A couple of days ago, I wrote a post wondering if Mike Pence was finally “woke” (much as I hate that expression). He’s now made it clear that he’s still snoring. In a letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Pence wrote that he has no plans to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office.
I’m not surprised that Pence won’t cooperate. I had faint hope that he’d grow a spine, and my opinion of him did go up last week when he addressed all of the right wing whackaloons who stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, condemning them for their violence. But given that Trump has just a week left in office, it doesn’t surprise me that Pence would rather not be part of an action that would kick his boss out of office. It doesn’t matter, though, since Trump is going to be impeached for a second time, and he will be the first president in U.S. history to have such a “distinction”. I would be satisfied to know that Trump can’t run for office again.
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends are arguing amongst each other. I do still have some conservative friends on Facebook, and more than a couple of them have been engaging in a bit of “whataboutism” regarding last week’s riots versus the riots that occurred nationwide last summer, due to the Black Lives Matter movement.
I have not been getting involved in those arguments myself. I see them as different entities. BLM was supposed to be a movement bringing to light the injustices faced by people of color when they come into contact with law enforcement, as well as racially motivated violence. It’s a fact that many people of color have been injured or killed by police officers, and even if they aren’t arrested, people of color are more likely to be racially profiled. In 2013, many people were rightfully outraged that George Zimmerman, who was a private citizen, was acquitted of killing unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin, thanks to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Since then, there have been other cases of Black people being injured or killed in racially motivated altercations. For instance, George Floyd, was absolutely helpless last May when he was arrested by Minneapolis cop, Derick Chauvin, who had rear handcuffed Floyd and knelt on the man’s neck, resulting in his death. People were and still are rightfully pissed.
It’s also true that last summer, a number of demonstrations became violent and resulted in destruction of property and looting. I condemn the violence and criminal activity that arose from the BLM riots of last year. However, I support the movement itself, because I think there’s ample evidence that, on the whole, people of color have not been treated fairly. I absolutely think they have a right to protest, even if I don’t condone violence, theft, or destruction of property.
Last week’s riots in Washington, DC were not about peace or promoting fairness. They were about a large group of white people– many of them men, armed with weapons, wearing body armor, and carrying zip ties– who felt emboldened to disrupt democratic proceedings. They were engaging in treason and, in the process, also destroyed property, looted, and killed and injured people. For some reason, these folks can’t accept that Donald Trump lost the election and will no longer be in charge as of next week. They can’t fathom that over half the country does not want him to be the president anymore, and they’re trying to disenfranchise people who made their wishes known with their votes. They allowed an unhinged orange dude to rile them up and incite violence. And they don’t seem to understand that the orange guy isn’t going to help them, now that they’re facing the consequences of their stupidity.
Yesterday, I shook my head as I read about some of the people who were involved in last week’s uprising being arrested. The widely photographed Shaiman guy, 33 year old Jacob Chansley (aka Jake Angeli) is now sitting in an Arizona jail cell after turning himself in to federal authorities. I read a story about his mother complaining that her son hasn’t eaten anything since Friday, because he only eats organic food. You know, I’m not usually one to say things like, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”, but maybe ManBearPig should have thought about his aversions to gross jailhouse food before he decided to storm the Capitol. He says he didn’t commit a crime, since the doors to the Capitol were “open”. Yes, but I think he knew full well he wasn’t supposed to go barging in there, right? And he was in Washington, DC to stir up trouble. And he sure did find it, didn’t he? I wonder if it was worth it to him and his cronies, now that they’re being arrested and charged with crimes.
I don’t see BLM and what happened last week as similar situations at all. The only thing that they have in common is that they attracted criminal behaviors among spun up, outraged people. It’s never okay to destroy property, steal things, or hurt or kill people in the name of a “movement”. But I think BLM is very different from “Stop The Steal”. It’s been repeatedly proven that our election was fair and there is no evidence that votes were tampered with. I think what we have right now is a bunch of white people who are pent up and legitimately fed up over COVID-19 restrictions, mixed with their own distrust and dislike of people who aren’t like them. They’re afraid their way of life is going to be disrupted. Well… it sure will be disrupted if they land in a jail cell, right? Violence is not the answer and won’t lead to positive resolutions or change. And while Mike Pence won’t acknowledge that Trump incited the riots, a whole lot of us know what he won’t admit. Donald Trump is directly responsible for the catastrophe that occurred last week. He egged on the most radicalized of his followers to try to overthrow the government, and that is not acceptable. Trump needs to face serious consequences for his actions. It’s too bad Mike Pence is too cowardly to do the right thing. But again, I am not surprised.
I have never in my life seen so much polarization caused by a political leader. I’ve seen many people breaking up friendships and even family relations over Trump. Last night, I was talking to my mom, who dislikes Trump as much as I do, telling her about how people on my dad’s side of the family are ardent Trump supporters. There are only a few of us on that side of the family who don’t support Trump. When we speak out, a few of the Trumpers on that side of the family can’t stop themselves from arguing. Just last week, one of my cousins, who is not a Trump fan, posted a rare status update on Facebook, denouncing the riots. Another cousin immediately took her to task about it. Then, when I commented in support of her statement, the same cousin tried to argue with me. I politely told him to fuck off. I mean, I didn’t actually say, “fuck off”, but I did politely ask him to leave me alone. There was a time when I really liked him a lot. He used to be one of my favorite relatives. Now, I can barely stand talking to him, because he won’t let people express themselves without overbearing commentary on why their opinions are “wrong”. He’s especially overbearing toward women. I’ve found that getting into arguments with people, rather than having a respectful conversation, rarely leads to anyone changing their views. It’s just annoying and aggravating, and it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to look at him in the same way I used to, before Trump was a thing.
It’s depressing and sad to watch the news and worry about what kinds of violence and mayhem will occur next week. I hope the DC cops and military are prepared for what’s coming. I’ve read that it won’t just be DC that gets targeted. There are also “storms” planned for state capitals, which may be besieged by batshit crazy people who feel emboldened by Trump and want to disrupt peace in an especially difficult time for people around the world. I can only hope and pray that some of them wake up and get with the program.