Six days into the new year and already people are asking to speak to the manager. Six days and, of all things, our nation’s Capital is under siege by guys dressed like Create-a-Players from 2K20 carrying makeshift weapons.
Some of the weapons - assault rifles, molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices - weren’t so makeshift. Some were wielded with intent to cause harm.
But what caused this? What led to the multi-hour siege of what foreign leaders once viewed as the “Shining Beacon on the Hill?”
Now the cause of this act of insurrection was as obvious as Ohio State coming down with cases of COVID days before having to play Alabama in the National Championship game.
It has been steadily simmering and boiling and building.
And this is not some hot take, knee-jerk reaction. This is the viewpoint of a guy that has friends living lifestyles across the socio-economic spectrum; be they rich or poor, white or black, straight, gay and trans.
Beyond that - it’s the rhetoric.
“Our words have power,” said televangelical multi-millionaire Joel Osteen. “With our words, we can speak blessings over our future.”
And he is living proof of scamming people to believe through the power of positivity that their lives can be transformed. In reality, the only thing truly getting transformed is the bottom line of his bank account.
That’s coming from a questionable “religious authority.” But when all the factors and frustrations everyone is feeling from the …. Not going to cuss here … clusterbuck of a year that was 2020, it made total sense that something was going to pop off.
It was an inevitability.
As Red said in Shawshank Redemption when talking about being in prison: “It’s the study of pressure and time.”
And the thing we all know is that when combined, things transform in that situation.
Minds change. Minds alter. Emotions change. Hearts harden and viewpoints narrow.
The protests over the summer angered one side. The response - its level of appropriation is not up for the debate - enraged another.
Combine that with the fact that 2020 was an election year. While people are struggling and trying to make ends meet while dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic, Mitch McConnell, with seemingly little thought of the country, effectively killed the $2,000 CASH Act to further play political games. A snap was bound to happen.
Like Thanos in the Avengers - the result was inevitable.
The right held a series of “Save America” rallies.
On Tuesday - I watched via YouTube a minister openly call for war — essentially a protestant jiha— before praying that the fate of the nation and the direction of the nation stay the course.
One day later, the President spoke to an already fired-up crowd of patriots and rebels about supposed shenanigans that led to his November election and subsequent legal defeats.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by a bold and radical left Democrats (sic) which is what they are doing and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”
The speech - which concluded with Trump saying: “There’s never been anything like this. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen.”
The crowd - into the thousands - answered with a full-throated: “Fight for Trump!” before leaving the rally and walking to the capital, supposedly being led by the leader of the free world.
Legislators had laid out plans to delay the counting of the electoral ballots; an event that typically takes 30-45 minutes and is nothing more than a constitutional formality.
Alabama - no objections.
Alaska - no objections.
Arizona - “I rise to object for .. reasons and whatnot and there’s a Senator that’s also objecting for … reasons.”
Those two factors met on the Capitol steps.
Ray Charles could see this coming. Helen Keller could see this coming. The aliens circling the globe looking for signs of intelligence could see this coming.
I’m fascinated how some people were left dumbstruck when the eventual other shoe fell and began to march up the plaza steps and into the seat of our government.
My question - and I’m sure the question of many other drop-jawed and frightened onlookers throughout the world - why was the capital security not prepared?
This is not something that just sprung up like a sinkhole in the middle of town. The kind where you are driving along and then CRASH your engine-deep in the sewer.
Emotions and rage to this magnitude had been building and steadily screaming like the valve on a pressure cooker.
Protections should have been in place to secure both the people on the outside and those on the inside. There have been deaths in the wake of this pressurized blowoff and questions remain about the fate of the nation as we are (as of this writing) 12 days away from the inauguration of a new President.
Are we on the brink of a Civil War or will this nation, the Great American Experiment, recover and begin to close the divide?
The message, going forward will tell the tale. Words have power. Words spoken by the President have resounding power, as they ought to. Hopefully the message will be of peace.
“Words have the power to hurt, to heal, open minds and open hearts and change the world,” wrote author Stevie Aitchison. “Never forget the responsibility you have over the words you speak.”
It’s that simple.