Good morning, All. It’s been a long time since I posted here. I generally blog when I am traveling in far away places, but since, like all of you, I have been grounded for nearly a year, I have no travel posts to offer. But I do have something to share today after a week of reading, watching, listening to others talk about last week’s attack on the Capitol. Here goes. Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst or journalist. Just a human responding with my heart to what I see and feel.
I have long been a fan of Madisyn Taylor’s “Daily OM” readings, which I use both as a way to frame my own day and often share at the beginning of a Yoga class. The readings are for the general public (you don’t have to be into yoga); they speak to us as humans and as spiritual beings, not as Democrats or Republicans. I am a registered Democrat, by the way, but that does not mean I dismiss Republicans, so read on if you are willing. And if you want to skip my commentary, by all means scroll below to the links.
Today the Daily Om readings that came into my box are on “The Ego” and on “Respectful Leadership,” topics that are certainly on my mind after witnessing the misuse of power we have seen in the past week (and long before) by the current President, several of his attending lawmaking cronies, and family members who were clearly involved in inciting and perpetuating violence and destruction on the Capital and those within to exact their “stop the steal” directive. In my mind, regardless of party affiliation, the events of the past week–and leading up to it– should alarm and disgust us all as human beings. If the sitting POTUS who incited / supported / perpetuated these events were a Democrat, I would be equally appalled, and most certainly and definitively separate myself from the ideology and outrageous actions of that person (and said cronies) to defend what is humane and true versus stand by and watch our Republic crash and burn in the hands of those who would organize, direct, and support such an attack, just because I’d voted for him or her four years ago. (Below image is from Kenny Holston at the New York Times).
We all saw videos and reports of the President prior to the attack, inciting his crowds to use force; or perhaps the video of the Trump family celebrating behind closed doors as the crowds mobilized towards the Capitol; or maybe the one where the President said “we love you” to those who attacked the Capitol and its occupants and defiled the interior of this glorious building that is the symbol of our Democracy. Sure, janitors and aides can clean the FECES off the walls (yes, there were people who literally smeared their poop on the walls and used their boots to smudge it on the floors as they paraded down the hallways; some even urinated in lawmakers’ offices). Workers can replace windows that were broken and maybe fix some of the antique furniture or artwork. But the white supremacist symbol of a gallows flanked by Confederate flags (the image I tried to share is copyrighted and will not let me post), along with redesigned American flags with the Trump name on them–all carried to the Capitol and intended to reclaim a 150 year old cry for what was the Old South? This is not a quick clean up or fix it.
Just a reminder that the Confederate flag was designed to represent a divided nation–a division some in our country want to recreate.
This flag represents a time when eleven US states broke from the Nation to defend the practice of slavery. Why is it that 150 years down the road we continue to see this symbol? That gallows was not just for Pelosi or for Pence, as some in the angry crowd chanted; it was constructed to highlight a central belief of those who marched on the Capitol. You can say it ain’t so, but if you sat watching your TV and agreed with this behavior, you should begin to investigate whether you are complicit in white supremacy. This is too important to overlook when we talk about what kind of leadership we want for our clearly divided Nation. It is bigger than just reaching across the aisle and shaking hands and saying, “Okay, let’s just forget about the past and move forward.” We have a history to deal with here, and it will take each one of us to determine what our future as Americans looks like and what we stand up for as human beings.
Be ye Democrat or be ye Republican, we are all Americans, and I, for one, want a human being who represents ALL Americans. I could write a list of who ALL Americans are, but I’ll start with black Americans. Only when the most disenfranchised among us can glimpse the safety, security, and ideals we stand for as a Nation will our country actually represent us all. If you don’t think white supremacy is an issue here, I urge you to watch some of the more disturbing videos of what happened last Wednesday. Here is an op-ed piece from CNN that integrates multiple media source videos and provides an commentary on the day’s events: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/10/opinions/capitol-attack-white-supremacy-daniel-black/index.html
The most horrific video I have seen personally, which I will not post here, is the one of Police Officer Brian Sicknick being hit with crutches, a fire extinguisher, multiple American flags (the sickening irony), and stamped on repeatedly. Please read about this officer and how he died. It is frightening. It shows how easily a crowd of people can be incited to violence and actually kill someone–in this case a white person who looked just like them, only he was protecting our Capitol and therefore ALL of us, and for that he was beaten to a pulp and stepped over as onlookers yelled “Get that mother-f**ker out of there! Drag him out!” All to the tune of a larger audience chanting “USA! USA!” or “FREEDOM!” My heart is still beating furiously, and I am crying out loud as I listen again to the audio of this moment to make sure I am quoting it accurately. (I cannot watch the tape again).
Some might say the people who attacked the Capitol represent only a small number of Republicans, but they are the ones that showed up to take the Capital and exact their ideology. Don’t talk to me about Antifa being on site and doing the damage, because that has already been disproven and is simply a verbal scapegoat for those who chose to engage in last Wednesday’s attack or stand in the shadows quietly cheering on the perpetrators. I can guarantee many Republicans, including many of you who might be here reading this, would say these people do not represent you. You might even say they are not true Republicans. But they are organized. They have an agenda. And this will happen again if we don’t snuff out the opportunity for our current President to persist in his menacing message once he leaves the office next week.
There is such a thing as healthy ego. There is such a thing as respectful leadership. I will say as a human being, Trump lacks both of these. I’d like to be assured our elected officials know what these things are; but we the People also need to understand what they are and how to use them for the betterment of all Americans and ultimately the entire Human race.
Madisyn Taylor’s readings are short, clear, bipartisan, and sensical. Maybe something as straightforward as these encouragements will remind us to take a look at ourselves in the light these passages shed, as well as helping us to see where the exiting POTUS lies in light of these two topics, and in hopes that the incoming POTUS will operate with an awareness that brings the balance we all want to see in our Presidency and which, I believe, will begin to restore decency to the office and help us to actually reach across aisle to figure out what it is to be an American, since I’m feeling a little disillusioned with all the labels lately. So let’s just start with Human Being.