Angry, Frightened, and Overwhelmed

I was watching C-Span on January 6th when the mob, incited by Donald Trump, broke into the Capital Building. I watched as Speaker Pelosi was hustled from the chamber. I watched as congressional members, Democrat and Republican, huddled down as Capitol Police guarded, barricaded the doors, and tried to get them to safety.  I heard the gunshot that killed one of the rioters.  I was a witness to something I never thought I would see.

Since then, a lot has happened, the House impeached the 45th president for inciting insurrection and now with new information about the intent of the crowd may be changed to sedition.  Mike Pence was a target and barely escaped with his life; the traitors screamed “Hang Pence.” If it had not been for one brave Capitol Police offers, Officer Goodman, he might not be here today. The crowd wanted to capture and kill or hold hostage congressional members, especially Secretary Pelosi. We have learned that actual House members might have been complicit in the insurrection, even as 10 republican Congress members voted for impeachment. A Capitol Policeman lost his life and another committed suicide after the riot.  Donald Trump still has not conceded the election which is continuing to fuel his followers. In Interviews DC and Capitol Police say that they were beaten, sprayed with bear repellant, and verbally abused.  The rioters had guns, bombs, napalm, and Molotov cocktails; we are fortunate they did not use them. They were domestic terrorists so do not dare call them protestors!

This did not happen in one of the states, or in another country, IT HAPPENED HERE, in our capitol, fueled by the hate and lies of a demented president and his sycophant cronies, which included his son Donald Jr., Daughter Ivanka, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

John and I have been glued to the television listening to events unfold. We have watched more television news in the last week or so than we have in the two years.  Even though I have been saying, since 2016, that Donald Trump wanted to overthrow the government, I still cannot believe he tried to.

I am overwhelmed, angry, and frightened. Intelligence reports tell us that those who were in Washington D.C. have returned home and plan to attack all 50 state capitals by inauguration day on January 20, 2021, and that does not include the amount of COVID-19 virus they are bringing home. 

As I continue to watch the events unfold and prepare to celebrate the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, I am appalled at anyone, regardless of their political affiliations, who condones what happened. I am angry, no I am really pissed off, with anyone who supports or makes excuses for Donald Trump or the terrorists who stormed the capitol on January 6th. Anyone who does is complicit in the attempted overthrowing of our government and should be treated as such.

I am grateful some republicans are finally waking up and seeing the road Donald Trump has led them down.  I do not know if they understand their role in what has happened, or if the only reason they changed their position was to save their jobs. Their twelfth hour confession will not change, however, the fact they helped create this disaster, and they will be held accountable at some point for their role.  But at least they have come forward now.

I believe in the grace and forgiveness of the Great Spirit, yet those gifts are dependent on the receivers understanding they are responsible for what ever actions they have committed, and they will be call to account. Donald Trump, his family, the Republican Party have much to account for. They have lied to the American People, they have stolen money from the American People, and treated anyone that did not agree with them as enemies of the state. They have dismantled the advancements of the last 50 years for the sole purpose of lining their pockets and giving them power. They have tried with all their might to deny women and people of color the rights they deem theirs only. They have used their positions of power to disempower people of color, women, homeless, and the disabled. They have told those who are ill or poor that their illness and poverty is their fault and therefore unworthy of federal assistance. They have denied that their beloved resource hungry industries are destroying our environment and are bringing us all to the brink of an environmental disaster. Their hypocrisy is without bounds.

Donald Trump and the republican party has used white supremacists, white Christian Nationalist, and Fascists groups as their private army and that army will not give up their belief in their supposed white male privilege or the belief that Donald Trump cared about them. Such people will continue over the next days, months and years to attempt to overthrow our Democracy. They will use violence and thuggish behavior to intimidate any, and all, who oppose them. These groups are armed but they also are technically savvy and will use technology to disrupt our way of life in a way we have not seen before.  Already faith organizations are being warned of possible attacks because of the support they give to the hungry, the homeless, and the disadvantaged. Any group standing for justice will be under attack.

It boggles my mind that these sad groups have not realized Donald Trump’s or those who align with him, have such contempt for them. After all, during the rally before their march to the capitol he said, “I will go with you to the capitol.” He did not go, Donald Jr. did not go, neither did Giuliani, at that moment they should have realized he would let them hang by themselves. As far as he was concerned, everything his army did at the Capitol was their doing and had nothing to do with Donald Trump. He was blameless, ah, but he “loved them.”

Now the time has finally come for the reckoning of his army more than 100 have already been arrested and more is expected, including, hopefully, the Trump family.  His minions are now telling Donald Trump invited them to the rally and to the attack the Capitol, they did it for a man who only thinks of himself and they are too stupid, to deluded, or to mesmerized to realize it.

Forgiveness does not mean I forget, it does not mean there are no consequences to the actions Donald Trump, his followers, or his sycophants committed. It does means I and all who have been wronged can move on with our lives without out hate, without the desire for revenge.  Yes, I can forgive what has been done to each, and every one of us. The lies, the attacks on our integrity and intelligence, the botched handling of the pandemic, the destruction of our worldwide credibility, mishandling of environmental issues, and so much more. If every one of those responsible are held accountable and are made to pay the consequences I can forgive. 

But I will not forget. Neither should you.  You must remember, you must tell your children, they must tell their children what worshiping and idolizing people like Donald Trump, worshiping power and money did to this country. We must remember that all people no matter their gender, their culture, the color of their skin, their belief system, or their socioeconomic status are equal in the eyes of this country and in what ever Divine Force we believe in.

Our county was the first democratic experiment, let it now be the first country to honor every person regardless of who they are.  Let us begin anew and honor the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, with some new wording. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”  Let us be the first country where women and men work together to create a country were each can live their lives to the fullest. Let us be the first country were regardless of your abilities, gender, faith belief, culture, skin color, or disabilities, each person can live their lives to the fullest.

Let us include in that declaration that all Creation, every creature, every plant, has also been created with “certain unalienable rights.” Let us include their rights to live their lives as our Creator intended.  Let us include in our declaration that all the creatures of this country non-humans and humans have the right to clean air to breath and clean water to drink and live in.

Let us begin something new. We can do this. If we want to survive then we must do this.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 16, 2021

Image: Associated Press, January 6, 2021

January 20, 2017

Last evening I was thinking about history, in particular, the history of our country. In 1776 our founding fathers chose to protest and separate from an oppressive imperial government. They chose to fight what they saw as injustice and for the most part they won that battle. Yes, most were elitist, and some were slave holders, they were, to put it mildly, a product of their time. But for the most part they had a vision of a country where each person would have the right to an equal chance at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I wonder what they would say about today’s inauguration, I believe they wouldn’t be very proud of us right now.

I know, I know, those writers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution didn’t have the foresight to include women, people of color, those with different beliefs, or the LGBQT community in their plans, but, the blueprint was there. And, in more than 200 years we have grown and matured as a nation, as a people, and now most of us see each person in our country as important, valuable, to the success of us all.

Throughout our history, we have struggled to open our understanding of who is an American. In the last 100 years, great strides have been made in insuring the poor, woman, people of color, those with differing gender identities, and those with differing beliefs have the same rights as rich white males. We opened the doors of our country and people from all over the world have enriched our society in every way possible. But now those advancements seem to be coming to an end.

This country elected someone who only sees value in rich white men. This man and his followers see the population of the U.S. as a means to an end, an end that fills their pockets. To accomplish their purpose, they duped other white men into believing they too can be ‘rich’ knowing that what they will do while in office will prevent anyone but themselves from succeeding. They have done it by demonizing the poor, people of color, women, those of differing beliefs, and those with differing gender identities in order to hide their true intent, to make themselves wealthy and more powerful. They don’t have the interest of the country at heart, the only thing they think about is how much power over others they have and how much money fills their coffers. Not a very nice picture of our current government.

Our Founding Fathers weren’t perfect, they owned slaves, they thought the poor should do more, they didn’t acknowledge women as citizens and they certainly didn’t accept anyone who identified with a different gender. Yet they managed to set aside most of their bias’s and conflicts to craft our government’s documents that had the flexibility to, in time, include those who had been excluded. Not perfect men but wise men.

So, are we returning to an ideology that pre-dates our Founding Father’s? I hope not, but, I fear so. In the last eight years, we have seen the rise of hate crimes instigated by the very people we elected into office. The gains we have made in racial and gender equality are threatened by elected officials who use the fear of being marginalized to demonize anyone who is different. Our so-called representatives have built on misconceptions and lies to produce a constituency across the nation that, while they are well off, thinks they are poor and being discriminated against. Most of these representatives have benefited from the social improvements created since World War II, but, apparently, they believe they are the only ones who deserve to be so honored.

In the next four years, we could lose this country to a society reminiscent of Nazi Germany and that scares me. But I also have hope. I have hope because so many people are speaking out, willing to put their hopes and dreams on the line by standing up and defying those that would roll back the achievements we have gained. Women are marching all over this country and all over this world to say we will not allow our hard-earned rights and privileges taken away. People are organizing to combat hate, racism, and violence. They are banding together to promote justice and mercy in the face of those who would take our health care, our education, our environment, our dreams.

My fear is that if we don’t see progress quickly then many will become discouraged and leave the fight. We cannot do waiver, success won’t be easy nor quick rather it will be very difficult. We will face insults and threats on our lives and lively hood, and that is scary. Each one of us has something we can do, whether it is getting out the vote, writing a letter, or marching in protest. There are small to big tasks, and all are important.

So, do not be afraid, you aren’t alone. Participate at whatever level you are most comfortable with, whether it is writing, financial support, all the way up to running for a government position at the Local, State, or Federal level. But do something, be part of the fight, be part of what we are to become.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 20, 2017

2017, A NEW YEAR?

presentation1_edited

 

A new year has begun and I am not sure what it will bring. Usually I have a sense of new beginnings, or I have excited expectations and hope as I pick up from where I left off and start over again. Not this year though. There has been too much acrimony, too much hate, too many lies, too much racism, and too little justice, mercy, kindness, and peace for me to look forward to the coming year. Sad really, because it seems 2017 is already defeated before it is a week old. I am afraid 2017 will just be a year of more hateful speech, more injustice, more discrimination, and more violence.

There is no one person to blame, we all are responsible for the atmosphere of distrust and hate we see every day, in the news, from our politicians, from our neighbors. Let me make this clear, you and I are to blame from the people who fear the changes created in the last 30 years. We forgot that people might not understand, might not be willing to accept those changes. We assumed they would go along “when the discovered how much better they had it.” But they didn’t. No, they felt left out of the process, unasked, and left behind, and they felt their concerns and issues weren’t being addressed.

Yes, they could have become involved and worked with those of us who believed we were working to better the lives of everyone, and the environment. But somehow, they didn’t feel as if they could. Maybe they didn’t believe as we did, maybe they needed to be given more information, maybe they just needed more time to assimilate all the information being thrown at them. Whatever the reason some people became alienated and open to manipulation by those whose agenda is to turn back the clock to a time when only the few profited from the bounty of this country.

Maybe the reason for the divide is that those of us who want to see us progress broke into interest groups who fought over what issue was most important when, in reality, all of it is. No one has ever bothered to look at the larger picture. To try developing a program that would have given equal emphasis to each issue. To bring together the disparate interest groups formulate a policy that would have benefited each area of interest. The modernization of each issue, environment, inclusivity, racism, woman’s rights, children’s right, poverty, immigration, all of them, each is dependent on the other.

What do we do now that we have a president whose only interest is his own personal gain, a congress dominated by old white men bent on preserving white privilege, and the hate and racism propagated during the last eight years by has let loose violence and terror in our communities. Well, to start we work together, all interest groups working together to keep what has been achieved from being lost. Our job now is to stand up when we see abuse or harassment and protect the victims, stopping hate speech when we hear it, and working to prevent injustice wherever we see it. None of this is easy. It isn’t easy to do and it isn’t easy to work up the courage to take a stand. But that is what we are called to do.

I am a person of faith, and 2016 sorely tested that faith. Yet I still believe in what I was taught that we are to act justly and to love kindness, mercy, and compassion. We as a people of many faiths and beliefs are called to care for the disinherited, the lost, the incarcerated, elderly, young, and the stranger. That doesn’t change even though it has become much more difficult at the moment. History moves in many ways and we repeat our mistakes over and over again. We have the possibility to achieve great heights or astounding lows. The choice is ours. Do we repeat history or do we show that we can change history.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 3, 2017