January 21, 2021 was when the reality of our nation’s current status reasserted itself.
A couple of quotes taken from the New York Times daily briefing “The Morning” of that date reminded us that in these days it’s hard to please anybody. And no one is immune from the attacks. The two comments are:
1. Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group loyal to Trump, are calling him “weak” as more of them face charges over storming the Capitol.
2. Antifascist and racial-justice protesters in Portland, Ore. smashed windows, marched through the streets and burned an American flag, saying that the Biden administration “won’t save us.”
I can’t imagine any two groups being further apart philosophically than the Proud Boys and radical antifascist and racial-justice protesters. But it scares me how much they’re alike!
Both demand total loyalty to their beliefs. Deviate for a single second on any issue they embrace, you are out of favor, perhaps irrevocably so. The Proud Boys have been enabled for years by the former president. But let him not do exactly as they demand, and he’s denigrated. If I didn’t hate him so much, I could even feel for the rejection he’s experiencing. The left-wing protesters have for years been aching for a new president, and, when they finally get one, they can’t wait to decide how little value he is.
Both are willing to carry out destruction in order to achieve their goals. Now our Boys (which may imply a maturity they do not possess, perhaps the Proud Infants would be more accurate) have demonstrated a higher level of destructive force than the demonstrators. After all, they trashed the Capitol! But don’t count out the very small number of protesters from the other side who savagely damaged private property.
Both groups mock the ideals I hold dear.
Unfortunately, it’s not only the nutjobs that released their venom in the first couple of days after Biden’s inauguration. Mitch McConnell couldn’t wait to pan the actions Biden was taking, saying they included many that were “very wrong.” At least, so far anyway, he hasn’t released a statement, as he did after Obama’s inauguration, stating his only goal is to make Biden a one-term president.
The Democrats in their anti-Trump fervor were equally eager to develop an article of impeachment for his fostering of the Capitol attack. The Republicans, after a few uncomfortable days of conscience, pulled themselves together and scrambled out of the path of Trump’s vengeance. Conviction now seems unlikely. I think impeachment is a bad move, much as I did the previous attempt. Not because I don’t believe it’s justified. But mainly because I think it won’t succeed and it is going to get in the way of more important congressional action, like the relief bill.
It seems, then, that all we are now seeing is an extension of the divisiveness that has developed over the past few decades. How can one hope for better days when left and right combine to undercut our country’s basic principles? I don’t have a good answer. But still, probably from an excess of naivete, I still do. Hope that is. I hope there are enough willing to put country first and search with Biden for solutions to our problems. I hope, because the problems are so severe, that this will be the case. I hope there are enough decent people left.
And I hope miracles can occur.