How Did We Get Here

On this date a year ago I came rushing into this room and told my wife we need to turn on the news something is happening at the Capitol. For the next few hours we sat stunned in front of the television as a bunch of dumb hillbillies stormed the US Capitol. I remember thinking this would be a day that would have lasting consequences and it has but not in the way I thought.

A year later it feels like there have been few, if any, consequences for those involved and the attack on our country and our democracy but what can only be called domestic terrorist has largely been pushed under the rug. Our country is in a sad state and it is depressing to think about it. The worst part is that we know better.

I am currently reading the Lee Child novel Die Trying which is the second Jack Reacher novel. After beating up some racists in Georgia Jack is on the road again. This time he is wandering through Chicago when he is kidnapped by a bunch of far-right militia types and spirited off to Montana. The rednecks in the novel talk about their gun rights and how the government wants to destroy small businesses to usher in communism and the world government micro-chipping babies and so many other conspiracy theories and hogwash that is all over Facebook comment sections. It is wild.

The craziest thing about it is the novel was published in 1998 and I would image the audience for this type of novel were mostly conservative white males. They were probably the same people reading The Wall Street Journal and George Will columns.

It is now 24 years later and the conservative movement in America has gone completely off the rails. They are now acting like literal bad guys from 1990’s pop fiction. Think about that for a second. There is nothing subtle or vague about the people that stormed the US Capitol and those like them. The words that Lee Child published in 1998 that are coming out of the mouth of a bad guy are now coming out of the mouths of members of the US House of Representatives.

I have no words, no understanding, and at times it feels like no hope. There are too many apologists in this country. People too committed to seeing both sides when there is really only one side. Good and decent people can disagree about politics. The safety and security of our democracy is not a political issue. It is somewhat sad to read this book and think that 24 years ago this was an obvious bad guy that readers wanted to see Jack Reacher beat the hell out of, and now people saying the exact same things are hailed as heroes by far too many in this nation.

How did we get here? That is a question I do not know the answer to and, in all likelihood, the search for an answer would prove more depressing than no answer at all.

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