that the Georgia wins are righteous wins – that they’ll go down in history as pivotal wins that helped to shore up democracy in the face of an insane, nihilistic, fascist onslaught perpetrated by you, your handlers, and your GOPP enablers.
Laura played a short audio clip from Twitter a little bit ago of a straight couple in DC to support you and I will say, they both sounded as though they truly, truly believe that the election was stolen from you. From their points of view (or rather, point of view, singular), the fact that you’ve not been able to get traction overturning the election is a terrible sign that our democracy is imperiled. They didn’t happen to talk about the Georgia Senate races, but I’m sure the outcomes are only so much more salt in the wounds. I didn’t catch it, but Laura said that the rally music in the background was Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage – totally awesome, right?
But who’s to say that my strongly held beliefs about the threats to our democracy are correct and that theirs are wrong? I mean, it does give one pause (at least it gives me pause) to hear the sincerity in their voices – they seem to truly believe what they believe. They’re actually there on site in DC where there’s a very good chance that the protests will turn violent and so they’re putting themselves in at least some physical danger ostensibly because they believe what they believe so fervently.
To be clear, it’s their apparently sincere beliefs that give me pause – I don’t actually think what they believe has any merit, but it does make me sad (and scared) that they are so far gone.
Under normal circumstances (whatever those might be) if there are sincere differences of opinions and/or held beliefs it would be reasonable to interrogate those differences and to be duly respectful of each sides’ position. Basically, if we could operate from the premise that both sides are acting in good faith, it would be reasonable to proceed as noted. But what to do when it’s apparent that the source of one of the belief sets arose from conniving, self-serving scheming and the bad actors behind it aren’t ever going to come clean? How do we get past this when it seems clear that no amount of proof that contradicts those strongly held beliefs is going to penetrate? I mean even the fact that Mitch McM has conceded that Biden won and is going to be inaugurated on 1/20/21 hasn’t put a dent in the madness.
Back to early Jan. 7, 2021 – The WP article about resignations from your administration and talk of removing you from office ends with this sentiment from John F. Kelly, which while only a penlight in the dark, needs to be heeded if we are to set ourselves on a truer, more sustainable path:
“We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office in our land — at the office seeker’s character, at their morals, at their ethical record, their integrity, their honesty, their flaws, what they have said about women, and minorities, why they are seeking office in the first place, and only then consider the policies they espouse.”
Character matters. Integrity matters. Decency matters. Compassion matters. The ends do not justify the means, no matter how much of what one wants one can get by deceiving, manipulating, grabbing, and behaving ruthlessly. We must learn and relearn this lesson until we finally, finally get it.
May we safeguard decency and integrity.
May we be willing to take the harder, messier road and treat one another with compassion and respect.
May we be strong.
May we accept that what we saw yesterday is US; we must get this truth right if we are to find our way out of the sick, racist thicket that has been and is America.