On the heels of the data from the state of Texas that the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine is not set up in an equitable fashion (so far, nobody knows how, when, or where to get a shot), I read Eugene Robinson’s essay about Donald J. Trump’s attempt to overthrow our democracy. It originally appeared in the Washington Post.
Texas, where I currently am, is supposed to receive a total of about 200,000 doses of the vaccine next week. An Austin American Statesman review of the state’s online map of COVID-19 vaccine providers found that all but a handful of local providers are west of I-35. For decades, being east or west of I-35 has represented a racial and class divide in Austin.
None of the vaccination sites are in the city’s lowest-income and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, while there are 16 distribution sites in an area bounded by I-35, MoPac Boulevard, Lady Bird Lake and FM2222. Hmmmmm.
A record number of Texans are hospitalized: 13,784 across the state, setting a new record for the 5th day in a row. In Texas, only 552 beds remain available. The number in Travis County had dropped from 34 ICU spots to 24 in one day recently. These statistics are for those back in Illinois, where we also spend half our time.
On Thursday, the state health agency reported 19,598 new COVID-19 cases here in Texas.
Back in Illinois, there were 9,277 new cases, to bring the Illinois total to 1, 017, 322 known infections and 17,395 deaths, with 126 of those deaths occurring just today in Illinois.
Democrats are urging that all doses of the vaccine be administered now, rather than holding back doses for the second round of shots, which is in contrast to the Trump plan.
Against this tumultuous backdrop of a pandemic that has killed more people than died during WWII, against the backdrop of January 6th’s insurrection attempt by Donald J. Trump to wrest control of the presidency from the duly-elected president, came this insightful essay by Eugene Robinson, a Black American and an eloquent writer.
Eugene Robinson’s essay for the Washington Post was entitled “Trump Has Wounded Us. It Will Take Time to Recover.” Here it is:
“Let’s be clear: What happened Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol was an attempted coup d’etat, egged on by a lawless president desperately trying to cling to power and encouraged by his cynical Republican enablers in Congress.
It was perhaps inevitable that President Donald Trump’s chaotic and incompetent tenure in office would end with riots and tear gas. Not since British Major Gen. Robert Ross set fire to the president’s residence and the Capitol building in 1814 have we seen such a scene at the hallowed citadel of our democracy, as an angry and disillusioned mob—whipped into a frenzy by Trump himself—forced its way into the Capitol to disrupt the official certification of Trump’s electoral defeat.
Images from this shameful day will endure forever: Crowds storming the security barricades, overwhelming outnumbered and seemingly unprepared Capitol police, and breaking windows to pour into the seat of American power. Police officers inside the House of Representatives chamber, guns drawn and aimed at the main doors, where protesters threatened to force their way inside. A scarf-draped rioter sitting smugly in the chair where, an hour earlier, Vice President Mike Pence had presided over the Senate.
The central act of our democracy—the peaceful and orderly transfer of power—was not allowed to take place. Blame the rioters themselves, who must take responsibility for their own actions. But blame Trump above all.
And blame the Republican members of Congress who sought to boost their own political fortunes by validating Trump’s self-serving paranoid fantasies.
I mean you, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. And you, Sen. Ted Cruz. And you, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. And all the rest who thought that the way to succeed in GOP politics was to pretend to believe Trump’s lies rather than tell the nation the truth.
Trump told his MAGA legions that he didn’t really lose the election, that, in fact, he could not possibly have lost, and that somehow he would manage to remain their president for a second term. First, various recounts would save him—until they all confirmed Joe Biden’s victory. Then, it was going to be the certifications of the vote totals, but all the states certified their results. Then, it was going to be the courts that rode to the rescue, but courts at every level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, tossed out his frivolous lawsuits like so much scrap paper.
Finally, on January 6th,— or perhaps Pence, acting alone,— would surely throw out the electoral votes from states that Trump falsely claimed to have “won,” thus giving him the glorious victory he deserved. He urged his followers to come to Washington to “Stop the Steal,” to keep Congress from doing its constitutional duty in counting the electoral votes. And Hawley, Cruz, Scalise and scores of other congressional Republicans went along with this ridiculous fairy tale so as to not anger the president or his supports.
But then January 6th arrived. Pence issued a statement early in the day making clear that he would obey the Constitution, not Trump’s autocratic wishes. And the many thousands of Trump supports who had gathered on the Ellipse to hear Trump give a long and angry rant, and who obeyed his order to march on the Capitol, became a guided missile aimed at the heart of U.S. democracy. (*Note: was the “fix” in on guarding that heart? How did these thugs gain access to our most hallowed building, especially on the west side of the Capitol, where film exists of guards opening the barricades and welcoming the domestic terrorist hordes.)
They were like a doomsday cult when the appointed day arrives and the foretold asteroid does not strike. Trump had convinced them he could not possibly lose, yet inside the Capitol he was losing. They decided to prevent the transfer of power by force. Shots were fired, and one person—a 14-year Air Force female veteran—was struck and killed (*Note: 5 have, so far, died in the riot). Tear gas was deployed. The scenes were like those I saw in places like Paraguay and Peru as a foreign correspondent, and nothing like we’ve ever seen in the United States. (*Imagine how the rest of the world must regard us now!)
President Biden gave a televised address calling for an end to the ‘insurrection’ and the restoration of ‘decency, honor, respect, the rule of law.’ Trump posted a desultory video statement on social media urging rioters to ‘go home’ but repeating his claims that the election was ‘stolen’ (and saying ‘we love you.’)
It is possible to see better days ahead. Biden is a good man and a lifelong public servant. Inauguration Day is just a little under 2 weeks away.
But somehow our damaged nation has to make it through those next 2 weeks. Police and the National Guard are more than capable of re-establishing order in the streets.
The wounds Trump has inflicted upon the nation, however, are ragged and deep. We will be paying for the mistake of electing this bitter, twisted man as president for a long, long time.****
Finally, a suggestion: If you have not secured your copy of either “Bee Gone: A Political Parable” or the youth-oriented version (available in both paperback and hardcover, but in hard cover only by contacting me), “The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee,” this one book is going to be the best “memento” of the end of DJT’s reign of terror.
The books were written over 2 years of time, in rhyming fashion, to serve as Tina Fey-like humor aimed at defeating the man in the White House who had proven himself dangerously unstable early on. Humor is a powerful weapon, and Gary McCluskey and I spent 2 years putting the story of the Donald’s run against Hillary Clinton into verse—adding coloring book pages and puzzles to the end of the 6-book Christmas Cats in Silly Hats.
These books (with the exception of the hard cover version of “The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee”) are available on Amazon and you can read more about the entire Christmas Cats 6-book series at ConnieCWilson.com. The series was intended to be a gift for my twin granddaughters and meant to teach young elementary-school aged children (ages 3 to 11) how to behave.
It has been extremely difficult, during Donald J Trump’s 4 years in office, to teach young people how to behave, because Trump does not know how to behave appropriately. He never has known how to behave in a responsible manner, and many books on his life prove this. My XmasCats.com series would end when the girls (scheduled to celebrate their twelfth birthday this coming Sunday) were too old to believe in Santa Claus. It ended with a book about a bee who tries to seize control of the hive from the Queen Bee, and was prophetic in its worker bee refrain about the rise of the insurrectionist, who dethrones the Queen Bee, causing the worker bee to say, “Oh, no!” said the worker bee, after his rise. “This really is awful. Our whole hive might die!”
As we close in on 400,000 deaths in this country, caused by incompetence and dereliction of duty at the top since January of 2020, the worker bee’s cry seems almost prophetic. In over 100 years, we have not seen a human tragedy as great as the pandemic and much of our status as the country affected the worst by the pandemic was caused by the poor stewardship of the ship of state.
And so the Christmas Cats series ended. But the series ended with a book that is a small microcosm of what was going on in our country when written. The entire Christmas Cats series is a wholesome, entertaining series, beautifully-illustrated by Gary McCluskey, but this final book in the series is the memento, the time capsule of our time. Order up a copy from Amazon and see for yourself. If you want a beautifully bound Ingram Spark hard cover version of the children’s version (“The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee”) drop me a line. [My stash of such books is back in Illinois, but I’ll happily take orders for the hard cover version (that is NOT advertised on Amazon) and get them to you by next Christmas.]
There were 4,000 deaths yesterday (January 7th) and we lost 145,000 jobs. I support President Joe Biden’s efforts to avert catastrophe and to bring this country back to a semblance of calm and normalcy. I hope that all patriotic citizens are reading widely [and not just swallowing the one-sided, often false versions of various news organizations.] Now, more than ever, we need to stick together and try to become informed members of our democracy, the United States of America.