What Did We Just See?

It’s hardly worth posting the images. We all saw what happened right? The Capitol ransacked by a mob of people wearing red?

Ok, here, I’ll post one image.

What? Not the image you were expecting?

That is the U.S. Capitol in 1814, courtesy of the grudge-holding British, who showed back up over here, drunk and surly, looking for a fight. Basically the entire reason for the Second Amendment, preventing something like this, and well the result was pretty much the same as the Capitol Police stopping the trump mob of Jan 6.

Oh right. You thought we were discussing that? Why bother. Everyone else has it covered.

It’s wild, to use a descriptor favored by trump, to think how divided we are. And divided isn’t the right word.

Lost. How lost we are.

We can’t even answer a simple question with any agreement.

What am I looking at? What did we just see?

I want, like so many other articles, just just make a sweeping argument that what we saw was sedition by a mob, an attempted coup by a bunch of suckers, following the lies of a carnival barker. And everyone should agree with me.

But they don’t. Some people saw patriots. Some saw anarchy and they love it. Some saw a last chance to change an election. Some saw white power. Some saw hate. Some saw treason. Some saw a double standard compared to the protests last summer. Some saw complicit cops. And so on.

We are so tribal, we are so locked into our closed loops, that something as insane as a mob taking over our capitol will be interpreted 100 different ways, with our own feedback loops telling us “Yep. that is what I saw too.”

And around we go.

We assign meaning to what our eyes perceive. We add or subtract value, make judgements based on our own internal systems. Then we have others validate us.

In 1814 it was probably pretty clear to the locals – they saw the British come F the place up. But even then, you have to think there were a few old-school Loyalists in the weeds thinking, “Good”.

So what did I see yesterday? Well, I can start with what I didn’t see.

I didn’t see Muslims, or Blacks, or Socialists, or Anarchists, or the transgendered, or the recipients of Obamacare, or commies, or Mexican cartels, or immigrants, or aliens, or the Germans, or the Jews, Obama, or anyone – pick your fear-factor group – tearing up our capitol.

Nobody since those naughty Brits in 1814 has raised their flag in that building. Nobody. Not the marchers in the 1960s, not Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, not women of the suffrage movement, not the Mcarthy Hollywood commies, nobody has done what happened yesterday. Except for ONE group. The one telling us to fear all those other groups. The army of trump.

I saw a group of people, supporters of a lame duck president, decide to invade a building as the certification of the Electoral College votes was occurring. The consequence of that action was the death of four people.

That is about as simple as I can describe it.

The rest, the perception of the event, well, that’s the troubling part. Are we past any sort of consensus? Will it be possible in the next four years for us to come, not together, but drift closer to agreement on something so simple – what are we looking at? Strip away the assumptions and fears and hyperbole and look HARD as a group at where this is going? Can we do that? Because our great experiment as a free and democratic society depends on it.

Or, is it time to burn it all down, and start over?

Something to consider.


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