Local Perspectives on the January 6 Insurrection

Flowers on the fence at the US Capitol

When most of us think of Washington, DC, we picture the monuments. We fondly remember that middle school trip to visit the Smithsonian where we also took in Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center, or a family vacation for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Maybe you’re an avid follower of the National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam. Or maybe you’ve traveled to DC for the famous Independence Day fireworks and concert on the National Mall. Maybe you’ve even, pre-pandemic, visited your Member of Congress in her/his office or taken a tour of the White House or the US Capitol.

The thing is, more than 700,000 people, average people, REAL Americans (if I may), LIVE in DC. The US Capitol is right in a residential neighborhood, with thousands of regular people – some of whom had to evacuate their homes on January 6 because violent white supremacist Trump supporters planted IEDs at the DNC and RNC headquarters – living steps from the Capitol complex. As I’ve written about before, they lack representation in Congress, which includes limits on local control, self-determination, or their ability to protect themselves.

What I want to do today is link to writing and reporting from and about actual DC residents to help folks outside the area understand what our fellow Americans are going through right now, to empathize with them, and to remember that the thousands of people who live in DC are just as “real” as people who live in Kansas or Louisiana or Idaho or anywhere else in our beloved country.

(Yes, I understand that cops are, largely, problematic. But these particular cops, on this particular day, were heroes.)

To conclude, from a local reporter:

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When you look at the iconic images of our nation’s Capitol, remember the real people who live there who are in real danger right now, and keep them in your thoughts and prayers, particularly in the coming week.

Image from DCist

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

We Tried to Fucking Tell You and You Said We Were Shrill, Too Sensitive, Had Pneumonia

Decades and decades ago, women were complaining about domestic abuse and the police and society in general were like, “Well, quit making him mad and, besides, that’s a private issue, we can’t get involved.”

And then women said, “Gee, when I try to go in to see my doctor there are people standing there with obscene signs, screaming at me and blocking my entrance,” and the police, and society in general, and all the liberal bros were like, “Well, they have a right to scream at you, and abortion is icky, and we’d rather focus on free college.”

And then Robin Morgan wrote Goodbye to All That and said, “Even liberal men are acting like sexist pigs,” and the media and liberal bros were all like, “Shut up, you dumb bitch, and xerox these anti-war memos.”

And then women said, “Gamergate is getting us doxed, and threatened, and harassed,” and the media and the liberal bros were like, “Oh, they just want journalistic ethics in reports about gaming and, well, gee, stop being so sensitive. Maybe you chicks don’t belong in the gaming world.”

And then women said, “Being a woman on the internet is dangerous and painful. When we express opinions about anything men dox us, and threaten us, and harass us, and generally run us off the platform,” and the liberal bros were like, “Whatever.”

And then women said, “Supporting Hillary Clinton online is dangerous, and painful, and this shit is serious. We have to retreat into private chatrooms just to express our points of view,” and the liberal bros were like, “Good. See ya. Write in Bernie and if Trump wins, well, it’s that bitch’s fault for not going to Wisconsin.”

And last week the anti-abortion, male domination, pro-patriarchy, white supremacist crowd showed up armed and ready to hang people at the Capitol and all the liberal bros were like, “Whoah! Where’s that come from?Q?Q!Q?Q!”

Women are so goddamn sick and tired of trying to tell you stuff and being ignored.

Picture found here.

Words for Wednesday

The Snow Fairy

~ Claude McKay

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there, 
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky, 
Whirling fantastic in the misty air, 
Contending fierce for space supremacy. 
And they flew down a mightier force at night, 
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot, 
And they, frail things had taken panic flight 
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet. 
I went to bed and rose at early dawn 
To see them huddled together in a heap, 
Each merged into the other upon the lawn, 
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep. 
The sun shone brightly on them half the day, 
By night they stealthily had stol’n away. 

     II 

And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you 
Who came to me upon a winter’s night, 
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew, 
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light. 
My heart was like the weather when you came, 
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long; 
But you, with joy and passion all aflame, 
You danced and sang a lilting summer song. 
I made room for you in my little bed, 
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm, 
A downful pillow for your scented head, 
And lay down with you resting in my arm. 
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day, 
The lonely actor of a dreamy play. 

Picture from Pinterest.

Monday at the Movies

This is a lovely way to escape for a bit from the madness of the day. If for nothing else than the views of the Yorkshire Dales . . . .

We Know How Abusers Operate

For many years, it’s been OK for the Republicans to heap scorn on the other side. Those of us who aren’t Republicans also aren’t “real Americans.” We’re “coastal elites,” even those Democrats (often of color) who work serving meals, doing data entry, and emptying bed pans in big city hospitals. Elites, every one. We’re such assholes that we eat arugula, put dijon mustard on our sandwiches, wear tan suits, and drive Prisuses instead of monster trucks. We’re “libtards,” and “socialists,” (even though the Rs have no idea what that means). They announce that we “hate America,” even as we serve in the armed forces, pay our taxes, participate in our democracy, and volunteer in our neighborhoods. Our religions don’t matter — Hillary Clinton talked about her Methodist faith in almost every speech she gave and that was ignored. Joe Biden goes to Mass every Sunday (as did John Kerry) and the Republicans say that Biden will “hurt god.” And we’re told that we’re “snowflakes,” too sensitive and too fragile. There are people in my neighborhood right now who have bumper stickers and flags that say, “Trump 2020 — Make the Liberals Cry Again.” Trump can label every single Democrat with one of his school-yard-bully names (Crooked Hillary, Sleepy Joe, Phony Kamala — the list is endless) and if you object, you’re just being too politically correct.

Somehow, the opposite is never true. If Hillary says that it’s deplorable for people to be racists and sexists, it’s bad news for years. Democrats must always be “reaching out to the other side,” examining themselves to see how they could possibly have failed to win the Evangelical vote and/or the vote of white supremacists. You hear it in every speech Joe Biden gives, pleading with people to recognize that, “We’re the United States of America.” (Narrator: Joe, we are not.) He keeps insisting that he can “reach across the aisle and work” with Republicans who have been accusing him of stealing an election and who have been attacking his son. When the Democrats win, they’re urged to “reach out” and appoint some Republicans to cabinet positions. The minority of Americans who voted for Trump must “be heard” and have “an outlet for their frustration.” If that means raging through the Capitol, smashing windows, smearing feces, and stealing laptops, well, gee, they were upset at the election. (As someone noted, when Hillary’s supporters were upset, we knitted pink hats and got to work registering voters to elect Democrats in local and state elections.)

Now, the Rs have finally gone too far.

After Republicans committed this week’s bloody insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, even Joe Biden is calling them out for their Nazi behavior. Even Twitter finally (years and years too late) blocked Trump. Even moderate Dems are calling for Trump to be removed.

And, oh, my goodness.

The weeping, and wailing, and shadow threats, and virtue signaling. One of the most-used tropes is that if Dems call out fascist behavior, if Twitter enforces its terms of use and bans Trump, if Dems impeach Trump, well, then “WE CAN”T HAVE UNITY. DIDN’T YOU SAY YOU WANTED TO WORK TOGETHER??? WELL, LISTEN LIBTARDS! THAT CAN’T HAPPEN IF YOU HURT OUR FEELINGS, YOU SNOWFLAKES!!!” It’s kind of like the ridiculous trope where conservatives call for our execution and, when we say, “No, it’s not OK for you to do that,” they say, “Oh, look at the intolerant left. I thought you guys were supposed to tolerate different points of view.”

First of all, those of us who have lived with abusers know this behavior all too, too, too well. “Don’t do that or you’ll make me mad.” Also, it’s ALWAYS your fault when the abuser loses control and hits you, destroys things, cancels plans, makes life hell. “See what you MADE me do?!?!?” he says, as if he, the master of the universe, the strong one, the one that weak-you must obey, had no agency at all. Running around and making sure that the abuser isn’t “triggered” (that’s the title of Don, Jr.’s book because, according to them, we’re always being “triggered,” — every accusation is projection) can become a full-time job. I remember a friend who was married to an abusive alcoholic. Her daughter had grown up in that toxic environment and spent her life trying to manage things so that daddy wouldn’t be mad. “Mom, do we have dog food so dad won’t come home to feed Buster and get mad if there’s no dog food? Mom, I can do the laundry so dad’s shirts are clean. Mom, do you want me to stay up to fix dad a hamburger when he comes in? Mom . . . .”

So we have Republicans — who have spent years destroying any national unity we might ever have had — now suddenly demanding that we not “trigger” them because THAT would destroy national unity. Why would it destroy national unity? Because if we dare to call out their Nazi tactics or remove their unfit president from office, they will CHOOSE to behave like abusers. “If you call the police after I hit you, it will be your fault when I lose my job, beat you up worse, get mad and throw away all the kids’ toys.” Your fault.

Second, let’s talk about unity, and coming back together, and reconciliation. Those things don’t just happen and they don’t happen because the victims just swallow all that’s been done to them and pretend it never happened. (Trust me. I grew up in a dysfunctional family where that was exactly what was expected and, no, it never changed the dysfunctional behavior.) Those things CAN sometimes happen, but they require something from both sides of the aisle. They require Respect (especially for the victims), Relevant Education about what has happened and who did it, Reciprocal Relationships (where BOTH SIDES must both give AND take), and Responsibility (where the abuser acknowledges what they have done, what it caused, and why it was wrong.) Want unity? Apologize for Trump, for cozying up to Russia, for racist cops, for rape culture, for, well, there’s a long list. Let’s get some reparations. Let’s hear how YOU are going to change your behavior. Let’s talk about what YOU did wrong and how you’re going to stop yourself the next time you feel like doing that. No one here is stupid enough to believe that if the Democrats had been craven enough to not stand up to what happened this week, the Rs were suddenly going to go all kumbaya, pass Biden’s legislation, and wear masks in the middle of a pandemic .

Third, let’s talk for a minute about free speech — you know, the supposed reason why Twitter can’t banTrump for violating its terms of service, why Biden can’t criticize the Republican’s “big lie” that the election was stolen, why it’s horrible for Hillary to say that racism is deplorable. Before I retired, I was a lawyer and we lawyers have this affinity for “the text.” In this case, the text is the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment only tells us what Congress (not corporations, such as Twitter) can not do. It says that Congress can’t make any law that “abridges” freedom of speech or the press. Here, “abridge” means to shorten or curtail. So Congress can’t pass a law that bans Trump from Twitter, at least based on what he expresses.

So, just to be clear, when we say that “Americans have free speech,” or “You can’t violate my First Amendment rights to free speech,” we mean that the government can’t abridge or curtail political speech. We’re not talking about other entities besides the government.

Republicans have for decades defended corporations. Any regulation of any corporation has been suspect. So, a corporation, such as Twitter, can (and does) impose any terms of service it likes. If you violate those terms, Twitter is free to ban you or to revoke or abridge your ability to use its service. If a bakery doesn’t want to bake a cake for your gay wedding, your right to “freedom of speech” (not to mention your First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion) doesn’t mean that the bakery has to bake your cake. The bakery isn’t Congress, so it can tell you to pound sand. If a store doesn’t want to serve people who won’t wear masks, that store is free to refuse to sell to you, to not admit you into their store, to fail to help you buy what they sell. The store’s not the government and it can refuse to sell to you and your right to free speech isn’t even invoked. If an employer (in one of the many at-will employment states, which Republicans have endorsed) wants to fire you for not getting the COVID vaccine, or for showing up on YouTube hurling racist insults at your neighbor, or for posting a Facebook picture of yourself making the white power symbol — well, that’s the employer’s right. You were employed “at will” and don’t have any recourse. (Hey! All those regulatory protections were only for libtards, anyway, right?)

Bottom line: Republicans aren’t interested in “unity” or “coming together.” The last four years have shown that. They’ve spent that time calling us nasty names, demonizing us, and doing all they can to marginalize us. Republican assertions that Democrats are harming any chance of unity are simply based upon their belief that “unity” is an effective club to use against Democrats when Democrats are in power. Republicans aren’t concerned with freedom of speech. Their pleas to avoid “cancel culture” and “political correctness” are simply based upon their determination to continue to demonize us without any pushback.

My Wish List

For the Biden/Harris, Dem House and Senate first 100 days (and I’m right):

  1. DC Statehood – it will make LITERALLY every other thing Dems want to accomplish easier. It’s past time to end this injustice.
  2. ERA – women are the ones who did the work to bring about all the change that we’ve seen in the past four years. We’re owed.
  3. Voting Rights Act – particularly in the past few days, many people have observed that the Southern states aren’t red – they’re purple states where Black votes are being suppressed. Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown, and a host of other Black women activists have been KILLING themselves organizing for years to produce Tuesday’s Senatorial wins in Georgia. They shouldn’t have to.

Yes, there are MANY other things that are critical to address: the TrumPutin admin’s disastrous pandemic response and equally fucked up vaccine distribution roll out, climate change, prosecuting the TrumPutin crime family, including holding them and Congressional Republicans like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley accountable for attempting to overthrow the US government.

But first thing’s first.

Image from LaTosha Brown’s Twitter feed.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Trump 2020 Make the Liberals Cry Again

Shortly after Trump was elected, but before he was inaugurated, I put up a post about how much damage he could do and was assured by a BNP that I was being hysterical.

And we all heard variations on that theme. Our neighbor with the “Trump/Pence Fuck Your Feelings” flag assured us that he’d survived Obama and we’d survive Trump. And if we weren’t a child thrown into a cage, or a black man shot for nothing, or one of the hundreds of thousands of COVID victims, or one of the people who lost their job in this economy — well, maybe we have survived. So far. But that doesn’t make it OK.

What happened yesterday in DC was horrific, but not surprising. Many of us knew that this is where we were headed and we knew it back when he was elected.

Next time, maybe listen to women and people of color.

Real-World Results

Todays events, although horrifying, aren’t surprising. Many of us saw this coming five years ago and tried desperately to elect Hillary Clinton, instead. But unconscious sexism is a real thing. And so, the fact that she gave some speeches to Wall Street, or used a secure email server, or got pneumonia, or whatever was blown way out of proportion while all of Trump’s gigantic character flaws, crimes, and dangers were downplayed, ignored, treated like interesting quirks. Without even being aware that we’re doing it, we hold women and men to very different standards.

And, here we are.

Unconscious sexism has real-world results. Today, we saw some of them quite clearly.

Monday at the Movies

I’m adding this to my list. It’s getting great reviews.

And Round and Round the Wheel Must Turn

/Hat tip: Byron Ballard