Since this has been such an awful week here in the U.S., I feel the best photos are those of baby donkeys and elephants. Anyone familiar with American politics shouldn’t miss the analogy. But please tell me – what images make you happier?
Latin, 15th century
The action of looking forward; foresight.
Example: Despite anxiety over this week’s chaos, my prospicience always compels me to be optimistic.
“The die is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th in much the same way the Whig party was destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The act unraveled the Missouri compromise and allowed for the westward expansion of slavery. The party could not survive its factionalism. There could be no more accommodation, compromise and partnership between pro-slavery and anti-slavery Whigs. A new political party was born, the Republican Party. That party will divide into irreconcilable factions on January 6th. The 6th will commence a political civil war inside the GOP. The autocratic side will roll over the pro-democracy remnant of the GOP like the Wehrmacht did the Belgian Army in 1940. The ‘22 GOP primary season will be a bloodletting. The 6th will be a loyalty test.”
Courtesy of Donald Trump:
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
In a recorded phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger
“To all of my wonderful supporters, I know you’re disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey has only just begun.”
“History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation.”
– Barack Obama, in response to Wednesday’s riots in Washington, D.C.
“Well, the deaths are real deaths. I mean, all you need to do is to go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, see what the health care workers are dealing with. They are under very stressed situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched. People are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted right now. That’s real. That’s not fake. That’s real.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, on ABC’s “This Week”, in response to guest host Martha Raddatz asking about a tweet by President Trump calling the coronavirus case and death toll “fake news” and blaming it on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention methodology
Tom Freeman’s painting of the August 24, 1814 burning of the White House by British troops during the War of 1812. (White House Historical Association)
In the fall of 1989, the world watched the Soviet Union begin to crumble, as its various satellites in Eastern Europe started breaking free from the decades-long grip of the terrorist state. The seminal moment came in November when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the democratic west joined with the communist east to form the New Germany. That edifice had been both literal and ideological; a true line between freedom and tyranny.
A month later came another equally stunning and even more sanguineous event; one that gained plenty of international attention, but seems to have faded into history. Shortly before Christmas gangs of angry Romanians stormed the central palace and captured President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. The duo was subjected to a trial and sentenced to death; afterwards they were garroted. Their demise was similar to that of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, as World War II came to an end. Bands of anti-fascist citizens captured them after ambushing their convoy and rushed them through a trial, before stringing them up like wild animals.
I imagine the mobs who invaded the U.S. Capitol building this past Wednesday felt equally aggrieved and outraged by what they perceived to be an unfair presidential election. Spurred on by the vitriolic rhetoric of their dear leader, Donald Trump, they amassed in Washington from all over the country and launched their angry assault. In behavior similar to that of developing countries, these renegades overwhelmed Capitol Hill police and managed to enter the arena where lawmakers had convened just moments earlier.
That January 6 was a critical day. That’s when elected officials gathered to certify that Joe Biden had won the U.S. presidency two months ago and would be sworn into office as the nation’s 46th president on January 20. The gangs of right-wing ideologues who disrupted that stately process demanded otherwise.
This is the first time since 1814 that the U.S. Capitol had been invaded. And that was in the midst of the War of 1812; during the early days of the American republic. Great Britain was still trying to regain control of its former colony and succeeded in burning down the capitol. That was over 200 years ago. Last Wednesday came during a war of ideology and political differences.
I have never seen anything like it in my life. Indeed, it is something more emblematic of nations around the world struggling through the growing pains of a new democracy or any new regime change. It’s similar to what happened in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, when Fidel Castro led a ragtag band of rebels into the presidential palace in Havana to overthrow the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista. Like Ceausescu and Mussolini, Batista had held onto power for many years through bloodshed and terrorism. He suppressed free speech and sought to annihilate anyone who dared to disagree with him. Unlike Ceausescu and Mussolini, however, Batista was able to leave Cuba and live out his life in peaceful exile – and wealth – in Spain.
The people who stormed into the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday aren’t freedom-loving patriots. They’re domestic terrorists; redneck hooligans supported and agitated by a psychopathic narcissist who didn’t fairly win the U.S. presidency in 2016. They weren’t the least bit upset over the blatantly fraudulent elections of that year and 2000.
For decades conservatives have lobbed conspiracy theories about mobs of left-wing anarchists swarming into American homes to seize firearms and bibles and force everyone to love Muslims and queer people. That has never happened. It didn’t happen after the raucous turmoil of the 2000 presidential elections and it didn’t happen four years ago. As upset as liberals were then, groups of enraged tree-loving abortionists and pot-smokers didn’t invade Washington and trash lawmakers’ offices. The biggest threat came from within the bastions of conservatism.
I hope devout Trumpists are happy with themselves.
One Capitol Hill police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, has now succumbed to his injuries. Four protesters also died; one of them shot to death. I’m saddened by Sicknick’s death, but I don’t give a damn about the others. Like people who drink alcohol heavily their entire lives and develop cirrhosis, they brought this upon themselves. The Capitol Hill police chief has resigned, and – as of this writing – nearly 20 people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s mayhem. Insurrection is a federal offense, and treason is technically punishable by death. The legal machinations over this debacle will play out for years.
And Donald Trump will go down in history as a president who fomented a riot and placated the rioters.
The nation will move forward, as time does – whether anyone on the far left or far right like it or not. The spirit of a truly democratic society can’t be quashed. It never has and it never will.
Since my mother’s passing in June, these have been the first holidays I’ve spent without either of my parents. Many other friends, relatives and neighbors are also gone. In the 1970s and 80s, we through a lot of parties – often just for the hell of it! People enjoyed coming to our house, as we always had good food, good music and good times. The house is strangely silent for the most part now. And all those extraordinary moments of happiness and frivolity are safely ensconced in my mind forever.
On December 31, 2010, I decided spontaneously to go out for New Year’s Eve. I had been laid off nearly three months earlier from an engineering company and wondered when things would improve. I visited my favorite bar just north of downtown Dallas and was glad to encounter a few friends and acquaintances. As I stood near the DJ booth, surveying the eclectic crowd, I suddenly recollected the very first New Year’s party my parents had decided to throw – 1973.
We had moved into our new house in suburban Dallas a year earlier. My parents had already made friends with several neighbors; their ebullient personalities attracting even the most staid of individuals. As the clock struck midnight, and we welcomed 1974, I pulled…
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“Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.”
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
“To the old, long life and treasure; to the young, all health and pleasure.”
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
Edith Lovejoy Pierce
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.”
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
Karen Kaiser Clark
“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.”
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
“Many years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to never make New Year’s resolutions. Hell, it’s been the only resolution I’ve ever kept!”
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
“The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.”
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
“This year, be structured enough for success and achievement and flexible enough for creativity and fun.”
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.”
“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”
“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
“Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas.”
“New year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.”
“Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the new year.”
John R. Dallas, Jr.
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”
“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes next year and forever.”
“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”
“You will never win if you never begin.”
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”
William E. Vaughn
“Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.”
“Every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all of our lives.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Neale Donald Walsch
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Image: ‘Seacrest Sunset’ by DecorumBY