I was watching a very funny, dark comedy type of program called “Death to 2020” on Netflix. I enjoyed it so much and silently thought 2021 should be a different year God Willing. Then Wednesday January 6 happened- the insurrection on the US Capitol. We were face-to-face with so many things all at once. It was jarring, it was shocking, it was scary. We never think it will happen in our own backyard or our own country. These things were reserved for third world countries, where society and institutions were still reeling from poverty, ignorance and lack of development. In fact, aren’t we the ones riding in to rescue many a country and help them with democracy, in the process destroying much as well?
Election fraud happens regularly in those countries. But here, the citadel of democracy, where so many rules and checks and balances exist for fair and accurate elections, the “lies and rumors” of election fraud were enough to anger people to hurt other fellow citizens! Aided by a leader who is a sore loser among many other things, and technology and media platforms that churn out lies in echo-chambers, we saw educated (not poverty-stricken) people act like maniacs in the sacred citadel of democracy.
I was reading the profile of the woman who died; she had been in the air force, and had a pool servicing business, which was not doing well. Like many people who have lost jobs due to seismic changes in manufacturing and energy economies, there are people who expect more from government than it has delivered. The irony is that their leader Trump had a chance to help them in the last four years- could he not do it, and what was in the way? It seems to me that both parties even though claiming different platforms are perpetuating a system that disenfranchises many and rewards a few. When you couple that with a shift to a knowledge economy and highly skilled immigrant population which is not just surviving but thriving in this economic mega-shift, you have this type of explosive situation. The formula is simple for power-hungry leaders: light a fire to the anger, find a scapegoat, and watch the fun. Truly sad and not leader-like. And it has happened throughout history.
I feel lucky to live at a time where we are challenged so much, and have to really put our heads together to find better systems, where public leaders, corporations and institutions are held accountable, where human beings have dignity and respect and never find themselves so angry and entitled that they hurt each other. I know this is a lot to expect, but then this is the United States of America, a Union still forming and finding its way to a more perfect Union- it is possible.