It has now been one week since the attempted coup. I had prepared what I thought was a carefully laid out, well researched post about my feelings in response to last week’s events at the Capitol, and I even posted it. It was really more of a temper tantrum when I continued to look at it. Some of you actually saw it. But I decided to pull the post. It conferred too much of my own emotional response to the events than I wanted to convey.
My post alluded to finding joy in the misery of those who caused the insurrection now that they are beginning to suffer the consequences of their actions. I also talked about the role religion has played in the recent events. The fact is that most of us are angry. Those who protested were hoodwinked by their party and bought multiple lies about not only the election, but about the virus and wild conspiracy theories as well. The rest of us are still in shock that it happened, especially considering obvious cooperation from someone in charge of security.
But finding joy in anyone’s misery dehumanizes them. And it makes those on the “right” side who do that not so moral as well. Dehumanizing any living being is how atrocities against others begins. (And, yes, I feel this way about eating animals, too.)
We have substantial, long standing, structural problems with the architecture of government and societal norms in America. The ideals of meritocracy upon which our country was built are not working in its translated state. Do we actually believe that everyone is born with equal opportunity? That everyone who works hard will have the same chances to succeed? To state that you do is disingenuous. The truth is that anyone not born white and male has to pull their bootstraps up some, or perhaps what seems like forever, to reach equal ground.
As a white person, I know I have certain unspoken privileges. And to have conversations with my Black friends about the talks they have to have with their children about things I have never considered discussing with mine… things like how to survive getting pulled over by a police officer… is really overwhelming. And in my time as a home health provider, I was witness to how the most marginalized people in our society survive. My privilege smacks me in the face.
But the idea of meritocracy in America has devolved into something that looks more like rugged individualism. We have lawmakers and leaders who preach the notion that those who are white and in hard times are not to blame for their own misfortune. They have taught the lie that it’s immigrants, liberals, people of color… the list is long… who are to blame. Lies were also spewed about the origin of Covid-19 and the severity of the disease. And we have been conditioned as a society to care about ourselves first; the sense of community isn’t what it once was.
As a side note, science does not care if you don’t believe in it. It will carry on anyway. The climate will continue to get warmer if we don’t reduce carbon emissions. Species will become extinct if we don’t halt practices that destroy their homes. The earth will not be able to sustain us in time. And the pandemic will never end if we don’t wear masks, socially distance, or take the vaccine. But just like there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are no science deniers on a Covid unit.
The fact is that we can all benefit from governmental reform. There is a growing wealth disparity in this country that has only gotten wider during the pandemic. We need to end loopholes for the very wealthy that help them avoid paying their fair share in taxes. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We need to raise the minimum wage. We need laws that end wage disparities. We need to work to end policies that promote systemic racism. We need to work to promote equality and safety for LBGTQ persons. We need a fair, just, affordable, and equitable healthcare system. I firmly believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We need policies that protect our environment. We need to end corporate influence in our government. And we need a legislative branch not paralyzed by gridlock between parties. Our government should work for the people, not corporations or religious entities.
We are the most prosperous country in the world, and yet many of our citizens live marginally. What’s worse is that it seems like it’s designed to be this way. Our mental and physical wellness can be much more robust if we have a government who supports efforts to improve how it works for everyone, not just the wealthy. Right now, this is not what we have. And although I never meant for my blog to be about politics, I feel like my readers need to know where I stand on these issues. To not discuss them is a bit tone deaf, and I don’t feel like I can carry on with fitness topics and vegan recipes without touching on my feelings about recent events first.
I’m feeling weary and tired, much like the American flag pictured in this post, which I photographed in my town. I am so ready for power to transfer to the new administration. I have to trust that justice will be brought to those who were guilty of insurrection. I’m not ready to work on unity, especially because reports are swirling that this isn’t over. But I am taking a moment to try to understand how those who are guilty reached this place, because I have no desire to allow history to repeat itself. If it can happen in Germany in 1923, it can happen in America in 2021.
Today, I’m watching the impeachment trials. I hope our Congress does the right thing. Those who are guilty of contributing to the dismantling of our democracy must answer for their transgressions. I’m just idealistic enough to believe that our country will, eventually, repair itself, emerging from this rubble as a better, more equitable nation.
How are you doing since last week’s events? I’m here to listen. As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.