Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I hope you’ll forgive me a political diatribe the day after one of the most shameful events in American history.
Some of us are political junkies, and I’ve had the unfortunate condition for going on thirty years now. Not only have I never seen anything like what happened yesterday, but I’d never seen anything like the four years that led up to it. Yes, it was completely predictable. In fact, it was probably inevitable.
People who aren’t political junkies and who don’t really follow the news might have been shocked by the MAGA insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But when you look back over the last four years and consider things like Charlottesville, “they’re murderers, rapists …,” the vehement reaction against Colin Kaepernick, the deaths of so many Black men at the hands of police, you see that this has all been stoked. And not just by Trump. Most Republicans, if they don’t buy the rhetoric completely, have played along for political advantage. Many of them, including seven U.S. senators, still tried to overturn the election after all the violence of the day.
A woman was shot and killed while in the act of storming the Capitol. She was attempting to climb through a smashed-out window. She was a deluded Trump supporter who believed in QAnon conspiracies.
The mob erected a gallows outside the building, complete with a hanging noose.
The mob also commandeered a news crew’s equipment and tried to set it on fire. Inside the building, someone scrawled “Murder the Media” on a wall.
Men occupied the president’s chair on the dais of the Senate and Nancy Pelosi’s chair. The latter SOB put his feet up on her desk.
Few arrests were made.
It appeared that any preparations for the day by the Capitol Police were inadequate, or that they were under orders not to use severe force on the mainly white mob.
The President of the United States instigated the violence.
What the day drove home to me more than anything is that one of our two political parties has repudiated democracy because it believes it can use the rage of irrational white know-nothings to achieve one-party rule. It feels tantalizingly close to it, with influence over the Supreme Court, complete control of many state governments, and right-wing media that is eager to disseminate whatever propaganda and lies are required to achieve the goal.
Fortunately, the voters of Georgia have handed the Senate to the Democrats, who, as ineffectual as they’ve been since Johnson’s Great Society, represent the last bastion of democracy in this country. If we’re lucky—and that’s an iffy proposition—they will be able to reduce some of the intensity that Donald Trump has provoked and rebuild the institutions that keep a diverse society like ours from imploding.
Congress has now affirmed Joe Biden’s victory, and he will be inaugurated on January 20th. Eventually, yesterday’s shame will subside and a sense of normalcy will return to the workings of government. But I hope the men and women with R beside their names who encouraged this rebellion and sought to benefit from it will never live down their treachery.