Death at the Capitol: “Something Isn’t Working”

America’s 2020 presidential election is over. Its aggravation isn’t.

I’m one of the many folks who opted to vote by mail. Election results weren’t entirely good or bad news from my viewpoint.

This month’s news hasn’t been all bad.

Even my corner of social media has simmered down a bit.

I still see expressions of angst and anger over the fascists and/or pawns of the New World Order, but nowhere near as often.

But an item in this month’s news was disturbing.

Storming the Capitol: Dealing With Uncertainty

Edison Lee comic: does anyone even know what truth looks like any more?Nearly two weeks later, I’m still not sure what happened during the “2021 storming of the United States Capitol.” Not in detail.

I’m pretty sure that someone planned the incident. What America’s traditional news media describes does not seem like the actions of a disorganized “mob.”

And I’m quite sure that several folks were killed during the incident. Maybe by the “mob,” by Capitol security, or by others.

And I’m pretty sure that eventually we’ll learn more of the what and who. And maybe even the why of that incident.

For the moment, America’s traditional news media assures me that the current president’s supporters planned and executed the attack.

And that it’s the current president’s fault.

Assorted folks on social media have their own ‘what-who-why.’

As for me, I think that I don’t have enough data to form a reasoned opinion. And that what I do know is disturbing. More disturbing, in a way, than traditional news media’s version.

I talked about that, weekend before last:

“…Other possibly-significant results include at least two social media services banning the American president. And, maybe, the start of a renewed and urgent discussion of restrictions for non-traditional news services.
“I gather that these actions are intended to defend democracy. By silencing folks who lack sufficient enthusiasm for my country’s proper rulers.
“Not that anyone’s been quite that blunt about it….”
(January 9, 2021)

I remember when stopping dissent in the name of ‘national security’ was in vogue.

I didn’t like it then.

Maybe ‘defending democracy’ will become the new ‘national security.’ I hope not.

Serenity, Reason, Respect — and Present Reality

Ideally, folks who don’t agree would discuss their differences. Calmly, reasonably and with mutual respect.

We don’t live in an ideal world. I keep saying that, and that’s — you guessed it — another topic.

I was going somewhere with this. Let me think. Presidential election. Voting by mail. Sound and fury. Traditional news media and insufficient data. Right.

I’m not entirely happy the 2020 state and national election results. But I’m not entirely unhappy with them.

“…A Yardstick for Lunatics….”

“…Beatniks and politics, nothin’ is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view….”
(“Incense and Peppermints,” Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967) via Genius.com)

Political alignment quiz results.I’m even less wildly enthusiastic about my country’s big political parties.

The small ones, too, for that matter.

About that.

A couple years back, I took several of those political online quizzes.

Compiling the results was — interesting.

I learned that I’m a right-wing liberal libertarian. 😉 Which isn’t surprising. Over the decades, I’ve become more and more unimpressed with politics and politicos.

But Timothy Leary’s “…drop out” advice isn’t an option. It doesn’t make sense. It didn’t, to me, when I was young. Maybe I’ll get back to that.

Back, briefly, to those quizzes. Each had maybe 20 questions. That’s not nearly enough to be thorough. So each quiz sampled a different slice through my beliefs.

I’ve been called “some conservative guy.” That’s accurate. If “conservative” means not being on the same page as today’s American establishment. But if it means desperate yesteryearning for a ‘good old days’ that never existed? And that’s yet another topic.

Next, why I don’t simply ignore politics.

Basically, it’s because I’m a Catholic. And a convert who has been learning what the Church has been saying.

Love of Country — Within Reason

Being patriotic is a good idea. That may take some explaining.

Back in the Sixties, I associated “patriot” with folks whose blind devotion to their views was equaled only by their hatred of commies, Catholicism and rock music.

They helped me learn to love rock and roll, and that’s yet again another topic.

Dictionaries give several definitions of “patriot,” including —

Patriot

But I’m a Catholic, not a Dictionarian. If “Dictionarian” wasn’t a word before, it is now. Still more topics.

I’m a Catholic. There are things I should believe, and act as if I believe.

I should love God and my neighbors. And see everyone as my neighbor. Everyone. No exceptions. (Matthew 5:4344, 7:12, 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; 10:2527, 2937; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789)

I’m also obliged to do what’s possible in public life. That includes recognizing humanity’s solidarity and respecting authority. Within reason. (Catechism, 1778, 1915, 18971917, 19391942, 2199, 22382243)

I should also love my country. Within reason. But letting love of country slop over into worship of country is a bad idea. A very bad idea. (Catechism, 21122114, 2199, 2239)

I like being an American, so maintaining a ‘love of country’ isn’t hard. Usually.

But there are times when it takes effort. And reminding myself that there’s more to America than jingoistic chauvinists and folks who enjoy thinking that they’re in charge.

“Something Isn’t Working”


(From Vatican Media, via Catholic News Agency, used w/o permission.)
(“Pope Francis gives his general audience via livestream June 17, 2020.”
(CNA))

Pope Francis ‘astonished’ by disruption at US Capitol
Hannah Brockhaus, CNA (January 9, 2021)

“Pope Francis has said he was surprised by the news of the incursion of pro-Donald Trump protestors into the U.S. Capitol Building this week, and has encouraged people to learn from the event in order to heal.
“‘I was astonished, because they are a people so disciplined in democracy, right? But it’s a reality,’…
“….’Something isn’t working,’…”


Pope Francis asks Immaculate Virgin Mary to intercede for US after Capitol violence
Courtney Mares, CNA (January 10, 2021)

“Pope Francis prayed Sunday for the United States, asking the Immaculate Virgin Mary to help foster a ‘culture of encounter’ after the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol Building.
“‘…I pray for those who lost their lives, five lost in those dramatic moments,’ …
“…’…violence is always self-destructive. … I urge the authority of the state and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility in order to calm the spirits, promote national reconciliation and protect the democratic values rooted in American society,’ the pope said….”


U.S. Bishop Chairman Urges Peace Following Reports Warning of Plans for Additional Violence at State Capitols and U.S. Capitol
Chieko Noguchi, Miguel Guilarte; Public Affairs Office; USCCB (January 16, 2021)

“Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and reports of an FBI bulletin warning of ‘armed protests’ in state capitals and Washington, DC, in the coming week, … Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged peace.
“The full statement is as follows….”

Options

Alfred Gale's 'Pictorial Illustration of the Cause of the Great Rebellion' and 'Pictorial Illustration of Abolitionism.' (ca. 1865)I think the Pope’s right.

“Something isn’t working.”

America’s going through a rough patch.

We’ve been through worse. Like the War Between the States. (June 1, 2018)

A civil war could happen again. I hope it doesn’t. War breaks things and kills people. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and I’ve talked about that before. (May 23, 2020)

I’m pretty sure we’re not at a point where our only option is mass homicide.

I also think I can do something besides wait for the next debacle. So I’ll keep praying. And reading, writing — and doing my best to make sense:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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