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October 13, 2022

Musings on the State of Our Country

I cried today.

It is not the first time I have cried over the state of my country.

The January 6th committee on the happenings of that day adjourned with an historical vote to subpoena the 45th president of the United States. They seek documents and testimony under oath of his knowledge of it all. 

It doesn’t sound like something worth shedding tears over and it probably is not.

But it is significant. More than likely Mr. Trump will never testify and the findings of this committee will just be a blip in the history books- if this part of history is allowed to be taught.

My grief is more broad and full of conflicting feelings.

I am deeply embarrassed by the actions of my fellow countrymen. Our penchant for violence was on full display for all the world to see.  Our inability to implement the spirit of our democracy was on display, broadcast across the big screen, around the world.

The dark underside of our nation had a coming out party that day. And as is the case with most coming out party’s, emotions are at a high. Some embraced the violence with glee and called for more. Some crawled back into their comfortable caves and denied this was anything more than a tourist visit to the capital. Others stood up on their elevated pedestals and demanded that heads roll. And then others, like the committee, worked to seek the truth of it all.

At some point since that unfortunate day I have found myself in all the camps, with the exception of the “embracing the violence with glee” one.

But I have tried to put myself in their shoes. I know that there are some who truly believe the election was stolen. What if this preverbal shoe was on the other foot. What if I believed my chosen candidate had been the one the election might have been stolen from? What if I believed my choice for president was going to be the one to save us all and restore our democracy to its intended place? I was deeply committed to getting President Obama elected. What if he had lost and I truly believed the election was stolen?

I recall an election in recent history that saw similar murmurings, but ended quite differently. The results of the 2000 presidential race between Al Gore and George Bush were contested and sent all the way to the Supreme Court for review.  Of course the country was outraged and divided.  Somehow though, we managed to follow our rule of law and accept the decision of the day, even though many still believe Al Gore was the legally elected president.

I would love for someone to do the research on how we got from there to here- from civil acceptance to a violent attempt to overthrow our government.

I am still conflicted about what I would do if this controversy was taking place on my side of the fence. Maybe the problem is that there is a fence to begin with but that is a topic for another day. I am known to stand up and fight with passion and sometimes out of control emotion for things I believe in. So- could I be capable of this sort of behavior if the tables were turned?

I wish I had answers. Will we just move on from this? Are there no lessons to be learned or changes to be made? Will we all just go back to our own lives and forget? Based on our history, I think after today that is exactly what we will do. And so I cry. 

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