I had planned to talk about the to-be-read and to-be-cooked lists I’ve been compiling for the new year, along with a few stabs I’ve made at de-cluttering and the other ways in which I was planning to entertain myself while we wait out the pandemic. (In the county were I live the Health Department describes the risk of infection as “substantial.” I don’t know what that means but it doesn’t sound good, does it?
Then, on last Wednesday afternoon while I was on a Zoom call, my husband passed me a note that read, “The protesters have breached the capitol, and Congress is under lockdown.”
When my call was over and I joined my husband in front iof the television, we both watched, jaws dropping, at the sight of protesters over-running the Capitol Police inside that space. What a stunning violation in the seat of our democracy!
My husband and I have personal connections to the Capitol. Steve grew up in suburban Washington D.C. and spent a fair amount of time working summers on The Hill. I spent a semester off-campus in Washington, where my roommate and I had little blue passes that got us into the House and Senate visitors galleries whenever we wanted. As political junkies we spent a lot of time there. Obviously security has necessarily grown tighter since then, but Steve and I have visited with our son and daughter more than once. On our last visit, my daughter actually led the tour as a summer Senate intern.
I can’t explain the sinking, sick feeling I had when sign-carrying protesters, some of them wrapped in flags, wandered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, sat in the Speakers’ chair, and pushed and shouted their way thru Statuary Hall. I can count a number of friends from both political parties who I’m sure had the same gut reaction. It was so out of time and place. But that was just the beginning.
Sadly, as the news continues to unfold, the dark, dangerous intent behind this protest becomes darker and clearer. And that raises even more questions. It’s heartbreaking, infuriating, ugly and frightening.
This blog is intended to weigh in on life’s lighter side — on looks, cooks, books, and occasional travels — and I’ll certainly get back to that soon. But January 6, 2021, is a seminal moment in American history, as stunning as 9/11. This time the enemy came from within. That it was endorsed by a sitting president makes it unspeakable.
I realize we all have a lot to unpack and sort out here. I just had to pause.