533 Comments

While this may be a little of off topic from today's letter, I thought I would share my exchange with my Trump Sycophant Congressman on Marjorie Taylor Greene

His reply

Thank you for contacting my office regarding H. Res. 72. As always, I welcome your input.

As you may know, H. Res. 72 was introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). This resolution was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 4, 2021, by a vote of 230 – 199. The resolution removes Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Education and Labor.

I believe Marjorie Taylor Greene’s offensive, unacceptable and inaccurate comments were hurtful to people across the nation. We are all accountable for our own. This is an unprecedented vote that only deepens divides in Congress where other members have not been disciplined for their anti-Semitic or violent comments. I want to work together with all the Republicans and Democrats the voters have sent to Congress so we can make our nation better rather than use our time to judge one another’s words. We would get a lot more done if members stopped attacking one another and focused on getting the American people back to work, getting our kids back in school, and distributing the COVID-19 vaccines.

Here's my response

You are welcome! I always appreciate your quick responses in regards to my concerns about your voting record and your response to issues such as raising the minimum wage.

I appreciate that you believe Marjorie Taylor Greene’s offensive, unacceptable and inaccurate comments were hurtful to people across the nation. Yet, you could not bring yourself to vote for her removal. Representative King was removed from his committee assignments for much less. While the removal was justified, it pales when compared to Representative King’s comments. Again, why wasn’t similar action taken. Yes, Democrats have said or done things that I find offensive. In a majority of those cases, there was a reckoning. However, I don’t recall seeing video of any Democratic Representatives before they were in office harassing a survivor of a mass school shooting or when they are in office coming out from the White House the day before a mass insurrection suggesting there was going to be some action the next day. Again, your support of keeping Representative Greene on her committees one of which was the Education Committee is unacceptable.

I also appreciate that you want to work together with Democrats and Republicans. If only your actions matched your words. Again, your voting record does not reflect that intent. In spite of your opposition, I think a lot of things are getting done. President Biden has hit the ground running working for the American people. He is focused on getting the American people back to work, getting our kids back in school, and distributing the COVID-19 vaccines. In spite of the fact, he was handicapped by President Trump’s refusal to cooperate during the transition due to claims of election fraud. As I recall you support President Trump’s fruitless efforts to claim election fraud. How many court cases did he lose? 60 out of 61. That was a good use of time. Imagine, if President Trump had cooperated how much better off we would be.

Respectfully,

Sharon Mudgett

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That's at least a targeted reply. Here is what I got from Ron Johnson when I sent him an email telling him specifically that I want him to convict Mr. Trump:

"Dear Barbara,

Thank you for contacting me to express your views and concerns. I appreciate hearing from you and learning about the issues that are important to you and your family. I receive thousands of emails from Wisconsin residents every week and want to be as responsive to your concerns as possible.

This autoreply is to acknowledge receipt of your message. "

And there has never been anything that follows with a personal message. I will work diligently to remove his extremist a$$ from the senate.

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Born and raised in WI, no longer resident, but interested in what happens there. Still find it hard to believe that RJ beat Russ! So many great Wisconsinites...

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There is already a dem challenger - Tom Nelson. I'll do everything I can to defeat RJ! https://nelsonforwi.com/

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He looks promising! Good luck!

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Nelson replied within hours to a FB message I sent him, so I'll investigate him some more about policy. A circus clown could replace RJ and I'd be happy! (not implying Nelson is a clown!)

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Just donated to his '22 campaign-

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Even though I disagree with him on almost everything, he takes his correspondences seriously. He generally responds on point to my inquiries.

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YUCK. You Go Girl!

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As a mother of two children (kindergarten and second grade) who recently had socially distanced active shooter drills, having Republicans spout that stripping a school shooting denier who harasses teenaged victims of her assignment to the education committee as partisan and unprecedented is beyond infuriating. I’m impressed with how level you were with your words to your rep, Sharon.

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Ginger Conly, I have a friend who is a para professional at a local elementary school. She told me about training for active shooter drills. Part of the training was listening to the 911 call from Sandy Hook. It was heartbreaking. I am beyond pi$$ed that people in Georgia thought it was a good idea to sent that wing nut to Congress.

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I work in education as well and it is beyond me how anyone can defend any actions or rhetoric from any U.S. rep (or citizen for that matter) who is okay with bullying victims of gun violence. But here we are.

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As a school nurse who had to not only help plan and run active shooter drills, but had to teach teachers how to STOP THE BLEEDING! - so F&*@$# up - I echo Ginger's appreciation. Keep up the pressure!

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Thank you for all you do for your students and school staff. Nurses in all capacities are true heroes!!

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I especially like the line: "Again, your voting record does not reflect that intent." Until members of Congress put the needs of their constituents first and not their own re-election, nothing will change. Most Republican members are still groveling to Trump - a disgraced former President. I don't get it. What they need to do it tell their constituents the truth - Trump lost - and then work hard to win their votes by actually working for them on the issues that they care about.

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I agree with everything you said. It's sad to see so many Republicans continue to support the party of Trump.

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Like the Native Americans in those old western movies said, "White man talk with forked tongue." Totally applicable to your Representative.

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Good job Sharon...may I use some of your words?!

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Thank you and yes you can

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Thanks! My senators (AZ) are ok but there’s an idiot representative I need to contact.

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I, too, am in AZ. Debbie Lesko is my rep. She is the worst. I've contacted her a few times before, only to receive a form letter in response thanking me for my message. My last letter, however, did receive a personal reply. It was concerning her support for 45 and Co.'s claims that the election was fraudulent and stolen from them. I asked her what proof she had, given that 60+ cases were defeated in court. She replied that (I'm paraphrasing) there were things that were done that the general public doesn't know about because the mainstream media didn't cover them. And yet, she still didn't give any proof. Ugh. I can't tell if she really is ignorant, or if she thinks we are.

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Another congress person drinking the Kool-Aid. I’m sure she lives in the same house with my congressman and drinks from the same fountain.

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Me too? This was written so well!

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Sharon, you are my idol!!

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Stephanie Bartelt, To quote Elvis, Thank you very much, thank you very much ☺️

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Sharon, keep us posted if you get a reply to your latest, please!

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Lynell Abbott, I don't recall getting replies to replies, however I will let you know if he does.

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Good for you!

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Sharon fighting the good fight.

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Thank you for writing to your Representative!

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Superb letter Sharon!

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I've seen many memes where Biden is smiling or laughing, usually with Obama, that imply he's a fun loving prankster - not that there's anything wrong with that.

However, since the election there's been a sobriety or gravitas, or maybe it's earnestness, in his addresses, and even press releases, that's both striking and gripping. Why is this grabbing my attention?

“I value your expertise and I respect you, and I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you.”

One, Biden rarely uses the pronoun "I" unless he's assuming responsibility. He doesn't use it to focus on himself or to elevate his role or skills or knowledge above those of his staff, government employees, or the citizens of the US, not just his "followers." Two, he doesn't single out or denigrate individuals or organizations to blame for this lousy state of affairs, but offers a better vision by comparing where he wants to be against specific perceived failings that exist today. Three, he offers belief in, and respects the value of, both his nominees and all the people who come to work each day for the government, on behalf of all citizens AND residents of America. Four, his tone exudes belief and confidence in the hope and ability of collaboration to take on and resolve the challenges facing us. It's not "us vs. them," even in the face of recalcitrant Republican Senators and representatives. Five, there's a resolve to make things happen. While he didn't say "it's my way or the highway" about his COVID relief proposal, he did make clear that he'd use whatever levers possible to pass this bill, even if he would've preferred a fully bipartisan effort. Six, he's not castigating his political foes. When 10 GOP Senators asked to speak to him about a counterproposal, he accepted the request without any prior public condemnation. I'm sure he used a side by side comparison to evaluate each point of difference, and when deciding that their counter was insufficient to meet his goals, he didn't call out that group as stupid or radical or lazy or do-nothings.

I could go on but the contrasts with Trump are clear. Compared to Trump's wealth, arrogance, and hastily and performatively adopted "Christian family values" alliances with Evangelicals, Biden is more informed by the experiential difference of his humble origins, his personal losses, and his lifelong, but not outspoken, religious faith. Stylistically, Biden's quiet resolve stands out against Trump's bombastic threats. I'd characterize his approach to transition as "do no harm but take no shit." There are times to appease and times to move ahead without worrying about his detractors. He seeks counsel from those who agree with him as well as those who differ, but when he makes a decision he's politely but clearly saying "your opinion counts but your vote doesn't."

Look, Joe's not an angel. He's not a saint. He failed to stand up to Clarence Thomas's racist card when Thomas declared his Supreme Court hearing as "a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks" despite credible charges of sexual harassment. His mouth got ahead of him during the debate on the 1994 crime bill when he warned of "predators in the streets" and "lock the S.O.B.s up" in a tone eerily prescient of Trump's 2015 announcement of his candidacy. And he courted well known and unrepentant racists like James Eastland and Strom Thurmond.

Does he regret those things deep down or only for the sake of political expedience? I don't know, but they've not been consistent or current hallmarks of his public persona in the way that Marjorie Taylor Greene's social media posts have been. There are few, if any, concerns about questionable moral or ethical actions. He's not known as a liar or adulterer or megalomaniac.

In short (sorry, too late!), despite some human flaws, foibles, and failings, Biden doesn't attempt to impose a vision of America predicated on isolation, xenophobia, and disdain for those without privilege. After almost five years of the alternative, it's remarkable to hear the English language being used to unite instead of divide, and to call the nation to action on behalf of each other instead of for the white donor class. Welcome aboard, Joe, it's time to kick some ass and reintroduce the better angels of America.

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Scott There is no need to apologize for the length of your missive. Beautifully articulated impression of our current President.

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Scott: We on this list serv are readers, not tweeters.

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Judith, good point, well made!!

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David, thank you. I/we sometimes struggle to limit our thoughts (ire) about the state Trump's left us in. I know there have been a couple times that a commenter left multiple follow-up comments to their own post in order to continue their story, and mentally I was thinking TL;DR. That's one of the beauties of HCR - she is great at knowing when to conclude. Appreciate your having read this.

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I was nodding along as I read every word, Scott.

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If your posts are "too long" then so are mine! Sometimes there's just a lot to be said, y'know. Plus, I just enjoy using the language sometimes...KEEP IT UP!

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Enjoyed all of your thoughts about Biden, Scott! Thanks! I am older than Biden and have watched his career over the years. He is the same, but different, there is a determination and maturity in his actions and speeches that I haven’t seen before. I believe he is truly the man for the hour. Such a relief!

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I first became aware of him during the Clarence Thomas hearings. At the time I was commuting from Stamford, CT to a client in Newark, NJ, one of the rare times I wasn't on a plane 4-6 times/week. I think NPR carried the event, and I didn't understand why more witnesses weren't being called in response to Anita Hill's claims. I just vividly remember Thomas's outburst, one that was echoed almost 25 years later during the Kavanaugh hearings.

I believe that people's views can evolve over time. While it's fair to question why Biden did what he did in 1984 or 1991, I don't believe one can necessarily make the case that Biden, or anyone else, would respond in the same way today. Is there proof that he's changed? I think so. It seems that his overall character has remained consistent even if specific positions have not.

Contrasted with Biden, however, Marjorie Taylor Greene has no political past to parse. To the extent she's been visible, it's been through her social media over the last 3-4 years, up through and beyond the election. She can't wave her hands dismissively and say that she's evolved over the last week.

Biden wasn't my first choice. I think the Democrats have done a poor job of developing prospective candidates, instead reaching back to people with long political histories. I favored Warren for her smarts and Harris for her "fresher" presence in the party and her ability to unrelentingly push back on BS during hearings. AOC has some of that same talent and presence, even without the long legal career of Harris. I don't agree that Warren was "too far left." The primaries felt like the Dems couldn't figure out that a collective approach to beating Trump was more important than beating each other up.

Also, had Sanders won, he, too, would've been constrained by the pandemic. He had a lot more convincing to do than Biden, and he wouldn't have had the presumption of being a viable option that Biden had due to 1) a long but more visible career, and 2) a more engaging communication style. In the end I think it was familiarity PLUS his very visible empathy that was in such contrast to Trump. Because of that I totally agree with you that he was the man of, and for, the hour.

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I've been married to a good man for 36 years. I've always been a progressive democrat; he was a Republican for most of those years. But he has shifted his understanding and beliefs steadily over the years. He voted for Obama in 2012 and Hilary in 2016, Biden of course in 2020. Our 25 year old continues to push against his conditioned beliefs about capitalism; they engage in lovingly uncomfortable conversations at times, good for both of them. She is learning to use her voice in a persuasive way and he is learning to imagine the opposite of what he has always believed, often unconsciously. Point being, people can make major shifts in their understanding and belief system if they choose to be open to it over time. I believe Biden has been and is open to this.

MTG's hideous actions are recent, within the last few years. She has not truly come to any new understanding of the impact of her words; she made a conscious decision about what she was willing to SAY she reversed course in the attempt to hold on to what power she had. She cannot be trusted on any level.

I heard on This American Life yesterday a long story about Alex Jones of Infowars, who operates much the same way.

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I'll have what your husband is having.

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Good comment. Yes it has been a somber view of Biden at and since the inauguration. This shows the American people and the world of the absolute seriousness of everything he walked into and has to fix. But President Biden has a fun loving side and an amazing smile. I hope we get to see that during his presidency.

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There's bound to be some fun. Dogs are back in the White House!

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Rescue dogs even!

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“Welcome aboard, Joe, it's time to kick some ass and reintroduce the better angels of America.” Scott, this makes my day! Thank you.

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Thank you for this cogent analysis. Not too long at all!

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Wow. I have saved this to re read , again and again.

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Thank you. I'm honored.

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Thanks for your thoughts.

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Perfect! If love to share your thoughts on social media! May I?

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Angel, with attribution, surely! Kind of you to ask.

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Your words deserve to be heard and I will gladly share your poignant thoughts. 🤗

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I often use "instrumentalist," but "performatively adopted" suits The Twice-Impeached Unnamed superbly. Use literary theory to deconstruct him, permanently.

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Thank you, Professor Richardson for that insightful encapsulation of the day’s events.

It brings two things to mind:

First, in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Atticus Finch explains to his daughter Scout why he was defending Tom Robinson – a black man accused of rape in a southern town in the 1930s. It was a case he fully expected to lose. When Scout pressed him as to why he was taking a losing case, he said, “For a number of reasons, the main one is, if I didn’t, I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent my county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you and Jem not to do something again.” “This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience – Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.” “…before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

This moment in our history, and the posture President Biden has taken in conducting himself and his administration, reminds me of the story of Atticus Finch. Facing a nation riddled with racial prejudice and xenophobia, and an opposition party that has aligned itself with these forces as well as those propagating the Big Lie, Biden is striving to align his administration’s policies more closely to those ideals and purposes so often espoused by Democrats and Republicans alike, but so rarely put into practice.

The second thought is that from here – in Europe – there is a palpable wariness of the United States. The previous administration was openly hostile to NATO, and in Germany, his ambassador, Richard Grenell, was the execrable embodiment of the worst of that administration.

Don’t get me wrong, Europeans are relived and wish Biden well, but the events of the last four years have left a mark, and Europeans are far less likely than in the past, to trust in, or rely on, the United States.

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That very problem--trust, constancy--is a major consequence of the hideous legacy of the former occupants of the White House. It is why we are not sleeping, and our jaws remain clenched. The erosion of values and norms, the fascism-induced fear, the clear preference for chaos, not just for the sake of chaos, but for the more nefarious purposes of disruption and disinformation, sabotaging the roles of this country by both devastating institutions and destroying our integrity--this is what keeps us somewhat tense. And that encouragement of venality, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny...making space for it all, feeding the sickness of terrified white men who have been primed by them, brought to the brink by the rhetoric.

I'm not relaxed because I feel like there is another shoe to fall.

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Recovering from an abusive bully takes time, but I am enjoying every minute of my Peaceful Easy Feeling and I hope you all do too. Thank you HCR for putting the important pieces in the puzzle.

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I'm right there with you. I retired right before he-who-shall-not-be-named took power. In mid 2017 I started realizing that I was grinding my teeth so forcefully that I had to get a heavy duty night guard. I laughed with my dentist that it was strange to begin tooth grinding after retiring from a stressful job. It was only this week that I realized I am not grinding. I had not realized that the stress of living with the nightmare that was 45 was causing my problem. I'm afraid to stop using the night guard as long as all the crap with the Republicans is happening. Currently, if I expose myself to CNN or MSNBC too much I feel anxiety take over my body. Then I have to listen to Biden to calm down. I love him. I just want to give him a great big hug.

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The bully's bully is Putin. We have been civilian soldiers pitted against Putin's clandestine war on America. Biden knows that, and hearing him speak so forcefully against the Russian monster has really helped me feel better.

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He who will be known to history as Влад отравитель (Vlad the poisoner)

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Vlad the Impaler

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Peaceful Easy Feeling is my song of the day! Thanks Gigi !Up to now, I’ve been singing “Summer Wind"

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Look up "Beautiful Day" by Nuriel in YouTube... my current song!!

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I listened to much of it, I love their sentiment. But I have a ‘block’ to current or modern music. Much of it sounds similar. I sound lie my mother, 50 years ago! So, now I’m listing to her music, Ella and Louie, and Frankie. And classics like Peaceful Easy Feeling. I laugh, often, about this .......

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"I love this 'peaceful easy feeling' and I want to keep on feeling it!"

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I think many of us will be recovering from the trauma of the Trump years for some time to come. The downright meanness of that administration on a daily basis was unprecedented in this country, so it is no wonder many of us are still recoiling. Trust is a fragile thing. It was stomped to death in the last four years and can't be restored overnight. But we are witnessing words of hope and signs of renewal. If only there were some sort of vaccine to inoculate against ignorance and short sighted self interest.....but alas, we may just have to go about the work of instilling moral values back into our public and private lives.

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I vacillate between that relaxed feeling and sense of joy, and abject fear and anxiety precisely because “the hideous LEGACY of the former occupants of the White House (emphasis is mine) is not a “legacy” in Congress. The abuse continues on a daily basis from the trumpublicans, and from those that are too afraid to stand up to them. I applaud those Republicans from the house who voted to remove MTG from her committee assignments, one of whom (Fred Upton) from my home state of Michigan. IMO, the only way to begin to move forward and embrace the true optimism of Biden’s policies, not only for Americans but for other countries around the world, is for the Senate to show the world America will no longer embrace T**** and all he stood for; and the only way to do that is to convict him in the Senate. If that doesn’t happen, despite ALL of the evidence, I fear that the term “legacy” is only a pipe dream, and we will continue to live in fear of the next election cycle ad nauseam.

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I also feel another shoe may fall, but for the moment I am nurturing myself with the relief I feel. If Joe were not to survive, not only would "those folks" rail against another Black president, but OMG, a woman.

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Yes, Yes and Yes!

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Hope springs eternal! Pun intended.

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Thank you for this. Sadly, in re closing remarks, can you blame them? I live in Florida (in a very red district) where our Governor is expanding upon 45's legacy. Where Trump 2020 signs remain proudly displayed. Born and raised in Alabama, I am the odd duck, the crazy aunt. While I am hopeful, we have a long road ahead. That pit in my stomach remains.

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I’m in Florida also, ( bright red Pasco County) and I remain fearful. Between the “three Stooges”, Scott, Rubio and DeSantis, the Florida legislature has become more extreme as well. They are pushing to legislate DeSantis’ law against protestors which would impose harsh felonies upon people who are exercising their First Amendment rights. Oh, and my congressman, Gus Bilirakis, is another T toady.

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In addition to the Three Stooges, our AG, Ashley Moody, was among the signers of the lawsuit filed to overturn the election. My Congressman is John Rutherford, former elected Sherriff of Jacksonville. 41 years with Sherriff's Dept before being elected to Congress. He doesn't hold Town Halls. I don't know who to fear more, Sherriff's deputies or religious zealots here. Rutherford is worthless yet he won his last election by 61% of the votes in a heavily gerrymandered district. Registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans in FL, yet we have been governed by Republicans for over 20 years. I've signed up to be Precinct Chairwoman and will do what I can to change this. Vote Nikki Fried for Gov. 2022!

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I am far from Florida, but appreciate your commitment. Thank you!

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Good for you! I am willing to do whatever it takes to get these idiots out of office, so let me know if I can help with your initiatives.

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Just moved from Napa Valley, CA to Pensacola area. I so happy to hear from other Dems in Florida; I've been disappointed by all the TRUMP signs.

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Pensacola is a lovely place. Educate yourself re hurricane safety and do what you can to defeat Matt Gaetz! My former in-laws live there and they have seen the light. You can turn hearts...one at a time!

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No, I can't.

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From a teacher in Canada to the New York Times,

Makidadi

Guelph, Ontario

June 25, 2018: "I am a high school teacher in Ontario, where Mockingbird is still taught in a great majority of schools, typically at the grade nine level. It seems especially popular in predominantly white communities. I wish that it was replaced with something else, primarily because I think it is a seriously flawed book but also because I think it tends to offer white readers a comforting but erroneous message, namely that racism happened long ago in a terrible place called the South, where many mean white folks didn't treat black people nicely, except for the heroic white people who tried to save those helpless black people. I think it teaches that racism is a problem of another era and another country, not that it is an ongoing problem, a systemic problem, and a problem that cannot be changed without allowing racial minorities and others who face discrimination real agency, empowerment, and enfranchisement. And furthermore, that adjusting to a more democratic society will involve uncomfortable adjustments to white privilege."

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I agree. It also implies that racism is mainly a problem of poor / working-class whites, while the professional class are antiracist heroes.

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Do you think it would help if the movie version was updated regularly to reflect current styles, culture, issues, etc.?

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Perhaps, if minorities weren’t caricatured, didn’t have to perform as action heroes to be applauded, and white people didn’t run for their safe place whenever they were confronted with the real symptoms of racism. I think there is a reason that a book like Octavia Butler’s “Kindred” is not the novel white people turn to again and again as they do TKAMB. There are a plethora of books shining a light on racism. They are not assigned. In fact, even TKAMB was just taken off the list of reading books in numerous states. There are some examples of attempts to present the reality of the contemporary lives and feelings of minorities. But I think it will be generations before there is a basic respect and equality among all people. This is not to suggest that there has not been progress, but it has come at a very high price.

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Octavia Butler--we need her to be required reading, IMHO

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...and her "Sowers..." series is great.

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I couldn’t agree more!

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Thanks for that ... a valuable perspective.

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Thanks, RD, for bringing up Atticus Finch. Once lost, trust is very hard to regain in all walks of life, but especially governments. A few years ago, when Danes were interviewed as to why they were rated the happiest country in the world, I was struck by how many said that they trusted their government. It's fundemental!

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Richard Grenell is a pig. The President who installed him is a pig. The 40% of Americans who chose those 2 and look to DT as a leader need a cult deprogramming. They are still holding on tightly to a world where whites have priority over blacks and everybody else, where males have priority over females, etc. etc. They need to grow up and wake up and leave the past behind, and they are going to be squeezed tighter and tighter until forced to evolve. Or leave. Europe unfortunately got to see America going through a social order identity crisis. It happens. The elementary school children were running the school district for awhile. Severe backlash to the first black president. Now we’re back to the adults, the egalitarian social order that will prevail. I’m not sure we’re going to have a backlash this next time, at least not as severe, but I could be wrong. In 2024 we could go back to Kool-Aid Land. But the die is already cast. At some point the change will be irrevocable and irreversible, and the social laggards will just be swept along with the tide.

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"Now we’re back to the adults, the egalitarian social order that will prevail .... the social laggards will just be swept along with the tide."

A sweet song in a weary throat.

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I have thought often of Scout and Atticus and Tom in the last few years. Thanks for the reminder.

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With good reason. WE have work to do, all of us this time.

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Lou Dobbs show cancelled on Fox Business, Biden stops Trump's intelligence briefings. Pinch me, I must still be dreaming.

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Biden also handled questions about the briefing very diplomatically, I thought. He seemed to check himself and ended his comment about why Trump shouldn't get intelligence briefings by saying, finally, he didn't see any reason why he should have them. Good cover...don't give the nutties any sound bites.

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All my worries about Biden’s mental acuity were for naught. He must be giving them fits.

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I let out a loud cheer when I read about Dobbs! Thank goodness! He can slink away and find Bill OReily.

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I am ecstatic to hear that Lou Dobbs has no jobbs.

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Come wipe off my laptop screen for that one David. As for Lou, what goes around comes around and there's a lot more to come. The right wing fascists have reached terminal velocity. It's only down from here on. That's what I'm telling myself.

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Let Dobbs eat corn cobs and nasal swabs.

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On the virtual jukebox the number one play is "Lou's Blues"

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Good move, Joe !!!

Consider yourself pinched, Chris.

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Really? I hadn’t heard the good news x2 !!! Thanks

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I have been wishing for a Teddy Roosevelt to show up in our time and now you have just pointed out Biden may be just that person! Teddy Roosevelt, a rich person himself and a Republican when it was the GOP, nevertheless busted up the monopolies which we need to do again in this century along with the notion that data monopolies must not be allowed to give undue advantage to the largest technology corporations. Each of us who pay anything in taxes to the US government are contributing more to the tax base than 60 of the largest corporations combined who pay zero in taxes. The other thing that Teddy Roosevelt did that Biden is now going to restore is establishing the National Parks and not let these precious resources be exploited and destroyed so that future generations can enjoy them. Biden has already stopped allowing new oil leases on Federal lands.

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Loving this conversation. Speaking of National Parks, out here in Washington (state) the state parks commission just voted 5-4 to allow the USNavy to use several of them (8.500 acres) for night training. With the USNavy already overrunning the Hoh Rainforest and the Olympic Peninsula in general with next-gen Growlers that violate sound barriers in one of the World Heritage Sights' "quietest places on Earth," our parks are under serious assault. And I won't go into what the USNavy is doing to marine ecosystems.

How do we get the military to stop making endless preparation for war, not to mention at the expense of the environment?

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I've always loved Ed McCurdy's song;

Last night I had the strangest dream

I ever dreamed before

I dreamed the world had all agreed

To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room

Filled with women and men

And the paper they were signing said

They'd never fight again

And when the papers all were signed

And a million copies made

They all joined hands and bowed their heads

And grateful prayers were prayed

And the people in the streets below

Were dancing round and round

And guns and swords and uniforms

Were scattered on the ground

Last night I had the strangest dream

I ever dreamed before

I dreamed the world had all agreed

To put an end to war

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Simon & Garfunkel did a superb version.

And for all us oldies buffs, checkout KOOL1071.com. It's supported by the Oldies Preservation Society & plays the first 30 years of rock N roll.

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Arlo Guthrie

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Saw him in concert about 4 years ago. The Alice's Restaurant film was his wardrobe change time.

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About 15 years ago for me. He didn't play "AR," and I'm glad. Instead we heard four shorter, more melodic numbers.

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It's one of my favorite songs too. But the one on the same Simon & Garfunkel album that haunts me the most is the one (I forget the exact title) about the sun coming to earth. Something to think about (and to act on?) now that we have the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons added to our body of international law.

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The Sun Is Burning. Yeah, that is a haunting song. They have lots of great songs.

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Beautiful, ty

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The U. S. Navy submarines practices with Utrasonic blasts off the coast of the Pacific Northwest damaging marine life deep at sea.

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They've been doing this for decades right? Sigh, so sad.

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WA state here. And avid outdoorswoman. I hear you and feel you. Public lands is one of my causes and I was vaguely familiar with the navy situation. Thank you for that. Right now I’m involved in the beautiful shrub steppe acreage in my area and a dump site that is designated for gravel, rocks, cement, only but that has been secretly opening its gates at night for household garbage from major cities like Seattle, Bellevue, Snohomish, Spokane. It’s outrageous.

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Hi Tricia, the towns are familiar from many family visits. You might see my twin outdoors, running his streak of skiing at least once every month for over 10 years. Otherwise he's busy with all kinds of peace/justice commitments. I should tip him to LFAA, if he doesn't know already.

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The navy got kicked out of Vieques. Do we need to "practice war"? That is the question.

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You know, simulation works quite well at teaching/drilling both basic skills and complex procedure processes in health care - and does in some aspects of the military already - so perhaps that is an area to explore for future military training. Of course, anyone who has read Orson Scott Car's Ender's Game knows how that could be misused as well!

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Here's the antidote to military training.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xzr_GBa8qk

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The issue becomes the one who refuses to travel with us. For which I do nto have an answer. But thank you for the link. Made my Sunday morning!

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Hi TPJ, meant to attach this before, better late than never!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQEve-69r6I

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I nominate Vieques for the 53rd state -- right after DC and PR, just before Long Island. Make it so!

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Wow, I spend lots of time here. Would you all please stop being so interesting???

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Addictive, isn’t it? There will eventually be a 12 step program. First step, I have to admit that I’m powerless. I cannot refrain from reading and posting, it’s just too damn delightful.

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It certainly is challenging, isn’t it? It used to be easier when there were only a couple hundred comments, but now some days there’s double that!

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Holy Toledo I’m still getting likes from February 2 and February 3!

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You're in the archive, man.

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Then we have to create discussion and support groups for fellow addicts in every corner.

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Exactly, TPJ! My vacuum cleaner is feeling neglected..has joined the ASPCVC (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vacuum Cleaners)

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Get a Roomba. You can spend more time reading and replying!

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Daria you’re a genius. But don’t ever join our 12 step program, you’ll corrupt the other people who are trying to get clean and sober

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Roland, my goal is to corrupt you all!

Mwa hahahahahaha! 😆💙😉

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Too late, Daria. They got to me years ago.

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I have one. We named it Clarice.

Wonderful gadget (altho it probably would help keep floors less disgusting if we didn’t have a dog.........)

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They are the best. Ours is named Leo.

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That is so funny! We (my husband and I) have, for 37 years, referred to an imaginary couple who take care of household things that we wish didn’t need doing (or things we would like someone to do for us). Like vacuuming, or shoveling the driveway. Or fixing me a martini, or whipping up a blueberry pie. This imaginary couple we named Clarice and Bruce. So, the Roomba was an easy name. If I get a second Roomba (large house😞 and I am no longer in my sixties) I will name it Bruce.

But we will have to get another imaginary helper to make my martini... 😎

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Judith, I love that you have an imaginary couple to do your chores! We've had Leo for @ 5 years and send him upstairs a couple times a week. We're also contemplating a second one who can dedicate his or her life to the 2nd floor.

We ask Roomba or our cat, Isaac, to fetch coffee and cocktails, but to no avail. They refuse to be trained.

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The hangover's imaginary too!

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And your cat will have its own mode of transportation.

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Oh Lynell that’s so cool that you know them! My wife and I adopted a stray vacuum cleaner from one of those shelters!

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You know what I mean, a rescue.

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A shelter dog has the run of the White House.

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Tell your vacuum cleaner to svck it up!

(I'm amazed that phrase isn't an insult.)

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Okay, TPJ, you made me do this (spoiler alert...the following is another rabbit hole of deep dimensions):

Be careful please. People are going crazy from being locked down at home.

I was talking it over with the microwave and the toaster while drinking my coffee, and we all agreed that things are getting serious.

I did not mention it to the washing machine, because she puts a different spin on everything.

Certainly, I could not share it with the fridge. He has been so cold and distant.

In the end, the iron straightened me out. She said the situation is not all that pressing and all the wrinkles will soon get ironed out.

The vacuum, however, was unsympathetic. Told me to just suck it up, Buttercup!

But the fan was optimistic Gave me hope it will all blow over soon.

The toilet looked a bit flushed, but did not respond when I asked its opinion.

The front door said I was becoming unhinged, and the doorknob told me to get a grip.

You can guess what the curtains said. . . Just pull yourself together!

We will survive!!

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Laugh out loud. BTW the car is driving me crazy.

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I have come to really enjoy reading and commenting here. I learn a lot, and love chasing the links that people share.

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Me, too, Ally. Except for me life got even crazier busy than usual and I haven’t had time to comment much here and am starting to feel more like a spectator and out of the loop. I especially love the links that people share! I learn so much here!

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Me three, you two. Comments here need to be thoughtful to match a thoughtful audience. When posting on the Bos Globe online I usually just blurt things out.

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I do the same on WaPo.

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Woo Hoo backatcha. What a splendid, hopeful, informed, optimistic and realistic essay, making glad the hearts of all who believe once again that the United States of America can and will be the shining city on the hill. Your Letters from an American are all so beautifully crafted and intelligent, but this one -- rich in history and tradition and intelligence -- shines the light into a hitherto dark corner with intensity and focus.

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So very well put! Spot on.....like Heather herself.

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Love your photos. Met you several years ago at your gallery when researching a book on Phillip Booth. Such lovely and serene pics your take.....

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Thanks, Pam....I recall your visit. Stay safe and read Heather!!

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Can I talk some religion, now? Good, thanks! 😀 I’ve felt Joe B’s deep sense of faith, rooted in his Catholic social justice teachings. This is his compass, his rudder and North Star. I am so relieved that I KNOW from where this brother comes, because I feel certain in where he is going! Like a man following a celestial being, through the long dark night.

Most of my liberal friends have a limited view of ‘the church’, at best, and at worst, the common view of its scandalous behavior, and its limitations placed upon women. OK, I understand this. But there is much more, a vast universe of principles and morals, that can unite this society, I see this social justice teaching as simply the universal call for compassion and caring. I feel Joe sees people as, well, akin to the archetypal (universal) view of anyone toward a baby, a kitten or puppy, or a gift from a loved one. His bone and marrow have experienced so much personal tragedy, and personal healing. Borne from all of this, he has come with a tonic and elixir for our ill society.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-catholic-social-teaching-unite-a-divided-america-11612540382

This link is an exploration of these social justice teachings, as how they guide Pres. Biden. Surprisingly, the piece was published in todays ... Wall Street Journal.

On my altar, back in Maine, is a picture of Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, along with a copy of the Laudato si’. And a picture of Thich Nhat Hanh, and another of Roberto Clemente.

Doesn’t compassion and caring come in many different phases and faces, and colors?

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This is really beautifully said Frederick. To me, all religion springs from the one sublime source. I’m not a religious person, but I have a very deep connection to life and love and spirituality. Your post is exquisite. 🌺

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Roland, thank you so much! Coming from a man, your expression is very dear (!) and I appreciate it very much

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Institutions are imperfect. The Vatican has serious problems just like the Republican Party has serious problems. The Vatican’s problems does not mean spirituality is corrupt any more than the Republicans lack of integrity means that democracy is corrupt. It’s the essence, the principle, that matters. You invoke Thomas Merton, Jorge Bergoglio (the first pope ever to take the name of Francis of Assisi), the Dalai Lama, the other famous Buddhist gentleman. Goodness, that’s all anyone needs to know about where you stand. What a beautiful collection.

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N.B. The Dalai Lama is one of my wife’s favorites. Francis of Assisi is one of mine. I was born in Saint Francis hospital in San Francisco. I’m a double fan.

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Yes it does Frederick. President Biden has found this in organized religion and he lives and breathes it and sees beyond the scandal and corruption that can pervade any organization. I love that you aren’t simply crediting one religion. I grew up as a Catholic but realized at an early age that it didn’t come close to my beliefs... the nuns told me my Protestant Grandpa would forever be in limbo not heaven. I knew that was BS...he was much kinder than Monsignor O’Conner, and if that nasty catholic priest was going to heaven so was Grandpa Gus! President Biden is an amazing man to have not lost faith with God or humanity after having endured all he has in his 74 years as you mentioned. He truly is a soothing balm for our country after the scorched earth approach of trump. ❤️🙏🏼🍾🥂

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(More religious musing here...) LOVE your post, Frederick. I share many of these sentiments. As an Anglican/Episcopalian, there is much that unites us with the RCC. Yes, we have some very divergent views on some matters of doctrine--and we will continue to explore these differences together--but in so many matters of social responsibility we are united. One of the phrases in our Baptismal Vows/Covenant is to "respect the dignity of every human being." We are called, exhorted even, to use Christ as our model when it comes to compassion and caring, and how we treat our fellow human beings. It should all come from a well-spring in us of love. That is what Christ taught us. It is what SO many other faiths are about as well and this spirit of ecumenical-ism, exploring other faiths and finding our commonalities, is very strong in our church. Like the RCC, all we can do is try and emulate Christ in how we lead our lives. Lord (He) knows, we don't always succeed. Like you, I see, I recognise this same feeling influencing a lot of what President Biden is trying to accomplish. I find it enormously refreshing and reassuring. This deep sense of caring has been instilled in him, and his faith has been tempered and tested through what he has had to endure. It shows. Yes, Biden, like many American Catholics, undoubtedly has some views which might be at odds with dictates from Rome, but Biden has in him and operates from that grounding spirit of compassion. Like you said, a LOT of people have a LOT of trouble with what organised religion has foisted on the human race and the many horrors committed in the name of religion. I can understand how people can be repulsed by this awful legacy. It troubles me, as I'm sure it does you, but in spite of those atrocities, which I in no way ignore or gloss over, there IS a lot of pure and beautiful good that is done. It is done unconditionally with nothing expected in return. It does not call attention to itself. It is done purely out of love. Biden is that kind of leader who, even though his religious faith has shaped and molded him, he does not believe in forcing his religion's tenets on the nation he is leading. I think Kennedy got it as well. But that spirit of caring and compassion, THAT is what guides him, and that warms my heart. These other religious zealots grabbing the headlines ARE in the business of trying to ram their version of Christian morality down everyone's collective throat. My belief is they do it more out of a sense of evangelism, and this idea that the more souls they can "win" for Christ, the greater their "reward" in heaven will be. That is just SO screwed up, to my way of thinking. It goes against everything I believe. Christ urges us to not make a show of our faith, for, as he said, "that is what the hypocrites do". (We have this wonderful passage from Matthew in our Ash Wednesday/Lenten liturgy coming up, as I'm sure you recognise.) We only try to teach by doing and by setting an example, not making a spectacle out of what we're doing. Let others see and learn by your example. That's it. Simple really. Biden reflects the better side of this religion we practice, and many people could maybe learn a lot by emulating him. Again, think you for your excellent, heart-felt post above. God bless.

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"Thank" you, not "think" you...

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🙏

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Beautiful comment and I couldn’t agree more. I’m a practicing Catholic and I see and hear Biden’s faith in all he does — personal and professional. He reminds me so much of my Catholic FIL who was lived and breathed justice and rules but caring for the least of our brethren. I believe it is a divine calling for him to be where he is now. He’s lived the book of Job his entire life and yet he continues to give. To trust. To use the lessons of his own pain in a highest calling of this land. I pray daily that God holds President Biden close and keeps him safe.

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I am one of those doubting liberals, and someone who deeply disapproves of the church's "scandalous behavior and limitations placed on women," but I am on the Sisters of Mercy mailing list and regularly respond to requests for social justice awareness. My disbelief of religions is a schism in my life, but personal spirituality is a life force, I believe. The teachings of Catholic social responsibility and morality are close to my heart. I also follow the Reverend William Barber's Poor People's Campaign.

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Ah, Sisters of Mercy, and Rev Barber! Sister Joan Chittester, and the Nuns on the Bus. I grew into adulthood with The Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, which planted seeds for my understanding of social justice teachings. In Maine, the most significant advocate for refuges is Catholic Charities, and the Catholic parishes, pews filled with brothers and sisters from Riwanda, the Dem Rep of Congo, the Sudan. And we all sing-out-loud and clap in unison.

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I casually follow Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, who writes some well thought out pieces. As a non practicing catholic with 12 years of catholic education, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions when my older brother went to Gonzaga U. This was in the mid to late 60s around Roe v Wade. My poor mother was really challenged on all her sheep like beliefs!

I wish I could concisely write about my mishmash thoughts on religion & spirituality. My favorite boss was a practicing Jew who was also a student of philosophy & religion. We had many interesting discussions. He has a concept of one God at the top of a mountain with all religions climbing up different sides of that mountain. In which case, all religions can claim having the one true God. It's fun to play with the concept.

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What a terrific image your favorite boss created, Betsy. Room for all to climb.

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Absolutely. And the fact that Joe has experienced great tragedy, as you have said, has surely shaped his ability to empathize with others’ suffering. He is a good man, who cares. That is everything these days.

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While I am a strong proponent of "whatever gets you through the night," and, clearly, religion provides that comfort, support, and community for many, I would like to remind you that the United States was established as a secular nation. The rise of Christian Nationalism has contributed beyond measure to the dumpster fire we have recently been living, particularly in the past four years though its origins reach further back in our history.

I will defend anyone's right to practice their religion as long as it does not cause harm, but I will also defend and work for our secular nation as best I can. Any religious extremism is alarming to those who recognize it; during the past twenty years, there have been an increasing number of books and articles devoted to the examination of the damaging effects of extremist and fundamentalist religion, particularly Christianity, on the politics of our secular nation.

For an examination of the origins of the Enlightenment influence on the framer's and the creation of a secular government, the first of its kind, I suggest "Nature's God," by Matthew Stewart.

"One Nation Under God," by Kevin M. Kruse, provides an understanding of the rise of Christian Nationalism. He explains his motivation in this article: https://casetext.com/analysis/why-i-wrote-this-book-kevin-m-kruse-one-nation-under-god-how-corporate-america-invented-christian-america

John Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor who challenges Christians to examine their beliefs:

https://johnpavlovitz.com/?fbclid=IwAR0ykW7qGpIwqIpHzmRZjuK2lEJrostNq-tne2do6ROUwZZWukxzSL3pfPQ

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Kathi, thank you for your post. So I am reminded of our guiding principles as a nation, and there is nothing more core to me than “liberty and justice for all” ~ a very poignant and secular statement, but what more needs to be said? It is our “pledge” to this country, to our United States. It really is our “moral imperative."

I find at times it is appropriate in a conversation, to remind the other person that love and compassion are at the core of all spiritual traditions, even theirs (if the happen to be a consecrative christian evangelical)

I couldn’t agree with you more about the abusive use of faith, and its hold on many people now.

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btw, thanks for the resources

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Thank you for your response. Love and compassion are not limited to those who claim religion.

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Agreed, Kathi. Some of the most ethical people are atheists.

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To answer, yes. In our political discussions we too often seem to be falting religion in broad terms and even worsely as in opposition to reason. Evangelicalism and Catholicism and other conservative Christian denominations seem the stereotype that needs to be called out. Faith and belief are great influences on most of us, whether active committed self-identified religious persons or otherwise. I find comfort among people who live and believe and lead based upon the deeply held values that came to them through religious learning. Mr Biden seems to me someone of that ilk, humane and believing with to ability to have core values supporting or informing his hopes and acts on behalf of America.

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Bless you for including Roberto Clemente.

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"One light though the lamps be many" The Incredible String Band

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It’s like having a real American as President.

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And a real president period.

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A sane American!

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All of the above from you all.

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Kinda makes me tingle all over knowing that we are experiencing “a comeback”. I have to caution myself about not getting too excited because the Repubs could throw a wrench.

I watched two women of The Squad speak yesterday, AOC and Talib. I was very emotional as they spoke of being targeted by hate mail, email, and phone threats to their lives as well as their families. Despicable behavior is what Fake45 unleashed. He gave permission for all of these crazies to disrespect all forms of discipline as well as the law. All I can say is that I look forward in watching the second impeachment trial next week. Could be the best or worst of tv viewing for all of the stations. Well, maybe not Fox.

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Hi Marlene, yes I had a similar reaction. It’s a beautiful feeling isn’t it.

On the downside, the threats, I’m thinking about the incredible drain on resources being experienced by the FBI, the Secret Service, and the DOJ, caused by Mischief Maker. I can only imagine how much more capacity and how much deeper the resources if they didn’t have to deal with the US capital riot, additional security for members of Congress, and just overall the massively larger number of threats this one human being has dredged up out of the dregs of human consciousness. Remember the guy who went to South Texas and started shooting at Latinos? That guy never shows up in public if it weren’t for Macho in Chief. The Secret Service must be besides themselves. They must be doing hero-level work loads right now, not to mention also Capitol Police.

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Biden has been remarkable and much deeper than I had dared hope. But. They are so busy I wonder who is watching McConnell, Jordan, McCarthy, Gaitze, Nunes, Cruz ... Gohmert, Scalise, Graham. They are dangerous and they will never stop. Some big money must be involved backing the white supremest’s (hopefully) last gasp. I am wary about next week, especially if Trump shows up. However, I was buoyed by Hoyer’s speech and leadership and I trust Biden and his professional team are prepared.

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I'm seconding your concern. And the emerging evident leadership. I'm really appreciative that much media has moved away from the former fearful leader. What was that about keeping one's foes close? Add Boebert and Greene to your list up there. There are media posts with the lists of sponsors of Fox, OAN, etc making the rounds. Boycotting them would be a good start. I agree that the folks named above will use nefarious means to get to increasing the chaos, messing up the vote, and whatever else they are instructed to do by the money behind them. I wonder how they experience being purchased people.

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Fox is in deep trouble right now. The Smartmatic lawsuit is going to nail them, because their show hosts lied about the machines and did huge financial and reputational damage, not to mention death threats against employees and families. A few weeks ago I listened to an NPR interview of the CEO of Dominion. He said that just the extra cost of security for his employees and their families at work and at home is through the roof. Can you imagine? Working for one of these companies are needing to have security at your house? Lou Dobbs was fired two days after the smart Mattick lawsuit was served. He is one of the four fox hosts named in this Smartmatic suit. It’s going to really hurt Fox, because they don’t have plausible excuse for what they did except to improve ratings and therefore make money off the damage to the voting machine companies. Payback baby. What goes around comes around. Another of the reasons that I’m feeling joy this morning. We need to see serious damage to Fox, serious consequences for those reckless actions, putting all those employees and their families at risk. It’s unconscionable. They need to get absolutely slammed and hammered, nothing less than full payback.

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And yet 74 million Americans are watching all this with wallets open, supporting the behaviors of these networks and political disgraces. FOX is worth over $17 billion and these cases are long and hard cases to win. My hope is that both Dominion and Smartmatic fight until the very last dollar has been extracted out of these networks and their supporters. I want to see more lawsuits that hit Trump harder than he can hit back. I want to see the lies defunded until their platform is so small that no one cares to listen anymore. I also hope that the Republican Party continues to fracture and that democrats can do the right things to peel off a few republicans and win in 2022.

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74.2 million. I want to remember that number till my dying day.

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I’m watching my giddy joy for retribution - but perhaps I’ll see this as an act requiring redemption to our society.

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So totally agree. ❤️🤍💙

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A campaign of cable subscribers to un-bundle fox, etc would hit them hard in the wallet.

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From your lips . . .

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To God’s...

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I agree Roland re: how much more capacity and resources would be available If the FBI et al didn't have to investigate, capture and prosecute all the insurgents, traitors, and, sadly, some legislators, who participated in the assault on our Capitol. But I see it as "At Last!" TRump drew them out - they and their ilk have been causing havoc and hell since Reconstruction. Time to end The Civil War.

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if Black, those insurgents would have been, at minimum, arrested that day or shot, saving all that time finding them. Still fuming at the let 'em in, let 'em out process. SO unprepared as I am beginning to understand it, by design. Time to resolve the Civil War.

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Mass shootings of Blacks, then mass arrests. Dozens, maybe hundreds of casualties. Jan 6 may be the most brazen display of white supremacy since the Tulsa Massacre, now just four months shy of its 100th anniversary. Both justice and national security demand that it be extirpated root and branch, nonviolently of course.

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Yes MaryPat that is one of the silver linings to this whole four year long torture chamber: all the creepy crawly nasty stuff hiding under the rock has been revealed. Boy it sure isn’t pretty. You’re absolutely right, the agencies are taking these True deplorables seriously and giving them all a criminal record, something they well deserve. Curiously the complicit Republican Congress people are still managing to keep their dirty secrets hidden for now. But I suspect everybody who was a speaker at the Jan. 6 Save America rally is in deep yogurt and just doesn’t know it yet, and perhaps even the organizers, the low-level flunkies, may well end up with a criminal record.

https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-donald-trump-capitol-siege-campaigns-elections-d14c78d53b3a212658223252fec87e99

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I truly feel for the Secret Service people who guarded and are guarding (still🤬) the Fake president. This is another reason why the second impeachment trial is so important. If our Mgrs. are successful in swaying more votes, Fake45 will no longer be entitled to their protection. I want that to happen so badly.

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Yes, I stumbled upon some talk radio the other day. Two male hosts picking apart her written description of the ASSAULT and fear she lived through. Their banter was simply and utterly disgusting. THIS is why victims do not come forth, "they" just don't get it. But, thanks to brave women all over the country, this tide of historical abusive culture is changing.

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We live in an abusive culture. And this is what happens to victims who tell their stories. They are minimized, ridiculed, gaslighted. Instead of being offered solemn compassion and nonjudgmental listening.

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All the more reason for women to get elected to these jobs. To call out these men, on the mainstream and to utilize social media, like AOC did. This is our way of fighting back. People of color have been victimized for way too long. Arm-in-arm we all must stand together.

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I watched that too. Tears. And MTG holding a semi-auto weapon in her campaign ad with those women’s faces. That’s terrorism in my book. We owe these women a lifetime of gratitude for serving our country under such conditions.

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And we need to keep them and our country and our Earth in our prayers/thoughts/positive visualizations. We are in precarious times.

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This is an example of why more people do not run for public office! (Besides the obnoxious cost).

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Biden’s speech was a fascinating read. Two things leapt out at me:

1) Mentioning his American Rescue Plan, he pledged to “work with Congress to make far-reaching investments in research and development...in transformable technologies.” Transformable technologies is a new term for me; was he signaling support for the traditional fossil-fuel behemoths and their allies as the world shifts towards renewable energy (GM pledging an all-electric product line of 30 vehicles by 2025; Ford making big investments on all-electric and self-driving cars, for example)? Sounds like Biden is signaling that he’s working to turn the great ship of state out of the dark ages, and assuring the big American manufacturers and their workers that he’ll support them through the turn.

2) He credited Eleanor Roosevelt for the “audacious idea of universal rights that belong to all.” Credit where credit is due! So great to hear a man point out a woman’s contribution, rather than crediting her husband or himself. That, to me, is such a hopeful signal of fairness and inclusion.

Actually, he said a lot more. After I finished reading his speech, I marveled at the number of points he made and the clarity of thought and humanity underpinning them. What a hopeful read!

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On First Read, as is so often the case after ingesting Heather’s incisive morning digests, I had so much on which I thought I might comment. More after reading these wonderful (always) responses.

Deborah’s summed it perfectly: “After reading [President Biden’s State Department] speech, I marveled at the number of points he made and the clarity of thought and humanity underpinning them.“

That has really been the case in action after action, speech after speech, in the days of transition and particularly in the presidency. And VP Harris is always there with him, watching, learning, engaging herself. My career diplomat father (45 yrs) worked with Biden when he was first on Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and contributed advice in Biden’s first presidential run. This is a life-tempered and ‘battle-tested’ president. It’s incredibly reassuring to read the speech and to be confident in the charge he has given to the nation’s diplomats.

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