Monday, January 11, 2021

Staring Down the Ugly Throat of Anarchy

Boston, 1/6/2021

Today, the State of Georgia votes for their 2 US Senators in a run-off election. If they vote Democratic, they win the US Senate. I am glued to my computer screen, checking every 10 minutes, to see where the numbers are. They are! One of them is in the bag. The other candidate’s numbers are going up too. Up enough to prevent a recount? Is it finally time to say goodbye and good luck to Mitch McConnell?

Today is also the day when Congress officially counts the Electoral Votes certified by each state. But some lawmakers have decided to object to the results, hinged on baseless allegations of election fraud. Those debates would start at 12:30 pm.

The line behind candidate Osoff turns a solid blue. Yes! We won the Senate! I step away from my desk to make coffee. When I return, the screen is filled with images of smoke and screams. I am looking at the coverage of the MAGA insurrection in DC. The elation is gone, from high to low, like a bowling ball dropped on my foot. 
Now things are getting worse. The announcer’s voice rises to a pitch: ‘They are storming the capitol building!’ A close up of people breaking windows, climbing walls, waiving giant flags on the scaffolding that have been raised in preparation of inauguration day. Then, inside the building, an endless line of rioters, walking across the ‘Great Rotunda’, like a group of tourists. Some are taking pictures of the ceiling. One is taking a selfie with a guard. No one is even trying to stop them.

I cannot make sense of this surreal moment: For me, life has been put on hold for almost a whole year now. I only venture out to go food shopping once or twice a week. On my daily walk in the woods, I step into the underbrush every time I cross path with another human. I put on my mask, my glasses fog up and I cannot see where I am going. But that’s better than risking infection.

In which alternate world do these hundreds of unmasked, yelling, chanting MAGA hat wearing rioters live? Is there no virus in their world? Are there no free and fair elections? Are there no laws that prevent them from entering and vandalizing government buildings? This live footage must be from another country and the announcer will soon apologize for his error. ‘Sorry, folks, this footage was taken in Somalia (or another failed state). We apologize for making you think that it was happening in the Capital of the United States’. Read more...

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The US is Writing its History

by Tom Kando

January 6, 2021 was a historical day in US history: I refer to the deadly storming of the Capitol building by Trumpite insurrectionists in an effort to overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate presidential election. Deaths, destruction, chaos. 
My mind is in overdrive, as I watch the news, mesmerized, and try to make sense of America’s current situation. So here is a thought (and feel free to tell me that I am wrong): 
My perspective is that of a European-American. Therefore, I can’t help but look at the situation comparatively and historically. I keep going back to European history. America is a still a relatively young country. If Europe has reached adulthood, America is still an adolescent. If Europe has written much of its history book, America is still in the process of writing it. 
I believe that it was Hemingway who defined history as “just one damn thing after another.” Sometimes, another definition comes to mind: “History is just one damn fight after another.” 
Case in point: The history of Europe over the past two thousand years. Take most European countries - the Austro-Hungarian Empire, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, etc. Their histories sometimes look like one long bloodbath, with occasional interruptions in the violence.  Read more...