- The Farm
- The Alliance
Yesterday armed white supremacists stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of electoral college votes.
Washington police, well skilled in crowd control, offered no advance resistance; things were allowed to escalate beyond control. After fact-checking: It may or may not be true that police opened barricades to let in the mob; one police posed for selfies with an invader.
Only one invader was killed, while fourteen police were wounded. Rather than arresting the invaders, tasing, teargassing, firehosing, or shooting them as they would with peaceful protesters of color, they gently pressured them to leave after hours of vandalism. Of course they didn’t want to create martyrs. They could have done much better. The Right is blaming the whole thing on Antifa.
And most of the worst public officials and politicians abandoned Trump at the last, along with several of his staff resigning. I expect the man will be removed, one way or another.
“Choose Democracy” calls it a failed coup attempt: the structures held. The fact that judges denied all of the efforts to overturn the vote by legal maneuvers, that the National Guard finally was called and that the process continued in Congress – they rank these as essential.
Van Jones says the question is whether this is an end or a beginning: the end of something bad, or the beginning of something worse. Our collective actions will decide that. Choose Democracy does not recommend public rallies at this time, while the supremacists are so volatile.
I found myself relieved when the police finally showed up. Learning from history: Hitler suspended civil liberties after the Reichstag Fire provided an excuse – and there’s some evidence that the Reichstag Fire was set or encouraged by Nazis. Let us not allow this to be our Reichstag Fire, in which we encourage Pence toward draconian measures which will later be used everywhere. (Civil liberties were never restored during the Nazi Regime.) We need to keep this in mind as we move forward.
Crisis is opportunity. Might this be a time of turning toward a humane society? As the inherent violence in the status quo is so very visible – coming from people who sincerely believe they are launching the next American Revolution – may we begin to dismantle its foundations in hate, in the illusion of being masters of the world, in juvenile insistence on getting what we want no matter what cost to others? (Seen: “Your health is not more important than my liberty” – seriously, about masks.) May we begin? And how?
I don’t know a lot. I’m sure of a few things: Arguing with neighbors and family will not help; presenting information will not help because they won’t believe it. Being human with those you already know might help. Being human and kind with all of those we are close to, with our families and friends, with co-workers for change, will surely help; look for what you can praise rather than what to criticize. Be the resourced one, not the panicked one. Take care of yourself with rest, meditation, physical care. Support your body with protein and vegetables, not sugar and alcohol. Ask for kindness from each other, especially when panic, rage, or distrust try to take over. And pray, meditate, and again. Whether you pray with tobacco, incense, holy water, movement, song, or just words, pray. We are not alone. The key mistake of the culture that once walked away from an authoritarian God-image was to choose itself as replacement god. We are not gods, and we don’t have to be. Every living thing supports us. Let us go home, return to our family among trees and grasses, mountains and streams, seek help from them.
We need to learn this. Pandemics and climate change are waiting in the wings, and will require even more of us. Find the still place deep within, and nourish it with all you have. Practice.