Uncle Clarence

Those of us of a certain age will remember the confirmation hearings of one Clarence Thomas back in 1991. Many of us of a liberal persuasion perceived the scrutiny to be so extreme as to be another example of subtle racism. Offseting the outrage of watching a black man having to be judged by a group of white guys was the scandalous testimony of some of the witnesses. It was absolutely must see TV.

The testimony of Anita Hill was as compelling as any soap opera. You didn’t dare change the channel or you would miss some other salacious fact about Thomas’ abusive treatment of women in the workplace. In addition to Anita Hill other women offered to testify in support of Ms. Hill but were not called. Republicans were hot to push through the candidate that would be the anti-Thurgood Marshall. Too much scrutiny would undoubtedly disqualify their candidate. Clarence Thomas has now worked diligently on the court for 32 years to repudiate the social justice of his predecessor and to reward the Republican party for their faith in him.

How did a poor boy from Georgia whose ancestors were slaves become a stalwart for the privileged? A cheeky answer might be that he looked around and saw who held the lash. It’s easy to be the Judas goat when you realize that you have been spared while the others that look like you suffer. I think Thomas’ pathology goes deeper.

Raised as a Catholic, attending Catholic schools until graduate school baked in a conservative mindset that was not tempered by family. Nuns and priests have a very narrow worldview and it was this environment that framed Thomas’ formative years. I’m sure he learned early as many of us did, if you don’t want to get whacked with a ruler, or worse, you get on the program. Get on the program he did.

Denying his roots, he once ruled that slavery didn’t create any loss of dignity. I guess we’ll just have to take his word for it and ignore the billions of words written to the contrary.

Giving opinions that seem to fly in the face of common sense has been Thomas’ trademark. Even his most conservative peers have referred to him as a nut. Perhaps it’s been this type of rebuke that has led to his moniker as the “silent justice“. Early in his tenure Thomas decided it was better “to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Though silent, Thomas never lost sight of who had allowed him the privilege of dispensing justice as they saw fit. Rulings like convicted domestic abusers should be able to own guns and that states can gerrymander districts to the detriment of his people are but two in a long list of Thomas opinions kowtowing to the man. His acceptance of the stay indicating that he would let Trump maintain control of all of his records in direct conflict with the Presidential Records Act is but another example of the man who identifies with his oppressor.

Of course, Thomas is not oppressed. He leads a very good life married to a very successful lobbyist. So successful that she dares to call on the ouster of Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinziger from Congress for their work on the 01/06 committee. Thomas’ wife is so inside that she was invited to a meeting that included the Oath Keepers.

Her interest in the coup has tainted Thomas in an untenable way. What happens if there is a case brought before the court that Thomas knows will lead to jail time for his wife? Can we count on him to recuse? I think we’ve got 30 years of examples to know he won’t do the correct thing. He may do the “right” thing, but it won’t be the moral thing.

A man that can deny his own benefit from the affirmative action that he received but wants to deny others, has no sense of self. Retirement for Uncle Clarence can’t come too soon.

Being Right

Christian teachings command that “we turn the other cheek” when struck. Rather than strike back with as much vigor as we can muster, we should forgive the injustice and move ahead. I pretty much adhere to that philosophy until I’m confronted with the reality that some people will just continue to strike you because they are “right” and you are “wrong”, “different” or “just don’t know the facts”.

A while back I posted a piece on the Kenosha shootings, and got quite a bit of negative feedback from my Facebook friends. I use the word “Friends” because that’s what Facebook calls them. I’ve never met them, never broken bread with them, never shared stories about my children or theirs, we are just people that have some shared link that Facebook thinks we can explore, or Facebook can exploit.

I liken the feedback from my Kenosha article as akin to stepping on a yellow jacket’s nest. Suddenly you’re being attacked by a swarm of drones that only know to lash out when they are confronted with something that threatens their world. In this case, their world is the belief that society at large is empowered to walk into crowds with military weapons and provoke others with their presence.

They argue that Kyle Rittenhouse had the “right” to be there. He had the “right” to be armed. He had the “right” to defend himself from the crowd that was trying to detain what they saw as an active shooter. He had the “right” to not render aid, even though he purported to be a medic. He had the “right” to not turn himself in to any of the police scattered about the area.

The judge in the case had the “right” to withhold the evidence of Kyle beating a girl a couple of weeks before Kenosha. The judge had the “right” to withhold the tape of Kyle telling a friend he would shoot looters. The judge had the “right” to instruct the attorneys to not refer to the victims as victims, but they could be described as looters or arsonists although none of the victims had been arrested for a crime.He even had the “right” to throw out the weapons charge which was clearly a reach of jurisprudence.

The jury had the “right” to set Kyle free if they didn’t believe in his guilt, in fact they had the obligation to do so. I just wonder how some of the jurors feel after seeing this:

If the link is still working you’re seeing a paste up that Kyle did on his Twitter feed of his crocodile tears over gas prices. These are the same crocodile tears that he used to convince America that he was just a poor little misunderstood do-gooder who was trying to do “right” and help the fair people of Kenosha maintain control of their town.

I don’t know what shocks me more, his temerity or his lack of judgement. Clearly his lack of judgement has been documented, but it would seem like some sort of primal survival instinct would take hold that would flash red when Kyle attempted to act in a manner inconsistent with what all of the “right” people believe him to be. Maybe his handlers gave him some free time to be creative and this is what he came up with. The video certainly shatters the idea that he is remorseful for taking two innocent lives and maiming another.

Marjorie Taylor Green nominating Kyle for a Congressional Gold Medal, joining the ranks of other honorees like Mother Teresa, George Washington, and Nelson Mandela does not absolve him of his crimes. It is just another example of the insane running the asylum. We’ve got to do better than this.

Kyle’s lack of judgement puts me in mind of a quote from Nicole James, “You finally figuring out that being right isn’t nearly as important as knowing when to shut up.” I think the quote could fall into the category of “words to live by” for a lot of folks. Looking at you Facebook friends.

The Devil Called Him Home

 Gone but not forgotten, his ideological decisions destined to keep the “right” people feeling safe in their homes and on Rodeo Drive, we just celebrated the 8th year of Antonin Scalia’s passing a couple of weeks ago. I remember when I heard the news that he had died in Marfa, Texas I wondered if he was another victim of Dick Cheney’s friendly fire. Being reminded of his passing, I used commercial breaks to Google items of interest on Scalia. I figured that there had to be more to the man than my own lowly opinion of him. In fairness, if I was going to write about him, I should at least try to bring up his good features. You know, like he didn’t kick dogs, stuff like that.

At the time of his passing, I’m sure that all of the smart money was on his best friend on the court Justice Ginsberg being the first to go. Justice Ginsberg was 83 and barely able to keep herself awake during the first few minutes of the State of The Union address that year. Not that being put to sleep by a State of the Union address is any indicator of vitality, it’s just that Justice Ginsberg looked so weak at the time that it was a shock that Scalia preceded her. Her frailty and Scalia’s passing underscores the proposition that appointing people to life time positions is a bad idea. People are not like wine, we don’t improve with age. We get cranky, close minded, uncompromising and generally just hard to deal with.

Justice Scalia was the first Italian-American Justice, appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986. He was part of the Reagan Revolution, in which Reagan elevated Justices to the court that were far more conservative than even his own views. Scalia cloaked his bigotry and misogyny under the guise of Federalism. By turning back every challenge brought to the court that impinged on human liberties as being a matter for the individual states to decide, Scalia reinforced his disdain for the Declaration of Independence. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” were just words to be determined by the state where you reside, unless you are a corporation. Corporations are given special powers in a Scalia court, like unlimited campaign spending and ignoring provision of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Scalia was exactly what every Republican talks about when they use the phrase “legislating from the bench”. The Republicans never complained about Scalia’s legislating, though. Scalia made law or struck down laws, without benefit of Congress or the President. He was the “decider” and he bullied all of the other Justices to support his view. In fact, Justice Clarence Thomas gave up long ago having an opinion. Uncle Clarence would just point at Scalia and say, “what he said”.

Thomas has since aligned with the other really right wing Catholic on the court, Justice Alito. Since we know “birds of a feather, flock together”, maybe it’s time to stop nominating Catholics to the court. Prior to Scalia’s death, they were a 6 to 3 majority, they are now a 7-2 advantage. Not that all of Scalia’s bad decision’s were based on morality issues. Just the ones involving, race, sexual orientation and women’s rights.

Scalia could also wreck havoc in areas other than human rights. He was instrumental in the Supreme Court forcing George Bush in as President, over Al Gore. Scalia didn’t even have enough of a conscience to recuse himself from the Bush suit, which was brought by the law firm where Scalia’s son worked. Scalia was convinced that his “moral majority” on the court had the right to decide who was going to be President, over the millions of us ignorant voters.

Scalia also refused to recuse himself from a Supreme Court case involving Dick Cheney, even though he and Cheney were hunting buddies. It was Scalia’s belief that the Constitution was not a living growing document, but could only be interpreted through the eyes of someone like Scalia who saw the world as how it was in 1776. To that end, Scalia could make determinations favorable to friends, political parties, corporations or others that were based on his insight to the founding fathers minds, not any sort of legal precedence.

Scalia believed in the devil, and I’m sure Scalia is with him today. While Scalia is arranging the chairs in Hell to his liking, I’m sure he’ll be looking in on how we mere mortals will handle his departure. Battle lines are being drawn, and it looks like it’s Scalia’s favorite battle, good versus evil.

Sadly, my research didn’t uncover whether Scalia kicked puppies or not, so the jury is still out on that one.

Implied Liability

You listen to the news every day hoping to hear that one kernel of good news that will restore your faith in humanity. These are sad times, desperate times, and a lot of times it doesn’t seem like the good guys are winning.

A blurb about Alex Jones reminded me about the little sliver of good news that poked through when the Sandy Hook families were awarded $73 million for their loss on December 14th 2012. That news was compounded when the courts awarded the families $1.5 billion from the mendacious broadcaster for defamation. I can say for a certainty that each one of those parents would gladly refuse the money to have their child back. I think we can all agree that there are some things that money can’t compensate. Society’s only hope is that the punishment is strong enough to deter the guilty from repeating their behavior.

The manufacturer of the AR-15-style weapon that killed the children, Remington, has come out of bankruptcy and reformed as two companies, one of which is located in LaGrange, Georgia. We Georgians love our guns so much that we even give the manufacturers tax abatements as well as utility and infrastructure improvements to locate here. According to our Governor, “Georgia’s firearms industry is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment in our communities”, which I guess is the only consideration for encouraging a new business. The Peach State is also the “proud” home to Glock, another dispenser of indiscriminate death.

What makes the Sandy Hook settlement a big deal is that gun manufacturers have hidden behind a federal law since 2005 that protected them from lawsuits based off of liability. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act basically insulates the arms manufacturers from any suit other than outright manufacturing malfeasance. It is like Congress conspired to say what is the bare minimum these manufacturers can be held accountable for, and we’ll lower that bar a little. Fortunately, the Connecticut Attorney General opened a legal path to holding the arm manufacturers accountable for some of the carnage their products cause.

I hear a “hold on there little cowboy” in the audience. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” True enough, but guns make it way too easy to kill people, especially children. Every day, 22 children and teens (1-17) are shot in the United States”. That can’t be acceptable, not for one second. In my mind, the wounded children are the result of bad policy coupled with the insatiable greed of the armaments people. Even the association founded to promote gun safety bears a tremendous amount of liability for their part in the slaughter.

There are many things that can be done to make gun ownership safer. Sadly, in this article the NRA is promoting the idea that a lighter trigger pull is always a good thing. Ironically, in this article we can see that the necessary strength to pull a trigger exists in a four year old. I recall the story about a three year old that shot his mother to death in a parked car. Clearly gun manufacturers should be held responsible for making their products child safe. My God, even the pill bottle manufacturers can do that and their products cost pennies. It’s ridiculous to think that the manufacturers of weapons that cost thousands of dollars can’t make their products child proof.

One area that the Sandy Hook settlement did seem to provide a way forward is a way to hold gun manufacturers liable for their advertising. Romancing the idea of gun ownership is morally repugnant. I hope that going forward we can be spared any more tragedies committed by wannabe Rambos. Teenagers have enough to sort through without a gun manufacturer telling them that they have the solution to all of their problems.

Hopefully the Sandy Hook settlement will provide a way for everyone touched by a gun tragedy to get some some vengeance on the death dealers. Maybe there will be a class action suit. I can’t wait. The lawsuit / settlement would be enormous. It seems to me that if we can put a man on the moon we should be able to prevent a toddler from shooting his Momma.

Guns And More Guns

Am I overstating the problem? Not in the least. When it is more likely to be a victim of gun violence if you are an elementary school child than a police officer on duty, we have gone down the rabbit hole.

The Gun Violence Archive tracks deaths by gun of all types across the United States. The statistics are just staggering. Look at the numbers posted each year for children 0-11 and police. The numbers are far too close for what we as a society should expect. The police have a dangerous job, which, in my opinion, would be helped by some form of gun control. Elementary school kids are just trying to go to school. Do ads for bulletproof backpacks not scream enough is enough?

Why the insurance companies? Because the federal government won’t do it and the insurance companies are the only industry big enough to take on the gun industry.

Think about the industries that insurance companies have moderated in society. Automobiles and tobacco are a couple of huge, huge industries that were made to modify their behavior because of the insurance industry. All cars are tested now for crash-worthiness. Smokers pay higher premiums and are actively encouraged to quit by PSAs. What if gun owners had to at least buy liability insurance in the amount of one million dollars for each gun they own?

Obviously there would be a sliding scale on the weapons. The premium for an AR15 with extra magazine would be significantly higher than a 410 shotgun. Just like an 18 year old driving a Corvette paying more than a 35 year old driving a Honda CR-V, the insurance companies will develop the strategies that will keep them from paying out rewards. We can trust the actuaries to work it out, they’re good at that stuff. It worked for cars and tobacco.

Let’s talk about the upside for state and local governments. Just like proof of ownership and liability insurance for cars is required by law, so would gun ownership. Thinking about walking around downtown with your Uzie, fine. The police have the right to ask you for your registration and insurance. No insurance, no problem. Big fine and confiscation until proof of insurance is secured. Just like with your car.

Want to buy a gun because you’re really ticked off at your neighbor and something needs to be done? No problem, you can pick up the gun when your insurance has been secured. Society will rely on the insurance companies to do their due diligence and your neighbor will be happy they did.

Is my proposal crazy and farfetched? No. The city of San Jose, California has already enacted such a plan. I’m not going to quibble with them over who thought of what first. “There’s no good idea that can’t be improved on”.

One would think that the state of Alaska would want to be one of the first to jump on the bandwagon. They lead the country in firearm mortality according to the CDC. Of course the south comes in a close second. We do love our guns. I just hope we love our children more.

The State of the Union

President Biden gave his State of the Union address last night. Even if I wasn’t the bleeding heart liberal that I am, I thanked my lucky stars that the 2020 election went as it did. My guess is there are some people with a more right wing bent that are glad too. There’s nothing like having someone the people can look up to in a time of crisis.

I watched the President and I saw a man who projected, “I’m here for all of you, not just the one percent. I’m not here for just the Democrats, or just the people that voted for me, but for all Americans.” With all of the uncertainty going on in the world, and at home, it was reassuring to hear the President say to everyone, “It’s going to be ok”.

As I watched, I was struck by the joy that Kamala Harris exuded from her spot behind the President. At one point she jumped up so fast and high to applaud that she almost slipped off the podium. The V.P. wasn’t the only one energized by the President’s words.

Republicans have been told to sit on their hands and voice their opposition to any plan the President proposes to better the life of average Americans. The Repubs couldn’t even rise to support stopping fentanyl at the border or the President’s actions against Russia in defense of Ukraine. Strange times indeed.

Speaking of the idiot Putin, and the invasion of Ukraine, how much better off is the world now than it would have been if the former guy had a return to duty? The Donald had publicly stated that he wanted the U.S. to pull out of NATO. It’s clear from his current fawning after the invasion that there is no wish that the Donald would have denied Putin. “Want to roll the tanks into France, no problem. Just don’t salt the earth. I might want to put a golf course up there someday.”

Of course President Biden doesn’t just have the threat of WWIII hanging over his head, he’s still got mop up duty with the worst pandemic in over one hundred years. Seeing the Congress without masks was a reminder of how lucky we are that Biden took over when he did. I forgot how old some of those people are. Just kidding./s They are old, really old and seeing them without their masks reminded me how desperately we need to enforce a retirement age.

Even so, wasn’t it great to see them acting social and friendly? Maybe being able to see each other smile will encourage congress critters from both sides to work on the President’s agenda. There’s still plenty to do even though Biden illuminated a healthy list of accomplishments so far. With that said, here’s some of the list:

* $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Those pot holes aren’t going to fix themselves, or haven’t in the last couple of decades. Twenty years of kicking the can down the road has resulted in failing bridges all over the country. Biden has brought both sides together to finally fix them.

* The $1.9 trillion Covid relief deal. It’s hard to imagine what the vaccination program would have been like if left to the pharmaceutical companies. How many people would have gotten vaccinated if the shots were $500 a piece? The fact that the program provided financial relief for people affected by the crisis economy shows what a truly compassionate man Joe Biden is.

* Ended the war in Afghanistan. Was the withdrawal completely without issues, no, but we’re done with that hell-hole. No more American lives lost in vain.Trillions of dollars of American taxes will be freed up to pursue the challenges that need immediate attention like climate change.

* The American rescue plan. In Biden’s first year in office, the economy grew at the strongest rate in nearly 40 years. From beating back COVID to creating over 14.8 million new jobs, Biden has given the average American a path forward. The national unemployment rate has dropped to 3.7 percent from 6.3 percent when Biden took office.

* Appointment of federal judges. Biden has appointed 181 federal judges, the most since Ronald Reagan. He has also placed a moratorium on federal executions, reversing a policy that the Donald drug out of the closet.

Well, that’s just five off of the top of my head. I guess I could go on for days, but I won’t. Let’s just say that I think President Biden will be viewed very well by history, particularly with a look at the lack of cooperation he has received.

The State of The Union is stronger than it ever has been and will continue to get stronger, thank you President Biden.

Too Aloof

While we wait for the next mass shooting, and, I hear one was averted by a traffic stop in Indiana, I wonder what form of tragedy is it going to take before some people’s humanity is finally awakened.

We learned about the RWNJ headed to Washington with an AR15 and a hit list during the testimony of Dr. Fauci before Congress this week. Rand Paul, one of the two Senators from Kentucky that could effectively be replaced by door wedges, took an aggressive stance with his opportunity to question Dr. Fauci during the hearing on the pandemic. Instead of using his time to glean insights into Dr. Fauci’s specific knowledge of the facts, Paul chose to expound on some of his favorite conspiracy theories. Thankfully Dr. Fauci shut Paul down with the revelation that Paul was using “Fire Fauci” as a fund raiser on his Facebook page.

History bears out that there’s never a time so dire, a national emergency so acute that some people won’t bend the facts to their advantage. Dr. Fauci summed up this exchange with another Repug lawmaker so well that I can’t really improve on it. “What a moron” is a phrase that could be used universally against the current crop of Republicans.

How on earth did we get here? How did the country turn its back on the universal truth, “we just want our politicians to be smarter than we are”? Democrats at all levels are calling on their counterparts in the Republican party to act with courage and defy the RWNJ elements of their party. Seriously, which one of the 5 G’s is smarter than the guy that changes your oil?

Of course the Repugs won’t change their ways. Courage is the first thing removed from a Republican candidate, along with the will to serve the public. Meanwhile, the press has to blame someone for our fall from grace in standing with the rest of the world, so they ask the question, “Is President Biden too aloof?”

Too aloof, well I guess so. I know I prefer a leader that runs through the woods like his hair is on fire every time somebody pushes the hot topic button./s I guess in that regard the press will love having the Donald president again, until he bans the free press once and for all.

Speaking of another term in office for the great lurker, how is it that the sentient members of the Republican party, and I do think there are a few of them left, haven’t just decided to bathe in Clorox and get the stench of the Donald off of them forever? Some of them are safe in their districts no matter how much the misinformation machine attacks. It makes me wonder if physical threats aren’t thrown in with the Donald’s fealty oath. One speculates if the old veiled threat “nice family you’ve got there, it would be a shame if anything happened to them” is getting a lot of work these days.

Speaking of threats, and aloofness, I’m more than amused by President Biden’s welcome in Atlanta this week. Some black groups chose to not represent because they felt that Biden has been “aloof” to their needs. The threat by some black leaders to not keep strong with the Democratic party is madness in my opinion. I’m not sure how much sympathy blacks will get from the descendants of the “Back to Africa” movement. The old adage, “you got to dance with the one that brung you.” comes to mind. It might have been a Republican president that freed the blacks, but this is not the same Republican party.

While I totally agree that the future of America as a democratic country is truly on the line, it’s not like the President isn’t dealing with an existential problem 24/7. As near and dear to my heart as voting rights are, I can see where voting rights might not have been front burner for the President in his first year. 839,000 Americans have died due to Covid and the hospitals are bursting at the seams again with the sick and dying.

So, aloof, I don’t think so. Busier than a one-armed paper hanger is more like it.


A Slow Bern

I find that the older I get, the less likely I am to venture into “new things”. I’ve also noticed that I become more frustrated and irritated when my ventures don’t turn out as planned. That’s one of the many reasons I wonder how in the world Bernie Sanders and his followers ever thought he was going to make it into the White House. People criticize President Biden for being “polarizing” and he’s about as an accommodating human being that ever walked the planet. Bernie Sanders is not shy about delivering his opinion to one and all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything the senator from Vermont is saying. He is “speaking truth to power”, as they say, and I love him for doing it. I just see that he’s never really had a snowball’s chance in Hell of pulling off a win in a presidential election. Even with the youth demographic behind him, he would never be able to pull enough progressive voters together to offset the “he’s a socialist, he’s a socialist” crowd. It’s sad that the label defines the man, but there it is.

I see Bernie not as a power broker but more of a conscience for the party. Perhaps it’s quotes like this that rope the young people into Bernie’s corral: “What being a socialist means is… that you hold out… a vision of society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed… but on cooperation… where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire.”

I particularly love the fact that the young people are so energized by him, and that they turn out in droves to support him. Someone needs to energize the youth of our country and the fact that an 80 year old is doing it is totally cool with me. I just hope that Bernie’s Brigade is not a part of some bizarro hipster movement that will turn it’s attention elsewhere when they get bored with the old guy. I hope they continue to “Feel the Bern” long after Bernie has left politics. I also wonder where the Bernies-in-training are. Katie Porter maybe?

History/memory informs us of another totally left candidate who played very well to the youth demographic, George McGovern. It was a very different time, one when the youth of our country were out marching in the streets every day to put an end to foreign excursions, civil rights, empowering women and other social issues. The presidential election of 1972, left the Democratic candidates George McGovern and Eugene Shriver crushed in a 61-percent to 37-percent defeat to Richard Nixon. The Electoral College total was 520 to 17, for Nixon. At the time, this was the second biggest landslide in American history. I’m not saying that I don’t think that a totally Progressive movement would have the same results today, I’m just offering up a recollection from the past. After all, “those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it”, as the saying goes.

So, as excited as I am to see the progressive ideas expostulated by Bernie take hold with the American people, I know that the realities of his age have got to be catching up with him. At what point will some dip ask Bernie some dumb question, and Bernie lose it and go total octogenarian Rambo on them? I know it’s a possibility I deal with everyday, and Bernie’s got a few years on me. What if Bernie calls a fool “a fool” on the Senate floor and is censured for his truthfulness? Will he continue to try to serve like a Supreme Court Justice until the last functioning brain cell gives way? I hope not, he has meant too much to too many of us for his legacy to become tarnished in that way.

I hope that when when Bernie’s last race has been run that those of us who call ourselves Democrats will keep this Bernieism in our heart: Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues.”

Selective Memory

It feels warmer this winter than I ever remember it being for this time of year. Of course my memory fades. Truth be told, I don’t really object to a mild winter. I just pray that it is not a harbinger of an asphalt melting summer. Bright sun-shiny ninety degree days don’t hold the attraction for me they once did. Of course if the weather turns sub-zero with snow and ice I’ll start longing for those “balmy” days of summer. My aversion to hot days will be superseded in my memory by the immediate discomfort of cold hands and feet.

That’s how memory works, we try to forget the bad, and reinforce the good. Some would call that a product of evolution, but I don’t want to give my neighbors another reason to distrust me.

Memory is also tainted by opinion. We all remember certain seminal events that were “once-in-a-lifetime events”. Everyone of a certain age can remember exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot. A later generation will remember 9-11 as their “everything changed after that” incident.

I remember being home from school and watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. While there are thousands of conspiracy theories, and hundreds of books have been written expounding them, the opinionated memory can not change the black and white facts. Jack Ruby walked directly up to Lee Harvey Oswald in a garage in Dallas filled with police officers and shot the man accused of killing a president. No amount of supposition or conjecture can change what millions of us saw live on that day. Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald; one man took the life of another.

57 years, 1 month and 14 days later, millions of us watched in horror as another seminal event played out before our eyes on national TV. A group of misguided sycophants attempted to overthrow the government of the United States. They weren’t subtle about their intentions, they even brought along a gallows to deal with the vice-president they felt betrayed them. They were armed not only with weapons but inside information as to where to attack, where the defenses were the weakest.

The inside information was provided by congress people that had had enough of the democracy experiment. The insiders had decided that being re-chosen by their constituents every few years was too taxing on their Zen and that being installed by King Donald the 1st was more in line with their personal beliefs. I don’t suppose any of them had polled their districts with the simple question: Democracy or Monarchy? That would have been too obvious. Better to create a “Constitutional crisis” out of the mob storming the Capitol.

As one who has been unhappy with a lot of what my government has done in my name in my seventy plus years, I’ve always respected the process. I’m miserable when the Republicans are in office and less so when the Democrats take charge. As a youth I marched in the streets to end the war, but I also registered for the draft. It was what good citizens were supposed to do. Work within the system to bring about the change you wanted to see, not trash it for everyone. Not write in our feces on the Capitol walls.

Three years ago, a group of wrong headed acolytes of a false prophet rose up to change the world for all of us. This wasn’t the will of the people, over 81 million people voted for Joe Biden, the largest number of votes ever cast for a presidential candidate. Even by the definition of the Donald, Biden won by a landslide. No this was an attempted coup. This was an attempt by a few to overthrow the will of the many by force. We all saw it!

Most of us recognize that we are not guaranteed “Prom King” or “Homecoming Queen” and would never attempt to burn down our high school as a logical response to our loss. Sometimes another candidate for a position that we cherish goes to another. We learn from the experience, we grow and we move on. At least that’s how it works for 99.999999 percent of us.

Many opinions will be offered as to why the insurrectionists did what they did. Many excuses and defenses will be proffered by those brought to trial. There will be suppositions and conjectures aplenty. But no amount of supposition or conjecture can change what million of us saw live on that day. People, police officers, died while valiantly trying to preserve Democracy for the rest of us. Let’s not let opinions make our memories of what we all saw that day become selective.