A Few Thoughts About Yesterday …

Well, my friends, it’s been quite a 24 hours, hasn’t it?  Y’know … I’ve heard many people in the past day say, “This is not who we are”.  Often in the past four years, I’ve said it myself.  But today, as I attempt to take in all the news, attempt to figure out who I hate more, Donald Trump, those who have enabled him for the past four years, or those who did his bidding yesterday, I came to a conclusion:  Yes, this is who we are, or at least this is who a good portion of this country are.  It’s not who I am, and if you’re reading this blog, it’s not who you are, but … it’s obvious that there are many out there for whom yes, this is exactly who they are.

And following that realization, I ask myself, can “we” and “they” find a pathway to mutual respect, can we find a way to live side-by-side in this nation in peace and harmony ever again?  It is too soon for me to answer this question, for I’m still far too angry to step back and assess it with a cool head, but it’s a question to ponder for another day, and one that I think we will need to try to answer sooner rather than later.

Yesterday’s chaos didn’t only affect the United States and those of us who live here, but was heard and felt around the globe.  How could it not be?  We are, whether some choose to believe it or not, all interconnected, we rely on each other in this global era.  What happens here has ramifications far and wide.  Here are some of the reactions from around the globe …

“The scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying. Solidarity with those in 🇺🇸 on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” – Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy. From inflammatory words come violent deeds. Contempt for democratic institutions has disastrous effects.” – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

“In this sad episode in the U.S., supporters of fascism showed their real face: anti-democratic and aggressive. American society and institutions react with vigor to this threat to democracy.” – Luis Roberto Barroso, Brazilian Supreme Court justice and the head of the country’s electoral court

“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.” – Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister

“Closely following what is happening in Washington DC. These images are shocking, also because they hurt our democratic ideals. They show the extent of President-elect Biden’s task, which will be to unite American society around a common project. We trust him to do that.” – Sophie Wilmès, Belgian Prime Minister

“Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US – what is happening is wrong. Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.” –  Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

And from our own, former President George W. Bush …

george-w-bush“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.  This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

And from the incoming President-elect, Joe Biden …

Featured Image -- 66441“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America. This is not who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end. Now.

You’ve heard me say this in different contexts: the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite. To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest. It is insurrection.

The world is watching — and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope, and democracy has come to such a dark moment.”

It is past time for Donald Trump to be removed from office, and I’m not sure this nation can afford to wait another 13 days until Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office.  But then again, might his removal by the 25th Amendment set off fresh attacks like the one we saw today … or worse?  Barring his removal, I think that at the very least, Mike Pence, Congress, cabinet members, and perhaps even the Supreme Court must find a way to tie his hands (and mouth) until January 20th.  This ‘man’ has no business having his finger on either his Twitting machine or the nuclear codes.  Think about it.

America’s Wake-Up Call — Jeff & Jill Are Baaaaack!!!

The date for the re-start of mine and Jeff’s project, September 11th, came about quite by accident … to start with, that is.  We counted back eight weeks from election day, picked the first Friday in those 8 weeks, and … were stunned to see that with this logic, our first post would be on the 19th anniversary of 9/11.  Nineteen years … wow.  In some ways, it seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it?  The building I was working in, a publishing company here in Cincinnati, has since been demolished, but I remember the exact place I was standing when one of my staff called me over to tell me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  The rest of that day is a blur, but that single moment in time remains frozen in my mind.

For a number of reasons, 9/11 is very personal to me, as it is to many of you but that isn’t my focus with this post.  This is the final leg of mine and Jeff’s project, started back in January of this year with the goal of helping our readers understand the importance of this election year, the issues, and why it is so crucial that each and every one of us do our part.  It just happens, though, that this anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, provides us with a good lead-in to jumpstart our project.  The title for this second half of our project is “America’s Wake Up Call”, and by the time you finish reading this post, I think you will understand why.

On September 11th, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one that we believe was headed for the White House that was brought down by heroes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  In under two hours, our lives were changed.  At that time, President George W. Bush was at the helm.  No matter what happened later, no matter what mistakes or poor decisions he made in the months and years that followed, I will always remember him for what he did in the hours and days that followed:  he united us.  He comforted, he understood, he grieved along with us.  His was the voice of caring, of compassion, of intellect, of … calm and reason.

This is the text of his address to We the People on the evening of 9/11 …

bush-2Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

Now, fast forward to 2020.  Can you envision the current occupant of the Oval Office, whom I refuse to refer to by the title of “president”, giving such a speech or acting in such a rational manner as G.W. did on that day?  Try to imagine, if we had a similar crisis in this nation today, how Donald Trump would react.  He would screech, he would point fingers, his face would be twisted into a hundred contortions.  He would blame … he would blame Democrats, he would blame Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer.  He would blame any and every one of us in one way or another.  Would we feel comforted as we did nineteen years ago?  Hell no!  We would be terrified! 

Bush-1George W. Bush united the people of this nation … he brought us together in our shared grief, and helped us to understand that we needed to reach out to each other, that we were all in this together and that together we would get through the days ahead, the loss of loved ones, the shattering of our lives.  Donald Trump is not anywhere near the man that George W. Bush is and was on that day.  Donald Trump would use the crisis as a means to drive the wedge that already exists between the people of this nation just a little bit deeper, to cause us to fear one another instead of reaching out and offering comfort, just as he has done with the current pandemic.

I can offer at least one hundred reasons that Donald Trump must be defeated on November 3rd, that Joe Biden must be elected, but this may well be the best reason … we need a leader who leads, who cares about us, who has the intelligence and demeanor to remain calm in the midst of a storm and unite rather than divide.  We do not have that leader today … let’s make sure that next January we do.

Discord & Dissent Table of Contents

A Nation Shattered by Stupidity

Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters has mirrored my own feelings perfectly! Great job, Jerry!

On The Fence Voters

Bush warned the nation in 2005.

America as we knew it prior to 2020 is over. Finished. This once-great nation will likely never fully recover from the effects of COVID-19—and, more significantly, from the stubborn stupidity of Donald J. Trump and his naïve, dimwitted followers. Thousands of Americans have died and hundreds of thousands more will die. And you, my fellow white evangelicals who jettisoned the values you once claimed to cherish in order to pursue your new messiah, Trump, you have blood on your hands.

A decade from now, when historians have completed their analysis of the nation’s demise, the pandemic of 2020 will be cited as playing a notable role in America’s downfall, but the intransigent idiocy of nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population—made up largely of white evangelicals—will be revealed as the primary factor.

I refer to the nation’s demise not in a hyperbolic sense. By…

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Remembering …

Good Monday Morning, friends.  Jolly Monday will return in its usual format next week, but for today, without apology, I am doing something a bit different.  I came across something that I felt was a timely reminder and important for us all to read, to think about, to remember.  This came from a Facebook page I follow, the Jon S. Randal Peace Page.Peace Page

In 2005, a foreign army made its way toward the southern border of the United States.

As the convoy and troops passed Mexican villages on its way to the U.S., people in the villages cheered, waved, honked car horns and rang bells to support the mission of their troops.Mexican armyThe Mexican army, its trucks emblazoned with large Mexican flags, crossed the border at Laredo at dawn and advanced up Interstate 35, arriving in San Antonio later that day. The Mexican Navy would also send ships, buses and helicopters. It was the first Mexican military operation on U.S. soil in 90 years.

Mexico had sent its people to help and feed their neighbors – tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

To backtrack, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It would be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, and it became obvious very early on that U.S. aid agencies and relief/support was overwhelmed. People in Mexico were horrified to see scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts.

Mexican President Vicente Fox would send his condolences to President George W. Bush, saying, “In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina”. He would also instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs its neighbor to the North would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.

“This is just an act of solidarity between two peoples who are brothers,” said Fox’s spokesman, Ruben Aguilar.

The Mexican government, with support from its citizens, would send a 45-vehicle convoy, which included two mobile kitchens, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water-treatment plants and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce, according to CBS News.

The 195 Mexicans taking part included military specialists, doctors, nurses and engineers.katrina-mex-2According to the Washington Post, the Mexican soldiers set up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio, where they distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.

The Mexican army even brought beef to serve their neighbors, but the USDA blocked the distribution. Undeterred, the Mexicans bought their beef locally.

According to former diplomat Stephen R. Kelly, by the time the Mexican army completed their mission, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations at a time when the United States was struggling to provide aid to its own citizens in devastated areas.katrina-mex.jpgMexican sailors also assisted with clearing downed branches and other storm debris in Biloxi, Mississippi, where they posed for photos with President George W. Bush, who thanked them for their help.

Kelly, who was a former U.S. diplomat who served in Mexico from 2004 to 2006, would say, “this doesn’t sound like the Mexico you’ve been hearing about lately — the one that has been ripping America off, the one that sends rapists and criminals across the border . . . it was an extraordinary gesture” of humanity from our Southern neighbor.