Like many Americans, I saw the events of last night unfold on live TV. Watching, aghast, from my comfortable couch.
While the electoral votes were in the process of being certified by Congress, while the ridiculous question of whether they should be certified was being debated, Trump supporters, who were gathered outside, suddenly mounted the steps of the Capitol Building with only anemic opposition.
They broke their way inside, wandering the halls and ransacking offices for a while, carrying upside-down flags and even the Confederate Flag through our State building. They sent our elected officials scurrying for cover, underground.
It was hours before order was restored, and the current President played virtually no part. That is, until he was shamed on national TV into saying something, by his replacement Biden. Even then, the President’s message was half congratulation, and half polite request, to move along.
Yet another reality TV season-ending drama, as my husband so aptly put it. It reminded me of the feel-good seventies’ pop psychology books like Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach, which predicted (paraphrased): If you like comedies, your life will play out like a comedy. If you like dramas or soap operas, your life will play out like a drama or soap opera.
Well, if you like reality TV…
I feel shame and embarrassment at this moment, and worry, for our reputation in the world. I searched for posts on Twitter by German newspapers and magazines, and came upon two from der Spiegel. One of them showed some of the 28 covers of the magazine (so far) featuring our president in less than flattering ways. Another was an editorial by the Secretary of State of Germany, with the first line, roughly translated, saying:
The pictures from the storming of the Capitol pain the soul of every friend of democracy.
Heiko Maas (SPD), Bundesaussenminister
This poem came to me, as a rant from one of the participants. Please read, knowing this voice is not mine. Let us be gentler with our democracy/republic in the future, and may the world pardon what, with any luck, is the last gasp of this administration.
A few notes on references: Great Patriots is the term Trump used to refer to his supporters who stormed the Capitol Building, addressing them in a tweet. I consider this a dog whistle.
The image of the cowboy boot prints on the beach comes from a great photo I saw on the blog of priorhouse. It seemed to me to belong to a person who is comfortable going against the stream, who is not afraid to be different, and who is proud of their identity, regardless of what people think.
The line let the first be last is of course from the Bible:
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Matthew 20:16 King James Version
The image of a dog jumping for treats refers to promises made by politicians now and in the past but never delivered on.
It also brings to mind a statistic I picked up from the Jon Meecham documentary, The Soul of America. The historian closes the documentary saying, that the price of living as the middle class did in the post WWII years in the US was $130,000 in today’s dollars. Whereas the current average income here today is $56,000.
Which leads me to believe there may be some merit, to this frightening show of discontent.
Thank you for coming by to read.
Cowboy boot prints on the beach.
Rage against the storm.
Jump, for treats just out of reach.
Clash against reform.
Hail a flag of Southern Pride.
Wallow in the past.
Spurn Elites, the smart, deride.
Let the first be last.
Storm the Bastille! Climb the gates!
The barricades stampede!
Vault the steps and crash the glass!
For nothing shall impede
The cause of Freedom, Liberty,
The Fight to Stop the Steal!
And all the world shall feel our pain,
Our basest shame, revealed.
They do not understand us, and
They do not care to know!
How useless, this “Democracy,”
To fight so vile a foe!
We flaunt our grassroots legacy,
Our loyalty, pristine.
All Hail, Man of the People!
(Though you’re absent from the scene.)
They cannot know what’s good for them,
This vapid, voting fray!
Americans did not mean
What they said, Election Day!
We want a new Do-Over, and
If that’s not in the cards,
We’ll gladly take autocracy,
If Our Man is in charge.
A red hat for Abe Lincoln.
Leaders cowering from our screams.
And all the world is watching us.
What next? The guillotines?
Copyright 2021 Andrea LeDew
For a poem about the rule of law, see Suddenly Silent.