January 6, 2021. Remember that date. Like December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day that brought us into WWII). Like September 11, 2001 — this is “a day that will live in infamy.”
My father was a great history buff, so FDR’s quote about the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan was one I heard often growing up. For him, this started the greatest upheaval of his life. 2,403 Americans died in the attack. Luckily, his beloved cousin survived. 291,557 U.S. soldiers died fighting the war.
Most of us remember where we were on 9/11. Nearly 3,000 people died that day in the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and in the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. Until the mismanaged pandemic took over our lives last year, I thought that day would be my personal Pearl Harbor. As I wrote in On the 19th Anniversary of 9/11: Remembering the Power of Community and Caring, I will always remember where I was and how it felt.
Yesterday, Trump committed sedition and treason by encouraging an insurrection against Congress, telling his followers to storm the Capital to “stop the steal.” He already has the blood on his hands of many of the 357,000 deaths from Covid-19 (our total as of yesterday, according to the New York Times) due to his politicizing and mismanaging the pandemic. That’s more Americans than we lost in World War II. Almost 4,000 people died from Covid-19 yesterday, more than on 9/11. And yet, since losing the election to Biden, Trump and his enablers have spent nine weeks trying to reverse the will of the people. No other business of government, especially addressing the pandemic, has taken place. We have thirteen days to go until Biden’s inauguration. I’m not sure I will survive these days.
I’m writing this after two nights of almost no sleep, so forgive my rambling rant. On January 5, I stayed up too late watching Georgia election returns (a ray of happiness). I was hopeful, but also nervous when I finally fell asleep for a few hours. I think I was more nervous about what would happen on January 6. I knew the attempt by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz (remember them, because they are also responsible for what happened and should not be allowed to hold office) would be ugly but would fail. I was nervous about all of those Proud Boys who were asked by Trump to “stand by.” When Trump tweeted for his followers to come to Washington on January 6 to somehow prevent Congress from its ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory, promising it would be “wild,” I began to worry in earnest.
I think most of us will remember where we were yesterday. Because of the pandemic, most of us were at home glued to our televisions or electronics, watching in horror. When my ten-year-old grandson happened to FaceTime me, I muted the television. How much should a child that age, a child whose life has already been disrupted by having no school for almost a year, know about what was happening? How could I explain to him, a black boy, why these rioters were treated so differently from the Black Lives Matters protesters? I couldn’t, so we chatted and he showed me his remote learning set up, explaining that the school computer often didn’t work but he had learned how to supplement it with an iPad.
I’m so tired. I don’t know if I can make it until January 20. I fear 2021 will continue to be a year of divisiveness and isolation. Please, can Trump just disappear now? Keep him off of social media. Prosecute him for his multitude of crimes in New York. While we are at it, perhaps a president who commits treason should pay a price. Now. Impeachment or 25th amendment?
I know I would sleep better at night.