This has been a discouraging year. And yes, I mean 2021.
There was a short spell toward the end of 2020 where I kept thinking how wonderful it was that, despite the president’s years of open incitement, there was no violence during the election.
Trump’s true believers were still with us, but there hadn’t been election day riots, and it did seem like there would be a peaceful transfer of power. We’d just have to deal with a lot of crazy and dishonest people on a societal level; but at least the political system was intact. It felt like the country had passed an important test. The constitution had held.
Then came Wednesday. It felt something like the early hours of 9/11, when I stood in the kitchen prepping dinner, slowly realizing that what I was hearing on the radio was not normal political chatter, and that the news was not normal news, but that something new and dreadful was in progress. A violent mob was swarming the capitol building. Shots were fired. Congress cowered in fear.
The president’s fans tore down the American flag and hoisted a Trump flag in its place. There was blood on the floor of the senate. And when his arm was twisted to try to bring peace, the president recorded a message telling the men and women waving a flag of sedition, “You are very special. We love you.”
Four people are dead.
The president is still in office.
Can you understand the horror, the dread, the boundless disgust of this day? I don’t know if citizens of other countries feel about their governmental system the way many Americans feel about theirs.
But when I slowly realized that a MAGA mob was in the capitol building, smashing windows, scaling walls, clowning, capering, screaming, peeing on the carpets, rifling through private papers, and secreting pipe bombs while our representatives scurried into lockdown, it was — well, it was like going to bed feeling grateful that your beloved mother was doing so well staying sober, and then waking up to find that she discovered cocaine and is currently standing in your children’s bedroom with a pistol and a flamethrower, screaming that no one loves the family as much as she does.
And I thought, That’s it. It’s over. The foundation did not hold. They broke the constitution.