Welcome to the New Year! Or is this just 2020 continued?
A friend who follows my blog asked why I hadn’t written a comment right after the insurrection attempt in Washington D.C. on January 6. Or were we all left speechless, she wondered.
I had been planning a blog about my anxieties re having cancer in the middle of a pandemic, and how the two anxieties were compounding each other — despite my attempts in this blog to stay positive, and my genuine feelings that life is still good, I am enjoying many things, and I am luckier than many cancer patients — and of course people who have covid-19 or are affected by it in worse ways than I am. But after Jan. 6, that didn’t seem immediately relevant.
But what could I say? The insurrection (not just a riot) was incited by Trump, despite his later denials, encouraged by the Senators and Representatives who continued to challenge the election results and promote the fallacy of a “stolen” election, and fuelled by so many angry, fearful, misguided people. And we kept understanding more implications of this event. Where were the police, who knew this “march” on the Capitol was happening? If it had been a Black Lives Matter protest, armed police would have had a major presence before the march started. And no Black Lives Matter or related protest has attacked a major institution, disrupting a legitimate democratic process and bringing weapons and symbols of hate and prejudice (the Confederate Flag, the Camp Auschwitz shirt). How did the people who broke into the Capitol know where to go — how to find Nancy Pelosi’s office, for example? I think it was right and appropriate to impeach Trump again for his seditious talk and actions; even though his administration is about to end, it is important to hold him accountable.
Though many people said they were surprised this happened in the U.S., I have not had any illusions that “it can’t happen here” (the U.S., or anywhere), and see this as the culmination of the four years of Trump’s Presidency — and the statements and actions he made during 2016 campaign. Just because someone is “elected,” doesn’t mean they won’t do great harm (and remember that Trump did not win the popular vote in 2016, but was elected through the archaic Electoral College.) I am looking forward to Jan. 20 and the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the terms of the two new Senators from Georgia, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof. Let’s hope that real, humane changes can start soon. to bring the U.S. (and the world) back to saner and safer place.
My friend Diane Ray, in Seattle, wrote a poem that was published online on Jan. 7: https://www.indolentbooks.com/transition-poems-in-the-afterglow-01-07-21-diane-ray/
I admired her being able to write a whole poem in such a short time, when I could hardly find any words at all. But then, this poem started to take form, which I will share here. More medical news and views soon. Happy Martin Luther King Day!
They Came to the Capitol
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? W.B. Years, “The Second Coming”
We saw the rough beast slouch, slither, and stomp
its way to the Capitol,
heeding its misanthropic master,
past-master of lies, deceit, arrogance,
and mocking cruelty. They bought
into marching orders that never should have been ordered,
broke windows and laws,
bones and the sense of decency and patriotism,
even as they paraded sham-patriotic signs
and slogans. Did you see the Confederate flags
and the Auschwitz sweatshirt,
among the red-white-and-blue placards
waved by these ghost-white, sheet-white,rebels,
storming unmasked in the middle of a pandemic?
Their violence was also naked, unmasked,
urged on by their hero, encouraged
by other legislators (even those who now cry foul).
The leader who incited them to “glory”
now reads teleprompter words in a flat, lifeless voice,
urging calm, denouncing the “heinous” act, promising peaceful transition —
after weeks of swearing how badly he’d been robbed.
But he ends his talk with animation:
our incredible journey is only beginning.
No, his journey is ending — finished, past, kaput,
over and done with.
And so, I hope, is his followers’ —
may they see their folly before too late.
And may what slouches birthward in this city, this nation,
be human, not monster,
liberty and justice for all
a reality for all of us, each one of us
in our own skin and heart,
not another lie masquerading as the truth.
c. Ellen S. Jaffe, Jan. 2021