Suffer Fools Lightly

Supporters of President Trump gather on the West side of the Capitol on Wednesday January 6, 2021. [photo courtesy Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP – Getty Images]
I have not been able to write anything coherent for the last few days regarding what happened in our Capitol this week.  My mind is a mess, my heart is heavy, I feel like a loved one has just died. I am raw.

But something different emerged in me yesterday. Anger.  Pure unadulterated visceral righteous rage. First I am angry at Donald Trump for being a narcissistic foolish liar, who by his words and deeds started the coup attempt on Wednesday January 6th.  But I am even angrier at all his enablers: the Republicans in the US House of Representatives, not just the 120 who openly supported this man, even after people died outside their door, but those who kept silent for the past four years. I am angry at all the Republican Senators, who for four years, with possibly one exception of Mitt Romney, gave their rubber stamp of approval on everything that issued from their vile leader.

I am enraged by Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first to propose the idea of protesting the vote counts. I am angered by his fellow cronies, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama who still objected to certifying the vote after the mob stormed the Capitol with one person (known) dead.

I feel nothing but disgust for Mitch McConnell, who suddenly at the 11th hour grew a pair and stood up to the lie that the election results were fraudulent, a lie that he had continued to perpetuate for over two months.  All of this terror and mayhem, this constitutional crisis, could have been prevented last January if Senator McConnell, as leader of the Senate, had allowed witnesses to be called at the impeachment trial. Then the American people would have been able to hear the truth and judge for themselves. And Trump would have been removed from office.  They all knew damn well he was a snake before they let him in.

I am angry at all the reporters and pundits on conservative TV and other internet platforms who continued to support and spread the lies about the election results with no actual facts. FOX news created this monster and they still have not owned it. Yesterday on FOX News, Tucker Carlson referred to these domestic Terrorists as “Solid Americans” We now know that one Capitol Police officer was murdered. He died after being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.  What happened to Blue Lives Matter? If this is how a “solid American” treats a police officer, then I prefer to be a mushy marshmallow American.

I am angry at EWTN, the ultra-conservative Catholic network that has promoted this Republican Administration at the expense of truth and justice.

I am angry that Twitter, Facebook,  and the newest social media platform, Parlor, did not stop hate speech and lies, but gave voice to the insurrectionists, a place where they could ferment more lies and more hate. Advertisers in this country are held to a much higher standard, with federal laws in place to ensure “Truth in Advertsiing”.  Why aren’t other types of media, at least, held to the same standard?

I am angry at the hundreds of Christian leaders who continued to support this maniac long after we all knew he was deranged and evil. TV Evangelists like Kenneth Copeland, mega church Pastors like, Robert Jeffress of the 14,000-member First Baptist Church, Dallas and a Fox News Contributor;  and Catholics: Priests like Father James Altman of La Crosse, Wisconsin who openly supported Trump. Too many Catholic Pastors and Bishops supported this Administration and President Trump by omission, by not speaking out against his many heinous actions and words. Some openly supported him from the pulpit, telling their flock that to vote Democrat or against a Pro-Life candidate was a mortal sin. Their only motive, the one issue, was ending legal abortions. I guess they felt the ends justified the means.  I’d like to ask them now, “How did that work out for you?”  Trump and McConnel did manage to get three barely qualified Catholic Supreme Court justices in place, but since 2017 abortions in this country have begun to go back up. In fact during the Obama years abortions went down from 818 thousand in 2008 to 623 thousand in 2016. Could it be that more poor women had access to free birth control under the Affordable Health Care Act?

I would not be able to stay involved in any Christian religious practice, which, by it’s very name, should be following the teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the four Gospels, if not for high profile Christian and Catholic leaders like Beth Moore; Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber;   Sister Simone Campbell, a social justice advocate;  Jesuit priest, writer and Editor of American Jesuit Magazine Father James Martin; and Franciscan priest, writer and speaker, Father Richard Rohr.   And like many Christians I had no problem voting for Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, whose compassion for others and moral integrity, is always evident.

There is one last group I am angry with. But for this group, I feel more pity than rage. I believe they have been duped into believing that this one man could “Make America Great Again”. They have been led like sheep into doing what the puppet master wanted. Feeding on lies and dis-information for over four years, believing the emotions that were being stirred up by the words of Donald Trump were patriotic fervor, when in fact it was anger based on fear. Fear of the other. Fear of the immigrant. Fear of those whose skin is darker. Almost all of these individuals are white. Most feel they have been marginalized, unheard and left out. This movement gave them voice and they actually believe that their leader, Donald Trump, a billionaire from New York, cares about them and their families and knows what matters most to them. Many persons in DC on Wednesday are members of one or more of the many fringe/hate groups:  Proud Boys,  Neo Nazis, QAnon, White Supremist and many more. These are not Norman Rockwell Americans.

What this unholy mix of human misery and hate wrought was unspeakable.  As I watched the live feed, I saw a mob breaking glass, pushing their way past police, chasing one officer up a flight of stairs, I thought, “This has happened hundreds of times before in this country. A mob of angry white men storming a public building to kidnap a black man from a jail cell in order to lynch him without a trial.” I am not being hyperbolic here. We now know that someone had erected a hang-man’s gallows outside and the crowd was chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

It has now been several days and the carnage and death toll has been taken: Four dead, one murdered cop, vandalism, property destruction, theft, invasion of private places, and the desecration of the halls with urine and human feces.  The videos show men dressed in military attire, armed and dangerous. Ready to take hostages and hurt people. We now know that there was a plan to hang Vice President Mike Pence, a plan to commit premeditated murder.  Where were the police in riot gear, the National Guard, the outrage? Why were these people escorted out of the building, allowed to walk free and not rounded up and taken to jail immediately. All of them broke the law. Anyone who was inside the Capitol building who did not work there, was breaking the law. Anyone who pushed past a barrier or a law officer to get to where they did not belong was breaking the law. Anyone who helped them was breaking the law.  Investigations and accusations will continue.  I’ll leave the outcome to others. They can sort out the bodies.

Now that we have seen and know what this presidency was about and why, I can no longer play nice with those who still support Donald Trump or the coup attempt he incited. Anyone who can say with a straight face that these were good people, that they were only protesting, like the Black Lives Matter protests all over this country last summer, is full of shit.  There is no comparison and they know it. Yes, there were those involved in this summers events who resorted to violence, property destruction, looting.  And yes, I believe these individuals should be arrested and held accountable.  But the reason for the BLM protest were noble, to bring about justice for those unarmed black persons killed by law enforcement. Not to overthrow a legitimate election, to stop a constitutional procedure, to prevent the duly elected President and Vice President of the United States of America from taking office. To incite a coup like we are a third-world Banana Republic.

Furthermore, to anyone who wants to say “the election was stolen”, I say, it was not and you know it. There is no evidence to support this lie.  Over 60 law-suits, trying to overturn the legitimate election results for five states, were filed and dismissed.  End of story!

And to those who act as though the result of this election are an anomaly. They are not. This is not the first time that half the country has been disappointed by the election results.  In 2000 Al Gore lost to George W. Bush by only 537 votes in Florida, but he won the popular vote by over 540 thousand votes. The results were not finalized for over a month, but Gore conceded and allowed the peaceful transfer of power.  In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but lost the election. A bitter pill to swallow, but she conceded and allowed the peaceful transfer of power. Yes there was a peaceful protest in Washington following Trump’s inauguration, but no one was trying to overthrow the government or stop a constitutional process.

I will end this rant with a quote from one of my favorite books.

I can no longer “suffer fools lightly.”  2 Corinthians 11:19

6 thoughts on “Suffer Fools Lightly

  1. There’s a lot to address here. A lot of this post is “angry” but in your email you asked for “intelligent debate based on facts”… I’m not really into debating but maybe some questions are worth asking. I’ll start with one to see if you’re really up for answering them.

    Are you aware of what was going on with the abortion rate in the US from 1990 to 2008 (or perhaps at least as significantly, the “abortion ratio”)?

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    1. First of all Mike, thank you for your comment. As for your question about abortion ratios 1990 – 2008 I just looked them up. It looks like abortions in the US have steadily declined per capita since 1990. [see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_statistics_in_the_United_States%5D.
      Here’s what I can extrapolate from these graphs on Wikipedia (not a biases site):
      1996 Clinton – 1.365 million, aprx 26 per 1000 women ratio of 36 abortions per 100 live births
      2001 G W Bush – 1.290 million, aprx 22 per 1000 women ratio of 22 abortions per 100 live births
      2009 Obama – 818 thousand, aprx 19 per 1000 women ratio of 22 abortions per 100 live births
      2016 end of Obama –623 thousand aprx 13 per 1000 women ratio of 18.3 abortions per 100 live births
      2018 Trump – 619 thousand aprx 11 per 1000 women ratio of 18.9 abortions per 100 live births
      [see https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm}

      But according to the Guttmacher report [see https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2019/09/us-abortion-rate-continues-drop-once-again-state-abortion-restrictions-are-not-main ] abortions have continued to decline and they state the reason is the number of pregnancies is decreasing. Either more adults are practicing effective birth control or fewer people are engaging in sex.
      So the point I was trying to make here was that those who voted for Trump and the Republicans for the one issue, making abortions illegal, are not getting the results they want. Trump and the Republicans had full control of both the house and Senate for two years but did nothing to overturn Roe v Wade or bring a national law forth to outlaw abortions throughout the country. I believe they really do not want this issue to be resolved because they will lose a large base of Pro-Life Christian and Catholic one issue voter, who are large donors. True they did pack the Supreme Court with supposedly Pro Life justices, but we have yet to see a case brought before them to over turn Roe v Wade.

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      1. Yes, looking at good charts of government statistics, it seems obvious that abortion rates had been declining steadily for decades before Obama’s presidency. In your post, you seemed to ask whether the decline under Obama was because “more poor women had access to free birth control under the Affordable Health Care Act”. Given that there was basically no change in the trend that was already firmly in place, it’s very, very difficult to make a compelling case for that, isn’t it?

        I’d recommend writing a new post if you want to make a point about how Republicans don’t make good on their pro-life promises. That didn’t come across in this one.

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll add to this discussion soon.

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      2. Mike, I stand by what I wrote. This post is not about abortions in the US. I was trying to make the point that many Catholics and Protestants vote for candidates based on this one issue no matter what their past record or who they are.

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  2. There’s also your statement that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett are “barely qualified”. I’m guessing that you meant according to the closeness of the Senate votes. Is that right? I mean, surely by qualified you didn’t mean in the sense that their careers demonstrated worthiness or meeting some Constitutional standard (since there isn’t one). It would be interesting to see a Pew survey about whether Senate votes are a good measure of qualifications.

    Regarding Al Gore, he conceded after the Supreme Court told him he lost but he still said, “I strongly disagree with the court’s decision”. Just something worth noting, I think.

    To say that I’m disgusted by the unlawful actions at the Capitol would be a massive understatement, but I’m also frustrated when anyone appears to cherry pick information to fit their narrative. It reminds me of the parable about being unaware of a plank in one’s eye, but maybe that’s actually less insidious.

    I don’t think I want to devote any more time to this.

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    1. Mike, I’ll go through your comments – then ask you 3 questions.
      As for Supreme Court justices put in by Trump being “barely qualified” my words:
      Neil Gorsuch, ok I may have lumped him in because he has such a conservative history.

      Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault when he was a teen by Christine Blasey Ford. I believe her. I know from experience, that traumatic memories are burned in your psyche, even if you may not recall the exact details. A close friend was raped at 16. She knows exactly who did it, and knows he took her to an empty house. But she cannot tell you the exact day or where he took her. Is she lying? NO. Why would Blasey-Ford lie? Why would any woman put herself through such hell, just for political reasons? I had flash backs of the Clarence Thomas hearings when Anita Hill made her accusations on live TV. That ended the same. The woman was discounted. And it didn’t matter whether the accusations were true or not. Now there are two sexual predators on the Supreme Court.

      Amy Coney Barret has the least experience of any recent Justice ever seated on the high court. Most of her work was in academia and she only served three years as a judge on US Court of Appeals. But what got me was the way she refused to answer questions at her confirmation hearing. She actually said that climate change was “politically controversial.” It is science, which she obviously does not believe. And the way Mitch McConnell pushed her hearing through the Senate when the election was one week away was hypocritical. He had refused to even consider President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in March 2016 because, in his words, “it was an election year and the people should decide.”
      AL Gore. Of course he protested. DUHHHH! He MAY have lost the election because the Supreme Court ruled to stop the counting of Florida votes. The point I was making is not that he was happy, but that he did not incite his supporters to riot. Instead he conceded.

      And as for me ‘Cherry Picking” maybe I do, because I will not repeat or support lies.
      My questions to you. No need to respond online, just honestly ask yourself these questions.
      1. You said you did not support the violence that happened at the Capitol, but do you believe the election results are fraudulent? That Donald Trump was cheated out of winning?

      2. If you did vote Republican in 2016, are you satisfied with the results? Did you get what you wanted from this Presidency?

      3. Do you still support Donald Trump?

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