I hope what I watched yesterday are the final death throes of one of the worst years in our country.
On January 6, 2021, Congress held a joint session to confirm the results of the national elections, an event usually symbolic in nature, only to have their session interrupted when protestors (insurrectionists) breached the walls and entered the building to stop the proceedings.
There was talk before this of Republican legislators choosing to not accept the electoral judges votes for Biden, which would have pushed us to the brink of our democracy. Instead, an "attempted coup," as CNN describes it, halted the proceeding before they got to that point. Security around the building was not prepared for the mob that approached them. It's hard to believe how easily and quickly they were able to access the building while every single member of Congress, the current vice president and future vice president were in the building. Think about that for a minute the next time you are tempted to compare this event to a Black Lives Matter protest where some white guy lights a Target on fire.
Some quotes from this evening:
"Can the United States last for the next two weeks with a president who incites acts of violence?" CNN anchor.
"Are these the death throes of something, or are these birth pains? Will we come away from this broken...or better?" Van Jones, CNN commentator.
Whatever happens from this...we need a reboot.
I hope that we can actually have a peaceful transfer of power. And then, when the dust has settled and the smoke cleared, we need to re-assess what it means to be the United States of America, what it means to be a Democrat, a Republican, independent, non-political, a citizen.
I believe our two major parties need to be challenged. If you actually talk to someone who is on the other side of the fence (talk to, not type at), you'll discover that their party does a lot of things they don't agree with. There are a lot of parts of the Democratic platform that I don't agree with: there is a lot the Republican party stands for that people who consider themselves Republicans don't agree with as well.
For us to survive as country we need:
1. Term limits. No more than 6 years in office for House of Representatives, no more than 12 years (2 terms) in the Senate. No more focus on fundraising, re-election campaigns, political futures. Do your jobs and focus on the needs of the American people. Then leave and become a private citizen.
2. Campaign spending reform. Companies are not people and do not get to donate to political campaigns. Too often legislation goes the way of whomever spent the most money to make it happen, and not the way that will help the most people. Check out represent.us for more on this.
3. A strong third party that pulls the moderates from both parties. Leave the far left and right in the original two and create a party that meets people where they agree.
4. A reinstatement of the Federal Communications Commission fairness doctrine which requires broadcast media to address issues important to the public and to provide "fair and balanced" coverage of issues. This doctrine was in place from 1947-1987 and it was removed by the urging of emerging cable networks who said it had a "chilling effect" on free speech. That it did, if you wanted to spread conspiracy theories and bald lies about someone. (In case you didn't catch it, Fox News, the network that had pushed for the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, began reporting yesterday evening that the people who committed insurrection yesterday were actually BLM and antifa people. Sure...because BLM protestors like to carry around confederate flags and have white supremacy tattoos...)
5. An expansion of FCC regulation over social media networks. Regulation has not kept up with technology where news is shared; clearly we need to expand this because the industry has proven that it cannot and will not patrol itself. Watch The Social Dilemma for a better understanding.
And finally...and this is the biggest one..
6. We need to address the myth that we live in a post-racist society, fess up to the human rights violations that this country was built on and begin the process of reparations. We have a sitting president (for the next two weeks) who, in a presidential debate, would not denounce white supremacy groups and said to the Proud Boys, an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a hate group, to "Stand down and stand by." He then spent the last two weeks encouraging his followers to disrupt the proceedings
The difference between how BLM protestors were treated over the summer — when peacefully protesting for the right to not be killed while going about their lives — and the way the mobs yesterday were treated was yet another nail in the coffin in the myth of "justice and freedom for all" that we purportedly live in.
We've got two weeks left before Biden is inaugurated. Let's hope that we can survive these 14 days as a republic. Then, let's get to work.