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Shock and Awe? Not So Much

I feel embarrassed. Demoralized. Angry. Afraid, even. But what I don’t feel is surprised. And that, more than anything, makes me heartsick. Anyone else feeling similarly?

We’ve heard so many lies during the past four years, thousands of them, told over and over again. Yesterday’s lie (shouted from a podium to thousands gathered in Washington, DC) was that the vice president could somehow break his oath to the Constitution by overturning the results of a free and fair election. And when it failed to come true, the mob attacked. Why would that surprise anyone?

After four years of near-constant vilification of the media, I watched thugs throwing news equipment to the ground, screaming, threatening and swearing at reporters who were just doing their jobs. I saw the words “Murder the Media” scrawled on one of the doors of our national Capitol building. Many reporters had professional security guards to protect them as they did their work. I’m not even faintly amazed by any of this.

Why would I be at all shocked that the insurgents and traitors who stormed our Capitol would be told they are “special” and “loved” by a president who told a far-right hate group to “stand back and stand by?” Who also said there were “very fine people on both sides” when speaking about a rally attended by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the people who demonstrated against these groups?

The last time our Capitol came under attack was in 1812. As Senator Cory Booker pointed out, at that time, the attackers displayed loyalty to their King by “waving flags to a sole sovereign, to an individual, surrendering democratic principle to the cult of personality.” Yesterday, domestic terrorists carried flags into our Capitol building bearing the name of their “king,” another “sole sovereign” and not a country, to whom they have pledged undying loyalty and support. That they would carry flags bearing his name into our Capitol building shouldn’t be a revelation to anyone. That they would attempt to take down the flag of the United States flying outside in order to replace it with a Trump flag doesn’t astonish me in the least.

My lack of awe at any of this is dwarfed by my feelings of profound sadness for my country. But this isn’t a time for wallowing. We’re facing an international health pandemic and economic devastation as a result. A peaceful transfer of power, which is a foundational tenet of our democracy, is currently in doubt. Our enemies now know exactly how vulnerable we are, thanks to the rioters who showed them the way. And some of our political leaders continue to add fuel to the fire by not accepting the incoming president, voting to reject the results of a free and fair election.

What to do?

We can start by accepting the results of this election, just as we’ve done for every election before it, even when the popular vote went the other way. We can support media that bases its coverage on facts and science by subscribing to them. We can call for anyone who participated in the insurrection at our Capitol to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, sending a clear message that this kind of extremist behavior won’t be tolerated. We can conduct our own research into unfounded rumors and conspiracy theories, using a variety of credible sources, to call BS whenever we see/hear it. We can call out, hold accountable, and vote against those politicians who lie and display hypocritical behavior, even if they’re from our own party. We can support, rather than criticize, our incoming president and his administration—at least until they do something worth criticizing. Unlike the last administration, they clearly have the experience and expertise to get us out of this mess. They’ve done it before: President Obama, supported by then-Vice President Joe Biden, led us out of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Biden has been there, done that, so we know he can do it again. But only if we all work together.

What ideas would you offer to get us out of this colossal mess?

It would be a welcome surprise to see all Americans rise to the challenge. There is much to be done. So let’s get to it.

Photo by PartTime Portraits at


  1. I’m not confident. We can no longer agree on facts. 2+2=5
    Too many people love Big Brother.

    • Awww, Frank, really? Not even a little bit hopeful?

  2. I think we start by thanking and embracing those who are willing to stand up to Trump. There are people I love that are not going to change their perception of Trump and his supporters as being Patriots. They truly believe Antifa, BLM, Democrats, etc caused that riot yesterday. They are standing firm that the Trump rioters/insurrectionists were simply peacefully protesting and that those who stormed the Capitol were from those groups listed above. These people have become so cultish, they are not currently salvageable and arguing with them will simply drive them deeper down the rabbit hole. There seem to be quite a few who have come to realize this has gone to far. I think beginning with those people is the place to begin.

    • I agree–to those who refuse to see the reality of what the rest of us saw, which is being confirmed by people who were actually there: I don’t know what to say to you. But for people who supported Trump and are now questioning that support based on how he incited an insurrection: yeah, let’s talk. I really want to understand why you supported him in the first place. And I want to know how the incoming administration could win your support. Margie, how would you begin?

  3. Well said! I too share the feelings you have described.

    We need to engage in meaningful conversations with each other with deep listening and understanding. The insurrectionists do not represent all Americans including some of those who voted for Trump. I need to check my bias about that.
    We need to vote in EVERY election. We need to encourage candidates with integrity to run for office.
    We need to hold our officials at all levels accountable for their actions and have those officials call out their colleagues when they are engaging in extremist behaviors.

    • I couldn’t agree more with your thoughtful comments. I’m also struggling with my own bias, and anger, toward Trump voters. Any ideas on how to overcome those emotions would be most appreciated. I want to be able to have honest and productive conversations with my friends and relatives who voted for Trump, but it’s difficult to know where/how to start. I’ve got until I get vaccinated to figure it out.

  4. Soooooooo excellent, Jill. I’m excited–for you and for me–about your new blog!

    • Thanks June! I’m pretty revved up about it myself–it only took an international health pandemic to get me off the sideline!
      I hope you come back often.

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