January 6, 2021
I make the same mistake every time. I anticipate all this political uncertainty to be over on Election Day. That seems to happen less and less and this cycle it took almost a week for the statisticians to confirm the win, it took until the beginning of December for the vote to be certified. But even that wasn't enough. These certifications were challenged in the courts over 50 times and lost every time. Most notably lost at the Supreme Court level twice. In a final blow, the Supreme Court simply declined to hear the case as if to acknowledge that any doubt in the outcome was pure fantasy. Joe Biden won. Trump lost. And in the end it wasn't close.
My attention shifted at this point from the flopping fish dying a slow death by suffocation in a lonely bucket, to the much bigger prize still under the sea. In our system controlling the presidency is nice but, as Barack Obama demonstrated, it's really difficult to get anything done without control of both houses of congress. On January 5, 2021 all eyes were on two run off elections for the Georgia Senate seats. Dems had to sweep both to control the Senate. It proved to be an incredibly tight race and confirmation of Democratic control would not come until the next day.
January 6, 2021 was the final constitutional milestone before the inauguration happening two weeks later. This was date when the congress accepted the Electoral College Votes. Over 100 members of congress and 7 senators objected to this largely ceremonial responsibility and they objected causing a multi-hour delay and stall the process. To most Americans this was an outrageous acknowledgement of the fictional election fraud claims that never seemed to stop flopping in the bucket and just die. By not accepting the loss and validating the fiction of the president that the election was stolen, that fraud was rampant and that he is the rightfully elected next president. Few republicans apparently see the threat to democracy this poses. I guess they fail to see the hypocrisy of being "pro-rule-of-law" but only when you like the outcome of the elections.
January 6, 2021 was to be the day that Joe Biden was fully and finally recognized as our next president. That wouldn't happen until January 7th.
January 6, 2021 was a work day for me. I was on calls the entire morning. I had CNN on in the background and was glancing up to take a muted snapshot of what was happening in the world wondering how long the delay might last. It turns out that words mattered a lot on this day and my inability to hear those words made the images difficult to understand. I saw pro-Trump supporters marching down the mall in route to the capitol. I knew that both houses of congress were in session and I wondered why are these demonstrators were getting more attention than the discussions inside. I watched as the demonstrators walked ground that I've walked and as they approached the capitol they got access I don't remember getting access to. They were on the steps, between the columns, up against the massive wooden door. I'm not sure what happened next. My eyes went back to my work thinking about the photographs I could have taken if I had been allowed that close to the building when I visited. I had certain "life isn't fair" taste in my mouth.
The next glance at the screen was a shot inside the capitol's rotunda. This is a room I did take a lot of pictures in and more importantly I remember being just awed by standing in the room. It was humbling to be in the presence of human history. But my TV showed me people carrying Trump flags in the room and my mind started to wander. How was it that they got that through the metal detector. Why were we seeing tourists in the capitol. Oh, they are the protestors. And then I saw something that literally shocked me to the core. I saw someone walking outside of the carefully laid out felt ropes. How could they get away with such things?
The confusion was memorable but it didn't last for long. The naivety of my assumptions wore off quickly and despite my lack of audio, I saw video of protestors breaking glass to gain entry, I saw protestors fighting with the capitol police and then we saw the images below. Our government had been violated with people incited by our president who heard the dog whistle loud and clear to take back our country. Chants of "death to Pence" filled the halls of Congress because they were taking direction from their master. He said "sick 'em" and they did.
But when you play with fire, sometimes you get burned. January 6, 2021 was the defining moment of Donald Trump's disastrous term in the White House. This historical capstone will tell a story of a racist fascist with no intention of protecting and defending our constitution but with every intent and regaining power at all costs. He failed. Hopefully punishment will ensue, but their is no higher crime for a president than threatening the democracy he was elected to defend.
It seems like we are living a real-live Wizard of Oz reality, where we've found our way back home to normalcy and all that's left is a few quick heel taps of our ruby reds. But let's not forget, it's not enough to get back to Kansas with a new appreciation for our boring old black and white life. No, we have to save Oz by killing the Wicked Witch of the West. The finality of a bucket of water and green steam, seems as important to the plot as the return to boring.
Note: At the time this was written, the country was battling the highest death tolls of the pandemic. Hospitals had reached capacity. Written under lock down while Americans suffer.
January 6, 2021
© Greg Harris, 2021
All Rights Reserved