Memorial Day and January 6th

Robert Reich wrote a “Memorial Day” post that I thought was quite good. He brought (once again) to the forefront the ridiculous claims of Trump as related to his 2020 election loss, and pointed out the fact that several who participated in the January 6th uprising have been found guilty of seditious acts against the United States.

But even more than what Robert wrote, I found the comment made by one of the people who follow his column (LeMoine Surlamont) even more moving … and I include it here.

There is no question that Donald Trump is guilty of seditious conspiracy. It has been clear since the events we all watched real time on January 6, 2021. The fact that Trump isn’t already behind bars speaks volumes to the cowardice of our elected officials, from Joe Biden, to Merrick Garland his appointee, to pretty much every member of congress. They fear the backlash, political and otherwise, should Trump be punished for his crimes. And if he is punished, it will be at Mar-A-Lago in a felt ankle bracelet that will tinkle, should he wander off the back side of his golf course. As a Veteran, I have never felt more ashamed of this country than I am this Memorial Day.

There’s much I could say about what this person wrote, but I would rather let each reader react in their own way to his words.

The Radical Minority

pulseFollowing is a portion of Heather’s recent newsletter. While she always seems to have her finger on the pulse of this nation, sometimes her insights are so clear and direct, it’s uncanny.

But as the last ten months have made clear, the right wing does not really intend to let the voters of the states make decisions that contradict right-wing ideology. 

After the Dobbs decision, Republican-dominated legislatures immediately began to restrict the right to abortion, although it remains popular in the country and voters have rejected extreme abortion restrictions in every special election held since the decision. Now Republican legislators in Ohio are trying to head off an abortion rights amendment scheduled for a popular vote in November by requiring 60% of voters, rather than 50%, to amend the state constitution. 

Gun safety shows the same pattern. A new Fox News poll out yesterday shows that 87% of voters favor background checks for gun purchases, 81% favor making 21 the minimum age to buy a gun, 80% want mental health care checks on all gun buyers, 80% want flags for people who are dangerous to themselves or others, 77% want a 30-day waiting period to buy a gun, and 61% want an assault weapons ban.

And yet, Republican majorities in state legislatures are rapidly rolling back gun laws. Republican lawmakers in the Tennessee legislature went so far recently as to expel two young Black representatives when they encouraged protesters after the majority quashed their attempts to introduce gun safety measures after a mass shooting in Nashville. But they were not alone. Last week, when the Nebraska senate passed a  permitless concealed carry law, Melody Vaccaro, executive director of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, shouted “Shame!” multiple times. She has since been “barred and banned” from the Nebraska statehouse. 

The attempt of a radical minority to enforce their will on the rest of us, who constitute a majority, by stealing control of the states and then, through them, control of the federal government is precisely what the Confederates tried to do before the Civil War: it is no accident that one of the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, carried a replica of a Confederate battle flag.

Although what she has written is not surprising or exceptional to many of us, it is still worrisome. One  can’t help but wonder where things will eventually end up.  I suppose all we can hope for is the Party with the most common sense will be the victor in the end.

“A Call to Battle”

I just came across a rather lengthy article at that referenced a meeting earlier this year between President Biden and the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

President Biden Welcomes Brazilian President Lula To The White House
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speak to the press before a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on February 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. President Lula da Silva is visiting the United States for the first time since being elected as Brazil’s president. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

I’m quoting a portion at the beginning of the article that stood out to me … and which prompted me to continue reading (even though, as some of you know, I generally avoid long articles).

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Washington earlier this year in the glow of a glorious comeback. Freed from prison, elected to a new term as president of Brazil and triumphant over a Jan. 6-style insurrection, the left-wing populist seemed to embody the endurance of democracy in an era of extremism.

But in private meetings with progressive lawmakers and labor leaders, Lula delivered a dire message, according to four people present for the discussions.

Though poisonous demagogues had fallen in both Brazil and the United States, Lula warned that a global web of right-wing forces continued to threaten political freedom. Voters crushed by economic inequality and confused by a torrent of social-media disinformation remained vulnerable to figures like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, the brutish strongman whom Lula barely defeated last fall.

In Washington, the 77-year-old Brazilian leader issued a call to battle: The left needed to build its own transnational network, Lula said, to fight for its political values and take on crises like economic deprivation and climate change.

(I added the above emphasis because I feel the warning is valid and one that those of us who support a progressive position need to keep in mind.)

I also felt the following statement in the article was spot-on: 

Lula’s exhortation represents an overdue challenge for the U.S. left. For all the influence they have exercised on domestic policy, left-wing Democrats have not yet managed to articulate a distinctive transnational agenda.

That has been a missed opportunity.

It is not that progressives do not care about the rest of the world. They just tend to engage it as a scattered array of flashpoints and pet causes, without telling a more universal story about the struggles of the 21st Century.

I hope you will take the time to read the entire article … and report back on how it affected you. 

For me, there were many points that gave me pause and even generated a sense of anxiety. While I fully support several of President Biden’s moves, in many ways I tend to agree that he has not been forceful enough in dealing with influences from the Right. 

In any event, I look forward to your reactions.

As Others See Us


Once again I find myself quoting someone else’s words … but sometimes, other people have a way of expressing exactly what I’ve been thinking and it seems so much easier to let them tell the story. Thus, following are the comments made by a contributor to the Pubic Forum of our local newspaper:

We were recently honored to host a group of Canadian family.

I thought it interesting to hear their views on our crazy American situation. Here is what I heard.

  • They do not understand how we idolize the rich and powerful and allow these elites to get away with anything. Where is the common value of law and order for all.
  • They compared the American culture to a Roman Colosseum where the masses are trying to survive everyday while the 1% watch the fights and cheer them on from the stands.
  • They all agreed that it’s odd that the GOP and MAGA want to blame every little thing on Biden and Dems. When in fact the world over has the same or far bigger problems. Like the cost of gas. No president actually has the power to control the cost of fuel.
  • They mentioned the American culture of exceptionalism. Years back this was much more true than it is today. Look at the numbers and America is far behind in many areas like children’s education, poverty, and health care. Many other advanced countries surpass America in these basics.
  • “We don’t get the gun thing”. Yes Americans have a strong gun culture. But they thought our founding fathers did not mean the right to bear arms was above the rights to freedom and safety which are even more important. They had a couple mass shootings in Canada the last 10 years but virtually none compared to us because of their strict gun laws. Laws that did not impose on hunting.
  • Our culture “God and Country” go together with what they see as the ‘White Christian’ majority. The irony is these same Christians absolute opposition to other religions. Our country was founded on freedom of religion.

The contributor ended by saying he’s lived in many other countries, but he still prefers America and urges us to “keep it a strong democracy.”

I agree.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay