Political Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Full disclosure: I’m writing this a couple of days in advance. Between the day I’m writing this and the day of the inauguration, I should finish a few tasks around the house and, with any luck, get my gun license and pick up my new handgun.
Somehow, and sadly, to say “pick up my new handgun” this close to inauguration and in the current political climate sounds ominous. And as sad (and ashamed) as I am to say it, it’s because of the inauguration that I am again thinking of becoming a handgun owner for home protection. It should not have come to this, but it has.
Sunday, a woman was arrested for trying to impersonate an officer and gain access to a restricted area in Washington, D.C. Another was arrested on weapons charges. We have an occupied Capitol building, although today it’s occupied by our army as opposed to insurrectionists with the most National Guards personnel called to protect the federal buildings in history. The FBI has put the capitals of all fifty states on high alert in response to anticipated violence. Note that they are expecting violence, not protests, which is quite a significant difference from the largely peaceful BLM protests until infiltrators vandalized and tried to incite rioting to make them look more violent than they actually were.
The irony, of course, is that the very people (especially politicians) who actively stoked the insurrection are now calling for unity as Democrats are wanting accountability. It makes sense, I suppose; the Republican party is mid-implosion with the violent extremists on one side (an offshoot of QAnon that, as near as I can tell, replaced the extreme Tea Party) and more moderate Republicans who, frankly, just don’t want to leave the party. I expect these more moderate Republicans are the ones whose parents have always been Republican, and therefor they’ve always been Republican. They’re the ones making contradictory statements like, “I support Trump, but I don’t support the seditionists.” The Republican “leaders” are now struggling to figure out how to hole the party together, as Trump and his supporters are talking about splitting off and forming their own party, as are the moderate Republicans in the hopes of distancing themselves from the violent mob. It seems that nearly all Republican representatives are struggling to find a way to condemn the violence while still wooing those who caused it, namely the Trump supporters. If the party splits, neither half will have enough voters to put forth a viable candidate for president in 2024.
We need unity. Of that, there is no doubt. And we need accountability, which will surely cause significant harm to the Republican party as more information comes out about the insurrection and occupation. Our new president, President Biden, has his work cut out for him. Our nation is probably as divided as it has been since the Civil war, the Republican party is falling apart which will make it hard to work across the aisle as they will be more concerned with saving their party than the good of the people, and we still need accountability. The Trump presidency has alarmed our allies and delighted our enemies which will make international relations incredibly difficult. North Korea and Iran have both edged closer to becoming nuclear nations thanks to Trump’s unwillingness to support the treaties that kept them at bay, and because he backed out of those treaties it will make those same nations wary of trusting the United States again. Although I prefer diplomacy to military solutions, Trump’s premature draw down of American forces from regions of violence have allowed Russia and China to spread their influence significantly, which will make those same diplomatic solutions more difficult. Additionally, Trump’s villainization of leaders and nations like Brazil has no doubt hardened their resolve to avoid talks with the US as well. Add the failed Trump handling of the pandemic, with lies about the reserve of vaccination doses is leading to another challenging surge, anticipated to be the worst yet.
And with all of this, Biden and Harris will take the reins today (assuming this posts as anticipated). They’ll get the blame from the Republican party for the looming Covid-19 surge, and taxes will be increasing this year because the “cuts” from Trump’s tax plans will, by law, expire for the vast majority of us for which Biden and Harris will also be blamed. It will be a difficult year, with difficult choices to make, but with his experience, and her passion, I look forward to seeing if they can handle this broken nation.