Monday, January 11, 2021

To My Grandchildren

Jan 10, 2021 (the weekend after the Capitol was breached)

It's important that you know how it feels to be alive right now, in the midst of an insurrection, the first battle of which was fought in our Capitol - inside the actual building - on January 6, 2021.   Right now, domestic terrorists are mobilizing for another battle on January 17th, and another on Inauguration Day, January 20th.

Why, you may wonder, would the insurgents announce their plans in advance?  It seems kind of silly.  If the people in charge know you are coming, won't they be prepared to rebuff you, to repel you, to arrest and imprison you for violating the laws of the land?  But these terrorists knew that the main man in charge was on their side.  They could see no security presence, the way BLM marchers saw it when a photo op seemed the correct response to a nation in pain.

They were unprepared.  They were absent.  I couldn't understand it.

I kept saying, "Where are the police?"  (Okay, I was screaming..... until Grampa told me to tone it down..... he agreed, but I was hurting his ears.) 

It was impossible (for me, at least) to conjure up any scenario that did not include an immediate police presence once those sworn to serve and protect noticed that thousands of lunatics were racing up the Capitol steps.  It was hard to watch those in charge of safety and security allowing this to go on without mounting a response.   

The National Guards of neighboring states could have been called up by the sitting president, but he and his family were having fun watching the show on television. 

No, that is not what he should have been doing.  

Nor should he have called them patriots.  

Nor should he have said that we love you.  

The hole this created in my heart is expanding, days later.  The American Presidency is a sacred space and this man is defiling it.  His supporters are trying to make this about free speech (the social media platforms that pandered to his excesses finally permanently banned him) and unity and reconciliation, but I'm not interested in that.

I and those who agree with me have been in pain for four years.  We never staged a coup.

These are not patriots.  They and he are fomenting and participating in a civil war.  The flag of the secessionist states was carried up the stairway and flew in the United States' Capitol.  The more video we watched the more terrified I became.  These and their ilk showed up on the steps of the Michigan state capital, with no consequences.  They plotted to kidnap and kill a governor.  They left bombs in their wake on Wednesday.

I feel no desire or need or compulsion or sense of duty pushing me to accepting these folk back into the fold.  They must be identified and punished, not, as they were, escorted peacefully out the door.  Behaviors have consequences; your parents taught you that when you were very small.  If there are no consequences for these actions then what will stop them from happening again and again and again.

If you drew on the wallpaper and no one cared, how many unadorned spaces would there be in your house right now?  If your parents said no more cookies but watched you put them in your mouth, how long would it take for your siblings to join your fun?  

Allowing this to stand without repercussions can only harm our democracy.

The Capitol Steps..... the phrase itself has majesty and dignity. A reporter holds a microphone and says "I'm standing on the steps of our nation's capital" and I get a little frisson of connection to our Republic.  It's the home of democracy in action.   It's unruly and amusing and ponderous but it's often profound.  Barbara Jordan speaking at Richard Nixon's impeachment is an example of that.

There are those who say that impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment are not necessary; the man leaves the building in a few days.  

There are those of us who remember Hugo Chavez, who was removed then ran again and won and then created a dictatorship. There are those of us who believe that you don't hand a 4 year old the nuclear codes.  There are those of us who think that inciting insurrection must have been somewhere in the framers' minds when they wrote about removing an unfit person from the highest office in the land, and who are absolutely horrified that any elected official could disagree.

And I am so sad, so despondent, so disheartened when I hear members of the Congress finding room to wiggle away from doing their duty.

Yet they do, despite the fact that they swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.  I took that oath, solemnly and seriously, twenty some years ago, on the local level, in a job that served less than 15,000 souls.  The fact that men and women who have risen to the highest ranks of our governance can be so cavalier with the truth, with their responsibilities, with their obligations to you and your children and your grandchildren.... well, that just makes me want to....



tremble with fear.

And then I remember that this is a democracy.  My voice can and should be heard.  So I will call my representatives.  I'll write a letter to the editor of the local paper.  I'll call out those who equate terrorism with protest. I will not be silent.  I will not let them win.... not without knowing how I stand.

Actions like these will make me marginally less anxious.  I'm still very worried.  The political ramifications are just beginning to be played out.  Tomorrow is Monday.  I don't know how I'll feel then.


  1. SO necessary that the man experience consequences, His supporters need to hand out some tough love because enabling generally ends badly.

    1. From your fingers to his supporters ears..... though I hold no hope that they will listen.


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