I’ve wrestled with this blog post for days, no, for nights now. Because it is at night that I see the disturbing images of people overtaking the Capitol building and looting it and disrupting American government at its core. I don’t write political pieces. I’m not a highly political person. I’m married to a liberal conservative who calls me a conservative liberal. I make fun of certain politicians like most others do, but in the end, trust almost none of them, as they are, at the end of the day, politicians.
Wednesday revealed many politicians to me as something else, however. Primarily, people on the jobsite at the Capitol building, doing what they’re elected to do, whatever that entailed. As for the one we’ve called President for the past four years, I saw finally a part of the danger I knew in my heart he was always capable of, more than a buffoon of reality TV, more than a cameo appearance on 80’s and 90’s sitcoms that has, in the past four years, gone from making me laugh to making me undefinably uncomfortable. I understood that discomfort finally – he was no longer just a rich businessman making a name and image for himself; he had already become someone whose ego overshadowed him and whose lies he had himself bought into wholeheartedly. I’ve known people like this in my own life and know that, it is at this point, when they become dangerous, to themselves and others. I saw people stirred into a frenetic energy called upon to defend his honor, and then those people marched onto the Capitol where things got confusing, ugly, illegal, and unjust. And every person I’ve just described had one thing in common: they are Americans.
What I want to unburden myself of, what I want to have go away so I can sleep again at night, are the hours of images of people doing the unconscionable. Of people climbing walls, makeshift scaffolding, to be on top, to be on the front lines of an imaginary battle that they’d created in their heads. Of people breaking out windows and bursting through doors in order to breech a building, hell-bent on attacking American government in action, and the people on both sides of the aisle, and in-between, who are responsible for doing so. Of people looting – stealing pieces of history and personal effects of American workers, and leaving disgust and waste behind them. Of death.
Those are the images that haunt me. The scenarios that play out in my head over and over as I try to sleep at night. They break my heart. Because, I was raised to believe that we are better than all of that. Things like that happen in “poor” countries. In countries with no conscience and no voice of reason. In countries that don’t know better, or can’t do better for themselves. My God, we are one of those countries! My faith is shaken to its very foundations with doubt and fear, and that angers me. Because inciting fear and anger and the loss of faith are exactly the points of such an insurrection. And my own sense of logic knows that the person responsible for this could pull it off again in a matter of moments. There is a mass of people just waiting for his maniacal call to action. And all the social media bans in the world, right or wrong, can’t save us if he positions himself – or they position themselves on his behalf – to do something about it. Some dogs a lick a wound and go home; some dogs have no home and never forget that which they perceive to have wounded them and are forever ready to snap. I fear what he could lead into reality before he leaves office; I fear what he could lead into reality afterwards, too. Instability is a great weapon; the perception of having had something taken from you unjustly is a massive motivator. My most intense and most fervent prayer is that what happened at the Capitol on Wednesday will not be a warm-up to something even more frightening, intrusive, and dangerous somewhere down the road. And sadly, I can’t think of a way in the world for that to be completely eradicated as a possibility.
I pray for us all in the coming days. I can’t help but see President-Elect Joe Biden as a sort of Abraham Lincoln figure, and have felt that way about him for months now. He has an even larger scope of duty than do most Presidents, if he is to take his role seriously, which I believe he does. We are a country dangerously close to inner-collapse. Civil War is completely possible, and I think maybe that is what scares me most from Wednesday’s activities. I see clearly, not just hypothetically, that we could be attacked from the inside, from our own people, that the United States of America, as divided as we are, could come under attack so easily by marauders in broad daylight who don’t care if they’re captured on film or otherwise, because they believe they’re serving a larger purpose. Please, God, let my knowledge and fear be replaced by some sort of peace that is beyond my comprehension in these dark moments every night…