2020 presidential election, assault on the Capitol, insurrection, January 6 2021, Martin Luther King, Politics, quotes, Trump
Like so many Americans, I’ve been struggling these past twelve days to wrap my mind around what happened on January 6: The attempt by the President of the United States to overthrow the government by inciting his followers to assault the Capitol and force Congress to overturn a free and fair election in which President-Elect Biden won by a landslide.
It was such a shocking thing to watch live, in real time, on TV. The horror of it still has not faded as we learn more and more about how it came about and who was there. As we learn what they planned to do to Vice President Pence and Speaker Pelosi. As we wait to see if further threats of insurrection will follow.
While the House immediately impeached Donald Trump for the second time, this time for inciting insurrection, we are waiting to see if the Senate will convict him, ensuring he will never be able to run for public office again.
And we are waiting to see if the majority of Republicans in Congress, who are now calling for unity and healing, will admit that Biden won the election fairly, as all the countless court cases, recounts, and investigations have proven. For there can be no unity or healing if nearly 80 percent of Republicans, as a new poll tells us, believe the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Trump.
But we citizens cannot wait for others to do the right thing. We cannot wait for a new administration to heal our nation. It’s not just the alt-right media that is promulgating the Big Lie. It’s not just government that’s divided. It’s WE, THE PEOPLE. And we must do what we can to dismantle the Big Lie and bridge the Big Divides that are threatening to destroy our country.
I have some ideas about that. But first let’s hear what Martin Luther King, Jr. has to say on his celebratory day.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
First, MLK reminds us, we cannot be silent. We have to speak out to our neighbors and family members, our local newspapers and political pundits, our state and national representatives. Wherever we hear the Big Lie about the stolen election being repeated, we must counter it with facts as relentlessly as they promulgate the lie. And we must do so not as adversaries, not with outrage or scorn, but as concerned citizens with facts and reason. Patiently, steadily, calmly. Over and over and over again.
Second, we must not wait. We must see this as the “fierce urgency of now.” We must do so with “vigorous and positive action.” We can’t wait until after the Inauguration, after the Senate trial, after the investigations and hearings to speak out, to dismantle the Big Lie. Those who erroneously believe the election was stolen are taking up arms against America NOW. Each of us individually cannot stop the collective action, but we can individually, one-on-one, each in our own way, by whatever means open to us, help to dispel the Big Lie and bridge the Big Divides wherever we encounter them, and especially in our own families, neighborhoods, and communities.
Third, we can join with others to do so. Bridging the Big Divides between Red and Blue, Black and White, the immigrant and native born, the privileged and disenfranchised, the wealthy and those struggling to pay the rent is long, hard work. Endless, it seems. And endlessly needed. We cannot shirk it, or wait for others to do it for us. But we need not do it alone.
Fortunately, there are lots of organizations working to address these disparities, reaching across the divides, working to find common ground. We can find these groups and support them locally or nationally, with our donations or as volunteers. We can support these causes on our media pages and blogs, as poets and artists, each in our own way, doing what we can.
There’s one cause I would like to take up. I’m not sure where or how, but I will be researching this, and I think it is essential for not only dismantling the Big Lies but bridging the Big Divides. And that is trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. It was introduced in 1949 and abolished in 1987 by President Reagan.
It was after the policy was abolished that all the hate-filled talk-radio shows began to indoctrinate their audiences with all sorts of Big Lies. It’s when unprincipled media organizations like Fox News, and now NewsMax and others became the propaganda arms of political parties. It’s when “alternative” “facts” began to compete with true facts.
We can’t build common ground if we can’t agree upon a common set of facts based on the truth. We can’t debate the issues, we can’t develop persuasive arguments, we can’t change hearts and minds if we are living in alternate realities.
The horror of January 6, 2021, will be with us forever, just as the horror of 9/11, and the horror of this Covid pandemic. And sometimes it seems that so many “horrors” are piling up that we just want to turn away from the chaos, turn off the TV, retreat into some private and soothing oasis. And sometimes, to save our sanity, to refresh our souls, that’s just what we need to do. But not now. Or at least, not for long. Because our Nation needs us to speak out, to do our part in dismantling the Big Lie, bridging the Big Divides, so we can HEAL.
Martin Luther King, Jr, once again, puts it so eloquently, this “fierce urgency of now,” and leaves us with a final aspiration of hope.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
Writing to Freedom said:
Thanks for caring and being willing to act upon your values Deborah. I share your concerns, and feel we need to address the core problems first. Big money and corporations which distort and control both our media and politics. And working to bridge the divides as you mentioned. We must find our common humanity and shared values to rebuild our country, hearts, and politics. And maybe most important, we need to nurture love and unity in our hearts.
I heartily agree with all you’ve said here! Thanks, Brad.
Writing to Freedom said:
Well done for speaking out. My brother who has lived in the States for many years now (a British citizen) plans to return to the U.K.
May you heal soon !
Thank you. I’ve heard that Canada too has had a huge influx of immigrants from the US these past 4 years too!
A couple of thoughts on a post I generally agree with. While I agree that Fox News and Newsmax have been biased propaganda tools of the right for years, I also think that the mainstream media has started to head that direction on the side of the left in recent years. Nowhere near as bad as Fox and its ilk, but they’re getting there. The Fairness Doctrine might do something about that, but the problem is that over the last few years, a lot of the “talent” on mainstream media have revealed their partisan beliefs so there’s no returning to the days when our media at least appeared to be impartial.
The other problem is that the “media” is not the main way people are informed these days. If there isn’t something done about the spread of lies and propaganda on social media nothing accomplished by re-establishment of the Fairness Doctrine will make a difference. Social media really has become a toxic cesspool. It needs a good cleaning.
I tend to agree with what you’ve said here as well. I do know that some networks like CNN and NBC have invited reps from both sides of an issue, but quite often only the Dems show up. But you are right, there needs to be more fairness in their coverage too. That doesn’t mean we need to here ‘both’ sides when one side is being untruthful, like the climate change deniers, or the ones who claim the election is stolen, unless they actually have legitimate, science-based evidence to back them up.
I’m glad some social media platforms are trying to be responsible and not allow dangerous lies to multiply on their sites.. But maybe they also should have the Fairness Doctrine be applied at east to the news agencies they allow on their platforms and to the stories they allow members to circulate. I don’t think we should police opinions of individual members, But conspiracy theories delivered from agencies pretending to be news outlets should not be allowed to be shared. Especially now that we know how dangerous that can be.
Until this year, I had stopped watching CNN or any of the other big mainstream news channels. But with retirement and everything going on, I’ve watched a lot of the channel. There was a time when CNN was a news channel, but over the last few years they became a talking head channel where 99% of the talking heads are clearly anti-Trump. And that’s all they did 24/7 for the last four years was bash Trump. Understand, I can’t stand the man and his enablers and followers, but I’d like our news channels to actually be news channels and not just extensions of one party or the other. The other thing that bothers me is when I see the tweets and other social media posts published by people who are supposed to be impartial reporters and journalists. Those posts and tweets reveal even more their partisan preferences. I support free speech, but there are certain jobs where you don’t get to say whatever you want whenever you want. I worked for elected officials for over 15 years and knew that I couldn’t use my social media platforms to say things contrary to their politics. The same should be for journalists and reporters – their social media presence should be non-partisan.
I agree with that too. I think things had gotten much worse on the cable news channels during Trump’s administration, mainly because he was lying so much. It’s like they had to set the record straight all day long.. Also I think when Fox became so anti-Clinton and anti-Obama, the other networks may have swung the other direction more than they would have to make up for Fox becoming a propaganda arm of the republican party. I hope things can swing back to more fair and balanced news now, which is why we need to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.
laura bruno lilly said:
I admire your altruism, Deborah. And your ability to ferret out a path to make a difference on a grand scale.
My personal efforts are meager but birthed out of deep passion…I stand with you!
Thank you, Laura. So many people are standing up for democracy and justice, and that is so heartening!
“We can’t build common ground if we can’t agree upon a common set of facts based on the truth.”
And we can’t. We won’t.
I’ve followed you for several years, appreciating that you carry a different view than I do. You’re part of my check on my own perceptions.
While your other commenters laud your comments, I wonder and ask; just how befuddled were you last summer? How upset were you to hear (if you did hear) the new Vice President promote the continuation of violence and riots around the country? How abhorrent was it for you to NOT hear the new President come out week after week to call for an end to the riots? Where was your outrage when the Federal Buildings were attacked in the Western States?
While America burned last year, our politicians on one side promoted the chaos while others decried it. The President offered National Guard and was rebuffed by Governors and Mayors. Only yesterday, Jan 20th, Antifa continued its rioting in Portland.
We cannot, will not, come together while celebrities and media and politicians on the Left call for ‘reprogramming’ and ‘silencing’ and ‘quashing’ of 75 million voices.
What you and many other voices like yours ask for denies the reality of the size of the divide created in the past two decades. We no longer share a common moral or civil code as a foundation. In reality, like in the mid -1700’s and the mid-1800’s, the civil war is already happening. Only the level of violence hasn’t caught up. The Left ‘worships’ at the altar of Relativism, that is, what’s good for you is for you, what’s good for me is for me. There is no objective moral or civil truth.
I pray the violence does not expand. Every night I pray. For it to be halted we have to all quell the rhetoric, we have to all find that common moral and civil ground, and the rule of law must be followed.
That includes due process for the 45th President of the United States. Will the Senate heed the sentiment you echo?
Enough. I’ve written enough. I’ve written beyond enough. My own site carries details beyond details for more than two years of this, as does my linked in site. Anyone truly interested in crossing the chasm between us can begin there.
Grace and peace… we all need it.
I hear you and appreciate your response. What’s strange is that I did hear Biden and Harris last summer condemning the violence and looting many times while also recommending the peaceful protesters and their cause. So why didn’t you hear it? What news channels do you watch? I have heard on Fox the same claim you make. But it simply isn’t true.
As for “reprogramming” suggestions, I don’t like that either, but I think it was directed toward the QAnon followers who claim Democrats in Congress ate baby eating pedifiles. I think you would probably agree such beliefs are crazy and disturbing and those people probably need help.
The rioting in Portland yesterday should be condemned, and I do so here. It’s disturbing to hear these anarchists don’t even want to give Biden a chance to address their issues. Violence and looting is always wrong and those who do so should be arrested and held accountable. Biden was a bit busy yesterday and has his hands full of cleaning up a lot of messes left for him by the last administration, but I guarantee that if he is questioned on this, he will condemn them as well.
I’m not sure why political disagreements between the left and right should lead to civil war. I think our differences can be bridged in a strong democracy when we find common ground. Naturally we will strongly disagree on many issues, but that was true for our founding fathers as well, yet they came together to form this great nation. But we do have a lot of healing to do, and I hope we can continue our conversation. Peace and grace to you too.
Short as quick…1st para; Fox/NPR last summer/fall. 2nd para. generally the comments are about Trump supporters/voters, not QAnon specific. 3rd para: inexplicable why the Mayor/Gov continue to allow this level of violent protest. 4th para: Founders had a common moral ground. The U.S. no longer has that, including a loss of allegiance to the Constitution demonstrated by lack of respect for the Flag.
If you and I can have conversation, others ought be able to do the same. Thanks for taking time to respond.
Yes, I hope more of us will talk to each other and am glad that we two are doing so, both on this blog and on your blog, which I’ve enjoyed for a long time too.
comments above are intended for the author, not the respondent LBL.