Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal
The Week of Saturday, January 2 through Friday, January 8, 2021 [Vol.2 No.25]
The Week’s Most Notable
This may have been one of the more significant weeks in U.S. history. In fact, Wednesday January 6, may be one of those days for the generations to remember. What happened during the week: The worst coronavirus numbers yet, the sacking of the U.S. Capitol building by a Trump incited mob, the Georgia election of two Democrats that flipped control of the Senate, and the desperate follow-up by both Democrats and Republicans to the problem of what to do with Trump, are dramatic in their own right, but the real significance is how they can potentially play out in the longer-term future of democracy in America.
Peak pandemic is what the epidemiologists are calling it. It’s a confluence of bad public behavior, bad mitigation policy, bad leadership, and the proclivity of the virus to up its game during national holidays. After 10 months of confused messaging, political opportunism, and just being plain sick of the pandemic threat, a large proportion of the American public moved about too much, clumped together too much, ignored masking, and staged a variety of superspreader events. It worked. This week’s more than 4,000 deaths in one day, more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day, and more than 130,000 hospitalizations broke all records and severely tested the medical capacity of the U.S. And yet this did not dominate the news.
It’s the images that will stick. Most Americans will remember the desecration of the national Capitol building: the mob flowing up the Capitol steps, the flutter of Trump flags, the smashing of windows, the shit on the walls, blood on the floor, and the moronic grin of a guy stealing Pelosi’s podium. Some of it had a grotesque carnival atmosphere, but inside – in the halls of Congress – people died, our elected representatives feared for their lives, and the business of Congress, which happened to be certifying a new president, was brought to a halt for much of the day. The alt-right militias had prepared for months, the guardians of the Capitol were conveniently undermanned, the Trump-GOP and right-wing media provided a stream of Big Lie (Stolen Election) rationale, and the President of the United States deliberately pointed the mob in the direction of the Capitol. It was an event of starkly profound symbolism, an apotheosis of a fool’s insurrection, and quite possibly a watershed in the political fortunes of the American democratic experiment.
Meanwhile, that same day the American democracy elected a black preacher and Jewish filmmaker as the two newest members of the United States Senate; coming from the state of Georgia, an astonishing result on many levels. The senators are Democrats and they tip control of the Senate, which will make it possible for President Biden to have a shot at forming his government and enacting his legislation without the intractable obstructionism of Mitch McConnell. Now it’s up to the Democrats to get enough done that they warrant more votes in the 2022 midterms.
At the moment, the GOP finds itself wedded to Trump and the Big Lie. Yet there are those in the GOP who appear to be considering divorce, a split from Trump; there are those who continue to support the Big Lie of a stolen election and refuse to grant legitimacy to Biden’s win and there are those who admit Biden’s win and wish to move on. It was thought the debacle at the Capitol would quash support for the Big Lie, but that same night more than 130 Republicans continued their fictional narrative and voted against Biden’s certification. The Big Lie continues to be the top-level motivation for right-wing militias and Republican opposition. Until the Big Lie and the corresponding legally illegitimate claims of having “evidence” for a rigged election are addressed, the right-wing media, Trump’s base, and ultraconservative politicians (much of the GOP) will continue to use it to justify their actions – including the assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Saturday, January 2
[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 20,977,465; Deaths: 358,738
[Election – 2020] Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) Become Headliners for Election Certification Opposition – Joined by 11 other senators and 132 House Republicans, these are the folks who plan on using the Wednesday certification process to further the Big Lie. Their performance for the Trump-GOP base is intended to reinforce the right-wing media propaganda effort to solidify long-term opposition to Biden.
[Election – 2020] Trump Uses Phone Call for Georgia Election Extortion – In an ongoing series of calls and public moves, Trump continued to put pressure on Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 ballots.” This is the margin by which Trump lost Georgia. In this case, the phone call was recorded and witnessed by others in the office, which makes it potentially evidence for illegal election tampering. Raffensperger released the recording after Trump went public with his criticism of the Secretary of State.