Words Matter

I mean, ya gotta write about it. They’ll write about it for decades. Centuries? In 2253, second graders will still learn about the day the president told an angry mob to attack the U.S. Capitol. Of course, that won’t happen, humanity will be long gone. Baked and broiled in our ever-heating atmosphere. Only the cockroaches survive this.

Words matter. This isn’t a surprise. Look at the steady stream of news articles starting in 2015 suggesting that Donald Trump’s language is making the country more dangerous for religious and ethnic minorities. Type Trump into the search bar on this blog. I’ve been saying this since the beginning.

Lot’s of finger pointing at the Capitol Police. “Don’t look at us,” they say, “who could have known this would happen?” Gimme a break. Congress was tallying the electoral vote count at the same time a planned riot met on the door step. How could they not know this would happen.

Over the past few days, high-level administration officials began bailing out of the White House. It makes me wonder why. Why now? Why not when Trump mocked a disabled reporter? Why not after his famous grab ‘em by the pussy recording? Why not when he called African nations shithole countries? Why not when he extorted the president of Ukraine? Why not when he told the Proud Boys to stand by?

See where this is going? Since 2015, for six years, Trump has issued an ongoing torrent of disqualifying remarks. Things no president would ever say. “Fine people on both sides.” “Americans who died in war are suckers and losers.” “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong… We will never give up. We will never concede. Our country has had enough. We’re not going to take it anymore.”

This last bit is what he told his supporters as they prepared to march to the Capitol while the vote took place. Later, he told the group that ransacked the Capitol “we love you, you are very special.

Yeah, yeah, so what’s the point. Trump spent the last six years spewing crude, demeaning, hateful language. And people listen, they absorb. And then they imitate. Trump’s done more to degrade American civic culture than anyone in history. No, it’s not a shock that things blew up at the Capitol. The only surprise is that it took so long for it to happen.

The night that Trump was named the presumptive nominee for the GOP, I tweeted out “today reminds me of the start of the second chapter of a post-apocalyptic novel.” I regret those words. I joked about something I knew was true. There was no question in my mind that democracy was in peril.

There’s a call to pull Trump out of office. To impeach him or invoke the twenty-fifth amendment before he does something really stupid. Don’t forget, the guy controls the largest nuclear arsenal on earth. I say this can’t happen soon enough. Yes, I’m a little worried about an unhinged president at the helm, but more importantly, our leaders, republican and democrat, need to show the world we’ve had enough. We’re finally ready to change.

30 thoughts on “Words Matter

  1. Unfortunately so many have excused his rhetoric for so long that it will be a study in psychological intransigence to watch them be unable to disavow their previous enabling or dismissal of his behavior. Let’s hope but I am not holding my breath that this will be a come to Jesus moment save for personal brand rehabilitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well another reader just reported that half of republicans polled thought the siege was fine. That’s a quarter of the nation. I worry that our problems are insurmountable. People believe this Q Anon nonsense, that flying the confederate flag equals patriotism, etc, etc. As a nation, we aren’t intelligent enough to climb out of this hole.

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  2. It is indeed telling that it had to get THIS BAD before so many rats (Republican politicians) jumped ship. But, still not enough of them, and way too late for those who did. Polls today asking if it was okay for the rioters to do what they did show nearly half of Republicans think yesterday’s events were just fine. How is that possible? How to we deal with that idea of “patriotism?”

    Words do matter. And actions. I, for one, will not forget and I will not let those complicit these past several years rewrite history to hide their shame.

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    • It’s unbelievable that those stark images didn’t sway the whole country. A local politician in my town suggested that republicans and democrats need to work harder to understand each other. This is BS. I don’t want or need to understand why someone storms the capitol and threatens our elected representatives.

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  3. The only part of that whole mess that surprised me was that more people didn’t die.
    We’ve been talking about the very real possibility of civil war for a while.
    Jan 20 isnt going to make the MAGA Hatter nut jobs put their guns away and sit down quietly. If we dont show everyone that there are REAL consequences, then we’re doomed. We may be doomed already.
    But I’m an optimist, so I’ll hold on to my hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you about lack of casualties. We know how things would have turned out if they were people of color. Hard to be optimistic with such dissension, but at least a change of power is coming. Chance for a reboot.

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    • I often think about how this will all be viewed fifty years from now. Hopefully everyone will be appalled by the MAGA movement. Of course, apparently lots of people aren’t appalled by the confederacy, so I’m not expecting much. (Oh right, I plan to still be alive in 50 years.)

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  4. I agree 100%. I told my husband and son-in-law when they laughed at trump putting his name in the running that it wasn’t funny ( that’s the kind of insight 33 years of teaching gives you ). I think this outrage is certainly justified but , I agree, where has it been? After the dust has settled and I can say trump’s name without snarling , I want to try to ask someone who I think is reasonable what they admired or respected about him . ( the search for that unicorn begins probably in June)

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    • Who better than a teacher to recognize a bully. I’m fearful that when you go on your unicorn hunt, trump will still be relevant and calling the shots for the republican party. Might have to wait longer to get an honest, thoughtful answer. Saw you in the paper the other day and smiled. The Y is unbelievably lucky to have you. (I wanted to call it the “Y” the whole time I worked there. Happy I get to do that now.)

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  5. I watched the speech and the aftermath in horror and thought of you. You nailed it although I was thinking that the president leading the crowd to take over the capitol would have even surprised you a little. I can’t believe how easily they got inside. I was surprised how republicans actually supported such awful un-American behavior. This entire presidency has never been about America. It has been about an ego that I agree, isn’t done yet. I am scared about what he is going to do next because it is apparent that he has enough followers who are willing to do anything, no matter how awful.

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    • When you see disaster lurking around every corner, it’s hard to be surprised when things go bad. Breaking his following is key. That’s why I think republicans (not democrats) need to remove him from office. The 25th amendment or an overwhelming vote to impeach him is necessary. We already have learned if it’s just a few they’ll be dismissed as RINOs. What a mess!

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  6. January 6 is a day we will never forget. The two Georgia senate wins and then the insurrection. I felt intensely angry and then numb watching the mob storm the Capitol. I want every one of them to pay. Loss of jobs (if they have any), jail time. These are misguided and despicable people. Their leader has caused deep damage to our country. He needs to be removed now. So do some of the GOP senators and representatives who helped to create this monster.

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    • I’m happy to see law enforcement take it all seriously, Those idiots posting selfies on instagram are being rounded up like cattle. I doubt it will stick, but I anticipate criminal charges for Trump on this one. We’re such an embarrassment.

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  7. Unfortunately, a lot of people learn very slowly, particularly if its information they don’t want to be true (like Trump is a dangerous, personality disordered individual–obvious to many, and others, willfully oblivious). I am grateful that at least now half of the “republicans” are getting it. 75-80 percent is a really good start. There will always be resistance, but we are going in the desired direction. Longer and more complicated haul than any of us want. You bet. There’s a lot of that going around right now.

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    • Hopefully people will learn and we’re not listening to Trump again 2.5 years from now as he launches his primary campaign. Maybe he’ll be in jail. That would be some fun irony if Mr. Lock-her-up got sent to the big house.

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  8. What a hideous day in the history of our country. The poll tally you referenced above makes me sick to my stomach. I see many ‘friends’ on facebook, essentially not understanding what the big deal is. It takes every ounce of restraint not to respond or react. Sheesh. I do think you are right about having the Republicans get him out of office (not the Dems). We can only hope that dream will be realized here in the coming days.

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    • Last spring, anyone who wasn’t an IRL friend and/or I questioned their politics, I unfriended. I get a very narrow set of like-minded commentary now. Not very challenging intellectually, but it helps keep my blood pressure down. It was either that or drop facebook, and as stupid as it is, facebook is useful sometimes. The 25th amendment thing isn’t going to happen. It will be interesting to see if any republicans vote for impeachment.

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  9. There are times I wish I had magical powers much like a combo of Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth, Superman’s ability to see through walls, fly through the air and ability to blow cold freezing air at bad guys. For if I did you could be certain I’d use all that to line up the lot of seditious bastards…I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination as mine is working overtime on visions of payback. Now if I can just get Trump and his family into my retrofitted space x rocket with oxygen tanks removed Ill send them to the nether regions of space.

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    • Yes, send that Trump clan directly towards the sun. They could use a little heat. The weirdest thing I read about the siege is that while it went on, Melania had a crew in the White House photographing furniture for her up-coming coffee table book. I envision her telling the camera crew “Don’t stop, the people will probably kick us out of the White House when this is all over.”

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  10. It’s hard to see where any change will actually come from, at least looking from the outside. And of course unsolicited suggestions are never welcome about anything, are they?

    Despite that, and with the invitation to delete this whole response, Jeff (or at least the next bit), here are…

    The Top 3 Things Preventing the USA from Going Anywhere But Backwards

    1. Religion. A medieval Department of Misinformation has no connection whatsoever to modern (or even post-Industrial Revolution) life. It is an anachronistic construct that prevents any kind of progress, socially or politically, by simply ignoring individual responsibility here and now. There are no deities, only a desperate and deeply human avoidance of existential truth. (This one doesn’t just apply to the US, of course).

    2. US Democracy isn’t. It is, to non-Americans, astonishing that the so-called home of democracy has a voting system (the Electoral College) that was built around horse and buggy ideas. That people simply accept you can become President with less than half of the vote is mind-boggling and indefensible.

    3. Guns. A symbol of anti-humanism (that doesn’t need explaining, does it?), of fundamental hypocrisy (see 1.), corruption (lobbying), abuse of power (recent events). That there is no sustained public debate about this suggests capitulation.

    Funny, as I read this back, it occurs to me that with a few cosmetic changes it could describe a feudal system.

    Kind Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1st, I’ve only ever deleted one blog comment, and it was nothing like this one. I completely agree with most of what you’ve written here. You might be a little hard on people’s religion, I understand why some people need to have a greater power, and an afterlife. I once wrote about the school-age boy buried next to my mom. I envisioned that belief in an afterlife was the only thing that allowed his parents to continue with their life. Me: agnostic who believes in reincarnation which may be my own coping mechanism for accepting these short lives we live.

      I consider the US political system pretty much a failure. A system that can’t take care of it’s own citizens needs to be reworked from the ground up. The problem is a leader can’t even voice these concerns. Obama once talked about not believing in “American Exceptionalism” and the whole republican party jumped on him. I believe we’re simply exceptionally arrogant. While watching the Olympics, my kids always do the USA chant because they know how much it aggravates me.

      Guns: Destroy them all.

      Over the past 11 months we’ve gotten a great look at functional and dysfunctional countries. It would be hard to argue that america doesn’t lead the dysfunctional group. Always feel free to post anything you feel here–maybe with the exception of “this post sucks.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Jeff, both for your thoughts and engagement. Yes, the existential issues are certainly at the core of belief in an afterlife (or whatever).
        That’s fascinating what you write about ‘American exceptionalism’. It seems so important to keep such ideas alive. I’ve always abhorred the Australian version of nationalism. Such primitive tribalism makes empathy very difficult.

        BTW, I haven’t read anything here that ‘sucks’! 🙂

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  11. Jeff, I finally wrote a letter to the editor of the Lancaster newspaper saying almost the same thing as you did here. I want our GOP congressman to resign. He was on the Trump bandwagon EVEN AFTER THE RIOT!!! He voted to disenfranchise our votes and objected to Pennsylvania’s electors. Unbelievable! I used the same words in my letter (250-word maximum) as the title of your post – “Words matter”.

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    • Yes, hold him accountable. Although I wonder if the message makes any difference. I’m now worried that the rise of the “RINOs” denouncing Trump will further embolden his base. Based on an article I read about right-wing internet platforms, this seems to be the case. I doubt the insurrection is done. It’s gonna take decades to undo the damage Trump did.

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      • It might happen sooner than you think, Jeff. One of the things I was struck with when I read interviews of people who were part of the mob was that before the insurrection, they were posting statements on their social media about “taking back their country by storm” and “willing to go to war for freedom”. After the fact, they all turned into weaselly little cowards who didn’t even have the courage of their conviction, whining “Antifa did it”.

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