2021 started off with an attempted coup by the sitting president of the United States. Trump called on his cult followers to come to DC for a Stop the Steal rally to fight like hell and take their country back, setting them loose on the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral college results. All of the members of Congress were there, plus the vice president. They attacked police and then broke into the building where they destroyed property and took possession of both chambers, calling for the death of the vice president and speaker of the house. Domestic terrorists rang in the new year by attacking the US government, egged on by the president.
Trump was impeached and acquitted for a second time because Republicans support and defend totalitarianism. The Republican Party is no longer a legitimate political party. It has been taken over by conspiracy theorists, fascists and racists. QAnon believers were sworn in to Congress in January which pushed the party over the edge. A group of them helped plan the insurrection. Only 2 Republicans dared to break with the pack — Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger both of whom have been ostracized by their own party.
There was an escalation of hate crimes against Asian Americans, states kept passing new Jim Crow laws to restrict voting rights for people of color, the working poor and students — all citizens who tend to vote for Democrats. Mass shootings started back up again after the vaccine and schools could reopen. The feds started investigating Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz for sex trafficking, racist cop Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering unarmed black man George Floyd, Rudy Giuliani’s apartment and office got raided by the FBI, the Trump Organization is finally being criminally investigated by the state of New York, the covid virus keeps mutating and spreading because cult members refuse to get the vaccine, straining hospitals and health care workers to the point that patients with other life threatening conditions have to be turned away and doctors and nurses are quitting from exhaustion. Cult members are making life miserable for everybody by not only spreading the virus, but they keep showing up at school board and city council meetings, and public businesses to make a scene over their liberty being taken away over masks. Republicans started mass racist hysteria by telling people that their kids will be taught about racism in school. The governors of Texas and Florida turned their states into the pariahs of the nation. Texas found a way to outlaw abortion, let people die by freezing to death and getting covid, and made guns more accessible and dangerous. Florida is the capitol of sex crimes, home to mob boss Trump, and is flooding from climate change. Covid is really bad there because the governor refused to close schools or businesses, mandate any public health protocols, covered up the true number of cases and deaths, and promoted a covid cure that financially benefits him.
Democracy is hanging by a thread because the Republican party still holds power and Trump is still the leader of the party. Women’s rights and abortion rights are in real danger. Hate crimes and gun violence are on the rise. Trump exposed the dark side of America and unleashed a hateful, ignorant, racist, ridiculous mob on the rest of us. Bad people have come out from behind the shadows to practice their hate out in the open.
On the flip side, two new Democratic senators were elected in Georgia giving Democrats control of the Senate, House and the White House. President Biden’s $1.9 covid relief bill, the American Rescue Act, was signed into law and checks were sent out the next day. The US finally took its place as #1 for vaccination rates and new pills have been developed to save lives. Merrick Garland was confirmed as attorney general and got to work cleaning up the justice department and investigating the attacks on the Capitol and democracy (very quietly.) President Biden signed executive orders to control gun violence. For the first time in history, a president addressed Congress and the nation with both a female vice president and speaker standing behind him. Speaker Nancy Pelosi put a bi-partisan select committee together to investigate the insurrection, denying certain Republicans the opportunity to participate because she knew they were part of it.
The vaccine put people back to work and got kids back to school, childhood poverty has been cut in half, the war in Afghanistan ended, the US is back in the Paris Accord and the World Health Organization, damaged relationships with allies and world leaders are being repaired, Confederate statues started coming down, Juneteenth (the end of slavery) became a national holiday, Georgia turned blue and the bi-partisan Select Committee and DOJ is getting to the bottom of the insurrection, we have more minorities and women in positions of governmental power than any time in history, and Trump is being investigated, and killer cops are finally being tried and prosecuted for murdering Black people.
George Floyd inspired a nationwide movement. Millions more people understand the issues that Black people have been dealing with for centuries. Systemic racism and its dangers are being talked about for the first time in history. Watching George Floyd tortured and murdered woke the country up and motivated millions of people to get out in the streets. Until now, most people who aren’t Black didn’t know much about voter suppression. White people didn’t pay much attention to it because it didn’t affect them. It does now. White supremacy has come for the swing states.
The insurrection FAILED. We have a NORMAL person in the White House with decades of legislative experience AND 8 years of experience as vice president. He’s doing a damn good job at putting pieces back together that Trump shattered, including the guard rails that were designed to keep somebody like Trump from ever happening. For him to succeed, citizens need to do their part by staying engaged, and the media needs to stop vying for clicks, likes and shares by entertaining and competing for audiences, and get back to reporting and informing the public.
We’re not going to get back to normal because there is no normal to return to. We have to change and it won’t be easy or fast. Real transformation is hard work. We’re about to create something that hasn’t existed anywhere before. We’re not going to rebuild anything, we’re going to build something new. America has always been an experiment and it’s always had its fair share of jerks. What we want and can be doesn’t exist anywhere else. We’re figuring it out as we go along and right now we’re in the burn it down stage so it’s uncertain and scary. That’s why we’re all so freaking anxious (and tired!)
Democracy is infuriating, messy and frustrating as hell when it’s actually practiced. Dissent, input, transparency, giving everybody a voice and considering all opinions is no fun and a lot of hard work. There are lots of conflicts and it takes a long time to reach a consensus. Republicans suck at this. They excel at autocracy — everybody get in line and do what you’re told. The Democratic Party is the only party that values the process of democracy. It’s always going to be harder and longer for the Dems to get stuff done.
Trump exposed the dark side of America and that’s a good thing. He didn’t come out of nowhere. The Republicans prepared the ground for him to roll in on. They made one huge mistake — they didn’t know how dumb the guy really is. He wasn’t supposed to rip the mask right off of the Republican party and expose the demon behind the curtain.
Now Americans need to get rid of the demon by doing it the democratic way, by voting it out, in 2022.
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