Relief

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We were all hurt by the insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6.
Honestly, I would like to ignore the seriousness of the situation. It is the time of year when I go out into the yard and tell the emerging bulbs, “Go back. You’re too early.” It is hard to think about our country’s troubles when spring flowers are coming up.

The violence springs from the large minority of people in our country who have been fed, and have believed, lies and conspiracies for years. There are plenty of real outrages and wrongs that need to be set right, but those do not seem to register with them.

Watching the Capitol building invasion I kept thinking of Fort Sumter. Is this the opening skirmish of our second civil war? A civil war with technology and automatic rifles; with no geographic boundaries; with millions of people willing to fight for what they want?

What they want is to sustain the delusion that they are better than other people because they are white.

This insurrection is not yet the death throe of that toxic lie, but the desperation of the invaders looked like the writhing of a wounded creature. Nobody seems to have learned anything from our Civil War, or from any war, for that matter.

“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded, who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” – William Tecumseh Sherman, Union General in the Civil War. Afterward Head of the Army committed to exterminating our native people.

Some of the post-insurrection reactions of the Capitol invaders have surprised me. It is as if they did not think it through or foresee that their actions would have consequences.

They did not like getting gassed.

The people who did not hide their faces and bragged on social media about what they had done, are now being identified, arrested, and/or losing their jobs.

Fur-hat-and-horns-painted-face-shirtless guy (nice abs, right? Sadly, he is pretty on the outside and bean dip on the inside) was arrested and went on a food strike because his jailers would not serve him organic food. His lawyer’s defense argument is that Donald Trump’s rhetoric led the puir wee bairn astray.

Many people were hurt in the melee. Did they not imagine the possibilities of being wounded, arrested, or fired? Or dying? The rioter who was shot and killed probably did not think she was going to die when she got up that morning.

Beyond all this, I am pondering who stands to gain from the overthrow of American Democracy. Where does the money lead? What do I not know, or see, or understand? Quite a lot, I am guessing. I know our struggle is not anywhere near over.

This morning I watched the live streaming of the Inauguration. Kamala Harris is now our Vice President, and Joe Biden is now our President. I did not expect the feeling of relief that washed over me. My whole body was relaxing in a way that it had not for a long time.

Oh, I know the situation is still terrible – pandemic, tanked economy, unemployment, division of the country as much as ever – but at least now we will have a President and administration that will be working to solve problems. It will be nice to hear something Joe Biden says and think that it is probably the truth.

We owe a debt of thanks to the journalists who have reported the news honestly the last four years. Thank you. You are my heroes. You have done a great service to this country, and the world.

In other news, the house finches are here, and like most of the cute little birds who visit my yard, they attack other birds when fighting for a perch on a feeder. Nice to know we are not the only warlike species, I guess. I got out my bird identification book and browsed through it, looking at all the feathered friends who come back year after year. Red breasted nuthatches, chickadees, spotted towhees, juncos, robins, sparrows, and various LBBs (little brown birds).

I would like to spend my days living quietly, uninterrupted, in my peaceful little world. No civil unrest or war, no fascism, no pandemic, no people without homes, no poverty, no starvation, no bad water, no lies. No sick conspiracy theories. No suffering of the innocent. Only music and writing and friends and family, my dog and cat, the birds. And books. And the internet.

Unfortunately, if I put my head in the sand, I will not be able to breathe. This is our world, and we are stuck with it.