I’m a big fan of America. A big fan. I believe in American Democracy, in hope, in the essential goodness of people, and the bend of the universe toward righteousness. I’ve written only one purely political post before, and I honestly don’t like writing them because this is an author blog. I’m here to talk about books, connect with authors, and share works of my own.
Now I can’t hold my mouth shut. Even if things go terribly and I end up having to shut the blog or Twitter or other media down, fine. I probably wasn’t going to be a successful/famous/whatever author anyway.
The storming of the capitol upset me vigorously. As I type this, I’m eating sweetened condensed milk straight from the can because I want it and it feels like there’s no good reason to hold back. The events at the capitol were entirely wrong, and we should feel some sort of anger at what the perpetrators did. To contest the election in such a blatant, hypocritical, cowardly manner was un-American. Whether the police and/or national guard were limited by executive actions, inexcusable lack of preparation, or by sympathy of law enforcement with the perpetrators, the successful armed invasion was not acceptable.
I was ok for most of the Wednesday Jan 6 news cycle, but one image affected me more intensely than anything else. As staunchly Southern and milky white as I am, I could feel my eyes welling and my rage accumulating when I saw the image of the Confederate flag in the capitol. How dare someone perform such sacrilege? How dare someone nonchalantly bring in the flag of treason* to the center of government? A flag which hundreds of thousands died trying to deliver to the building, and hundreds of thousands of others died preventing its arrival? How dare you dishonor them by, at best, treating the action as a joke or, at worst, declaring the 155** year-old-peace invalid?
It was that image that shocked me into both writing this and delaying writing this. It was the image of someone trying to overthrow the government and replace it with something terribly flawed that broke me. The Confederate government was built upon faulty ideals, and the ultimate goal of what this insurrection sought is equally destructive.
I will not stand for monarchy or dictatorship. I will not bow to a King, will not roll over for an Emperor. My vote, whichever way I voted, counted for something. I voted for both winners and losers, as I have in every election and primary since I turned 18, and I am not afraid of the future that will be brought by the politicians I voted against. Those poltroons who stormed the capitol are afraid to face the future, and their base cowardice has resulted in a terrible price for everyone’s – including their own – freedom. Their villainous intentions and polluted ideals have resulted in death and stunted the search for happiness across the world.
I have hope that things will look up. Ultimately, I still believe the universe tends toward good. The United States has never been perfect, and at times we’ve espoused some horrible practices. But we’ve always, eventually if belatedly, done the right thing. I think we’ll still come through this, and in the end we’ll find a new way to approach existence a nation where all our citizens, not just a select group, can seek happiness.
I’ll leave you with the same quote as I left off with in the last political post I made.
“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”–John McCain, Liberty Medal Speech, October 2017
*I understand the Confederate flag’s presence is more complicated than this. I chose “treason” here because the flag does represent separation and rebellion at its core. The battle flag, the one used for terrible intent in this attack, has come to represent white supremacy; truer “Southern Heritage” (i.e. white Southern heritage) flags include the Bonnie Blue or, if you’re a devious butthole, your own Southern state’s flag. (I dare you to look up, for instance, the modern NC flag compared with the Confederate flag version. Even the recently re-done Mississippi flag has its roots in the Civil War flag). I do not believe you when you say heritage not hate anymore, at least not for publicly displayed flags.
**This can be different depending on when you consider the end of the war to be (surrender at Appamattox, capture of Jefferson Davis, surrender of the Cherokee, declaration of the war’s conclusion by Johnson, end of Reconstruction, and culturally it’s still ongoing).