Questions in a Bottle: On the Storming of Congress

I wrote out the questions below on January 7, 2021, having watched the storming of Congress the day before. The insurrection seemed in those early hours both distant and maybe slightly unimportant, like much of the Trump Show; from inside my California shell I sometimes take great comfort in the idea that the entirety of MAGA-Land is an economically-allowed phenomenon that would wither and die without our money. I mean, what would happen if all the Red States had to pull their own weight? Just let them try to pull down the country, I thought, lazy in my Los Angeles-ness, as I began to critique the camera-angles CNN and MSNBC used to make the assembled clan look bigger. Didn’t they seem small, these grotesques, especially when compared with crowds that assembled back in the 70’s to protest the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movers of the 60’s who overwhelmed the Mall? I went down a rabbit-hole made possible by ignorance, querying whether there was violence during earlier protests and gatherings. Weren’t flags burned and people hurt? Is black-and-white really a good look for rational thought?

Such stupidity, because the Day After That Day, the reality that animals had just shit in the Capitol was still with me, obliterating my brain’s attempt to make January 6 “normal.” It wasn’t. The defecation and destruction was part of a program, and I had to see that and accept it. I needed to see that what MAGA accomplished was organized, brutal — yes, a piercing reflection of MAGA-man’s personal impotence and self-serving quite religious rage and yes, probably the work of squirrel-eaters, but also, yes, a terrorist plot enacted by those with nothing to lose against those who simply want to work without being harassed because they can’t wear the hood. January 6’s Infamy was a MAGA terrorist action to remind real men and women who do have something to lose that sham-mans with pick-axes and ancestral graveyards full of excuses will always be out there, waiting.

To pretend otherwise is to make sure those of us working for something better than our past will continue waiting for “things to calm down” while violence and mobbery bludgeon anything we can build a future on. It’s that simple and it’s that stark. Don’t pretend the rattlesnake is a pet.

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So…here’s a time-capsule of sorts, questions that have not lost their resonance. I’m wondering if they resonate with anyone else.

  1. What if Trump’s army had automatic weapons? They’re really easy to get (especially if you’re only interested in semi-automatic conversions). With automatic or semi-automatic weapons, most of the US line of succession could’ve been killed, leaving Trump to mop up the blood. Was this the real, perhaps eventual goal? Was yesterday a trial run — letting the imbeciles stake out the place before smarter loyalists arrived later? Did Trump want to merely intimidate Congress, or did he hope some of his animals would kill? Will anyone ever know?
  2. Why did it take so long for reinforcements to arrive? It was, after all, well-known that the Joint Session would involve all members of Congress; the date, time, and place were on many right-wing calendars; T-shirts were printed and the potential for violence blasted around the world weeks in advance. Yet it took what must’ve felt like an eternity before Capitol Police were backed up. Why?
  3. Why do 40% of Republicans find no fault with the storming? Some of my friends say it’s because they “understand the frustration.” But, down deep, could it be that they are frustrated the rampage went no further? Are there, in America now, Republicans who are disappointed because there were no dead Democrats? If the mob had murdered Nancy Pelosi, how many Republicans would have cheered? Maybe that’s the difference between the parties: when Trump got COVID, I wanted him to get better — slowly, but still better. When Congress was being terrorized, Republicans got excited.
  4. Why are these anarchists being referred to as Trump supporters, when they should be referred to as treasonous criminals? Is this linguistic softening an indication of tacit support from a supposedly independent media?
  5. Are today’s Republicans enemies of democracy? Do they hate the idea that democracy now seeks to include people those with power never wanted included? Are they afraid of the equality democracy espouses, with no intention, EVER, of sharing power?
  6. Can a country survive when 40% of its people want to kill the other 60%? When Josh Hawley (the real danger here) can fist the air in support of murder and then make money off the picture?
  7. Why have Christian churches been so muted? Do they think the insurrection was just? They HOWL over gay marriage and abortion, but say very, very little when it comes to an attempted coup. Could it be that religious people can’t talk about the coup because they wanted more?
  8. When did America become so weak that nearly half of the country sees in a pathetic boy the picture of strength?
  9. Has America already died? Are we just waiting to pull the plug? What would it take for us to admit that the mind is gone, the principles are gone, the patriotism is gone, and that the only thing left to do is put the body out of its misery?

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No answers, just questions that have survived nearly two years.

Reflections in a window

Converse shoes to light-brown hair over sunned muscular calves to dull grey shorts to adventurous glutes to dull grey tank top to moderately formed shoulders to fleshy upper arms to selfie of useful face.

He stands.  Throws his cup away in the correct Starbucks recycling receptacle (there’s a guide on top of the barrel;  it’s confusing). Moves outside, glances at me through the window as he passes. Stands by dull grey Prius.  Lifts tank top before reflecting window. Deep-cut, not just abdominals but chiseled muscle groups flexing against taught skin.  Gets in car. Drives into the world.

I think:  he has to lift his shirt every time he wants to show his assets.

And then:  most people are trying to monetize their lives, commodify their bodies, sell their wares.  

Whether it’s a skill or a feature doesn’t matter;  like auctioneers we shout ourselves before buyers who are themselves sellers, bartering what we have for what we want, trying to transform what was given or worked for (again, doesn’t matter) into currency that is then used to purchase from others what we need.

Our bodies become goods, paraded and traded by pimp-parasites whose property-claims ignore the ubiquity of dirt. We do to our-selves what we do to our-world, assert dominion over arms and legs, trees on a mountainside, flowers in a field, each captured by a brutal interloper that proclaims ownership over what it did not create, sells it, and moves on.

The pimp did look at me.  

But then, deciding that I had nothing to offer, continued to hawk his meat to a hungry, depleted species. 

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
unsplash-logocharles gaudreault