Look Away (Insurrection Day January 6, 2021)

Look Away

(Insurrection Day January 6, 2021)

Copyright 2021, held by author.

I love America but despise patriotism. I’m deeply apprehensive about anything prone to promoting or permitting harm.

Insurrection Day – January 6, 2021 – the day fellow Americans marched the Confederate Flag into the U.S. Capital building.

The entity responsible for more dead Americans than any disease, act of nature or foreign nation. America’s undead id who, to destroy our Union, was willing to kill and die. No enemy more ultimate.

For them, the Revolution was about freeing slave-owners from a colonial empire that was limiting their profits. The subsequent sectional dispute over whether or not the all in created equal meant all humanity led to a war that has not yet ended.

You can claw their lost cause from their dead hands but they elected a president. Sarcastic and insulting, insinuated lethal force – we played deaf for years but now… law enforcement, military, legislatures, news media – they’re in every branch of society, aided and abetted by republican politicians. They’re fighting for the right to establish forever that their patriotism is America’s original heart and eternal soul.

How did Insurrection Day feel and what did it mean?

Dear reader, your understanding of this January Sixth may depend on how far into the future you’re reading this. What I can’t explain is why something that sickens me inspired millions.

The Confederacy – a system where racism, deemed common sense, is foundational policy – was celebrated with mayhem in the legislative temple. This space feels sacred, as immovable as a mountain – here historical facts are made – the operational idea of America in full functional realization – forever familiar chamber, scenery for the soundbite oratory we’ve witnessed throughout our news watching memories.

Where this nation of laws makes law. Where they turned the Emancipation Proclamation into the 13th , 14th & 15th Amendments.

Didn’t a Bugs Bunny character predict the South Shall Rise Again?

Nothing less than a desecration by racists well aware their bigotry must oppress. Now like the fatherland we can boast the American Swastika once flew in our capital.

Race hatred was not limited to the Confederacy. The Enlightenment birthed both as well as us. Many fellow Americans – always Caucasian, no longer exclusively southern – insist the flag of slave holding states is about history and heritage.

So many outrages during our media despot presidency, yet seeing the Confederate Flag – not always out of camera sight at his rallies – defiantly paraded in a hallowed hall – is the abomination that resonates most, an unceasing echo of spiritual and psychological assault.

A repulsive visualization, forever implanted, a shame we bemoan, a reference cited as we take an oath of never again, so help us God.

The final months then weeks then days in office. We’ve been appalled daily since 2016. How could we still have the inner fortitude for outrage? How is it possible we still possessed more disgust to feel?


Future generations, as someone who has personally experienced at least a half century of American Life (political life? How much of childhood counts?) – to you I attest: No day in American history was like Insurrection Day. Nothing I remember or remember reading about – nothing even close – not even 9-11, nor any of the many mass shootings – induced the harrowing demoralization felt nationwide,.

But no, it did not happen in a vacuum. No anomaly, only one more event in a sequence of days, weeks, months, years that dispirited anyone who doesn’t esteem arrogance or give bigotry credence.

We all knew something awful would help close his executive branch chapter of our American life. He’s always topped himself.

Insurrection Day was not out of character for the president or his republican party. It was just their latest stunt.

The failure of security clearly indicates a scheme. Any kind of demonstration, even the most peaceful, every city in the nation turns into a police state. Every other protest especially in D.C. you see columns of trained police soldiers with batons, shields, helmets, guns. Foreboding phalanxes are formed for even the smallest parade. That’s the so far unexplained surprise, tens of thousands amass but capital security seemed prepared for an elementary school on a civics class field trip.

Throughout those four years preceding Insurrection Day – when the Confederate Flag was marched under the dome of democracy it once seceded from – we suffered through a constant barrage of abusive rhetoric from the executive branch.

We adapted as best we could to being overwhelmed. We braced ourselves. The worst is yet to come but every era becomes a different one sooner or later and either way all you can do is vote and live out your fate.

Pandemic spikes, shelter-in-place orders, hopeful vaccine chatter, teleconferenced debates – we trudged ahead as best we can, uncertain of what we know. Too many punches to just roll with them all but you’re never sure how many you can take until after the hitting begins.

When he encouraged armed tens of thousands to storm the capital in this attempt to overturn an election by preventing the congressional certification formality – it honestly sounds stupid and crazy, hopefully the ensuing investigations and testimony will’ve shed light on exactly what they were thinking – that was, yes – history was being made – the world witnessing the brutalization of what at least once was said to be its last, great hope—molestation from within – if we now only have technology to rely upon come the next calamity will rebooting be our only remedy?

History’s unfolding always surprises but one American truth is now unquestionably obvious: Republicans protect only the rich. When in power, they always disappoint anyone who isn’t wealthy and when they do, people who aren’t wealthy always die. Every republican president during my lifetime – I remember as far back as Millhouse! – when they left office, America was a shittier place.

Party over country. Power over freedom. No bigotry too contemptable, no prejudice too absurd. Patriotism empowers the mob, might makes right. Protecting the wealthy means any political  platform must further greed and materialism.

If we give sanctuary to those who feel disenfranchised because they’re racist, our numbers are bolstered. The big tent party, not like those elitists kowtowing to the poor, drinking white wine at fundraiser galas. Hollywood’s the most intolerant! They’re going to take your guns just as sure as they took away your right to smoke in bars. Money has no color bias, so how can we?

In the decade where society seemed on the brink of being transformed by peace, love and equal rights, republicans adopted the southern strategy, nurturing the silent majority’s racism for electoral gain. Pro-segregation and anti-civil rights politicians finally shunned by the democrats found a new home for their constituencies. The party of Lincoln became the party of the Confederacy.

Law and order is a lot more patriotic than equality; nothing more American than enabling the wealthy to become wealthier. Economic justice is boring. Hate is loads more fun, at least for those who hate.

 So, our collective consciousness must now reckon with this fact – as people with hearts and souls and minds – republicans get a lot of votes. The oft-declared polarized country – half with me, half with them – and elections are decided by those undecided until they decide to vote, making one half just big enough to win. The 21st Century so far has been thus.

But post-Insurrection Day, one doubt is gone. Republicans and the undecided who vote republican are either openly racist or openly comfortable with forming alliances with the openly racist. Ergo, they’re all racist. Confederate collaborators can be nothing less. I am not racist just ask my friends hasn’t been tenable for years, and now just means you are in support of the insurrectionists. If you don’t oppose racism, you’re a racist. There’s no neutral position anymore, there never was.

Those confederate apologists now even seem quaint with their sincere sounding arguments of heritage and history, as if the flag itself is akin to William Faulkner and Greg Allman. Racism is never the intent they promise as they convince us not to think about the actual past, especially when the food, music, hospitality comes with irresistible country charm.

We’ve officially dissociated from the most extreme among us years ago. We cannot be blamed for what “those people” say now. For you to suggest otherwise means you’re the one doing the prejudging. Why should someone’s oversensitivity overrule my right to supremacy nostalgia? Why harass my pride?

Now’s different, isn’t it. Who can doubt that the insurrectionists paraded the Confederate Flag in the captured rotunda for any reason other than racism? And, that racism is intrinsic to this heritage, this history – a big reason why their pride is expressed through fury and intimidation.

Elections – leaders bidding hello or goodbye, power transferred peaceably – national rituals with varying degrees of ceremony – reminds our consciousness of the meaning of community and our connections to a national ancestry – together in our democracy we mark the passage of time.

Disrupt stability at its source. Stop Democracy now – at the least impede a crucial step long enough to proliferate messaging across all platforms – and in case anyone misses the objective, pay public homage to Insurrection Day’s ideological cornerstone.


Camper World acquired Dixie RV three years ago. When the old sign was replaced, the last publically displayed Confederate Flag on Jefferson Avenue, about a mile from the I-64 and Route 171 junction in Newport News, vanished.

Still waved among a certain populace, mainly contained to decals, t-shirts, caps or the antennae flags that flap or droop depending on how fast they’re driving. Virginia never seemed as bad as the other southern states when it came to the abundance of Confederate Flags, flown alone or alongside or incorporated within the state flags. Still, never a day went by without it being in a glance or two.

This constant reminder that the civil war is always America means we never need fret about why. Without the foundational witlessness that human characteristics are determined by skin color, the south would never have immortalized America’s unending war. It’s futile to state the obvious – Racism fired on Sumter but was never made to surrender at Appomattox – instead, let’s conduct commerce. Have you drank the bourbon, eaten the barbecue?

Jerry was the manager or owner, I forget, of RV Dixie. I met him ten years before nine believers at Bible Study were shot to death in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Even by then though, objections to symbols of the Confederacy had entered the mainstream and the lost cause sympathy expressed in the Dixie RV logo – two flags on poles crossed like brandished swords –seemed conspicuously alone on the commercial highway.

Well before 9:00 AM I first saw the news of the South Carolina shooting. Good Morning America on the flat screen mounted high on the wall of the cramped waiting room of Lab Corp on Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City. Blonde bangs, stonewall glower. Rhodesia patch sewn on military sweater – there were many codes to break until we could see the racism that long hid in plain sight— sexy, alluring, posing with automatic weapons, adamant alongside the Confederate Flag.

The young mixed-race boy turns to his mother. He killed people just because they were black? All we could do was listen to the TV repeat facts.

A day or two later, South Carolina government – a cohort of Right Wing Republicans, state as red as spilt blood – an abhorrent history – announced a ban on government-sponsored displays of the Confederate Flag.

Few noted that fifteen years earlier republicans defended the right of South Carolina to fly the Confederate Flag on tax payer funded poles. Debated in the primaries, the man who became president said the issue must be decided by the people of South Carolina. Like Nixon and Reagan, we’re still the party of states rights. His attorney general proclaimed Lee, Jackson and Davis were American heroes.

Whether allowed to stay or finally removed historians noted it was actually the battle not-the-official flag. No North American summer feels as lush as June, July and August in the Confederate states.

The killer and terrorist – words can be so insistent – in South Carolina was six or seven when that other republican president stole the election by soliciting the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes in Florida. Republicans had devised Electoral College strategies for when the popular vote is lost. It’s the winner’s world in which we live.

Stefan’s republican. His cousin was elected mayor and Stefan stayed in town after that regime ended. When we knew each other, the then self-declared president-elect’s brother was the Florida governor and his appointee in charge of elections designed flawed ballots. The election hinged on who won Florida. The results were so close recounts were mandatory, but the ballots caused machine-count glitches, hand counts were ordered.

Then republican rioters disrupted the hand count. The republican supreme court interceded, enforced an arbitrary deadline. Casted votes uncounted by the time stated in the 5-to-4 ruling mattered not. A republican was appointed president. This Texan lost the popular vote by millions, and as would eventually be proven, lost Florida.

The ordeal went on for weeks following Election Day, well into December. The present and near-future state of our democracy was all anyone talked about. Constant coverage, daily cable news viewing on gym televisions in front of the treadmills and elliptical machines, where I often worked out with Stefan, a gen-x conservative, former frat boy who didn’t support apartheid but ridiculed fellow students especially sorority sisters who joined the anti-apartheid movement.

Is this democracy, not counting votes?

Stefan replied, wouldn’t you do the same if it meant Gore would win?

No! My exasperation only made him laugh.

A year or so later, we watched 9-11 on the same TVs. Then the wars began. Stefan worked in banking in the city but the financial crisis and banking collapse closed his office and he moved back in with his parents – Morris County, or was it Huntington – more than a year before Obama became president.

Jerry lived across the street from Nancy’s mother. In his yard was a bamboo jungle, a well-tended thatch of bright green stalks, seven foot high at least, that except for a clearing to access the front porch, surrounded his house.

Late morning, warm and sunny. He was relaxing in an aluminum lounge chair on the grassy portion between the bamboo hedge and the sidewalk. Nancy’s mother walked with me across the street so I could get a closer look.

Embroidered like a crest on the pocket of his sky-blue shirt, country club chambray, the Dixie RV logo, metallic thread, shiny like the store marquee towering above motorhomes and campervans. A lot all its own, still just another stop alongside or across from stores and strip malls, fast food restaurants, gas station convenience store complexes, car dealerships.

Anywhere we drive we can buy anything we see on TV. Universally American brands reassuring our souls this highway is here for you and me and every automobile here now and until the four horsemen gallop all of time away. Highway America four, six, eight lanes – might as well as be 280 or 17, except for the Confederate Flags in the Dixie RV logo.

I said I saw the logo on his shirt on the highway and he said it’s a family business. He imported the original bamboo from Thailand or was it the Philippines – somewhere South Pacific. He was stationed there while in the navy. It reminded him of his youth. Easier to take care of than grass, less to mow. He appreciated my curiosity. Everybody in the neighborhood loved Nancy’s mother.

Slate slabs formed a path between two parallel rows, five, six plants thick each. Inside this garden all you could see was the thicket from another hemisphere – not the house within or the lawn or the street or sidewalk or the other yards and houses beyond. Seemingly endless curtains of bamboo. Their shadows drenched the sunlight.

Later I told Nancy you could remake Apocalypse Now in there.


In 1991 I first visited Atlanta. Welcome to Georgia, said the cheerful cab driver, African American guy, sorghum drawl. You get this rehearsed enthusiasm at airports. The tourism industry enlists everybody into the hospitality act, especially the front line of first contact… friendly, informative, chatty – you want to keep your job, act like an ambassador, be upbeat and positive with every visitor.

Whatever route that went from the terminal to my hotel was cluttered with flags, they seemed to be flying everywhere. More flags than at the U. N. Plaza, but mainly America’s two most famous: Old Glory and the Stars & Bars waving side by side. No rebellion post-Reconstruction. Down here, two close allies, as if the Confederacy was Canada and the Prime Minster was in town on an official visit.

Perplexed, I asked the driver what’s with all the Confederate Flags. Those aren’t Confederate Flags, that’s the state flag of Georgia. I barely concealed my disbelief. The state flag of Georgia is a Confederate Flag?

That’s Georgia, the driver said in a tone I’ve never forgotten. Like so much of life, some injustices can become just another absurdity, a surmountable inconvenience and embarrassment. If you face it every day you have to find some way to cope. I’ve always wondered how deep the mildness of his ambivalence went and what lay beneath.

In 2003, Georgia banished the Confederacy from its flag.

Republicans certified that Democrats won its presidential electors and its two senate seats. Biden’s sliver of economic justice which seems the only realistic hope one can have in our nation, hovered closer. Then the world hears the recording of the president talking to Georgia officials –I need 11,000 votes – two, three days before Insurrection Day.

Future generations, to you I beckon:

…never before have we the people heard something like this from a president, the blatancy of his amoral ambition – this degree of self-absorption you only see in the ultra-wealthy – offspring of wealth who’ve spent adulthood in pursuit of increasing that fortune – everything relates to them and if you mention, suggest or even imply anything contrary beware their resentment’s ruthlessness.

 Democracy often seems illusory. Wealth is the only real power in this country. Greed an out-of-date, over generalization of good old common sense that we all need to survive this brutal-short-and- nasty-struggle-for-the-fittest our God created. Under Republican rule, the rich are never wealthier, the rest of us never poorer – and that’s been the record set by every Republican President since Coolidge.

Republicans put loyalty to party over country. That’s their patriotism. Their policies penalize all but the wealthy, whom they enrich and empower through war, economic oppression and environmental degradation. But when it came to the integrity of Georgia’s voting system, the ballots were clear. Suppressing black votes is a long-held Georgia tradition, but they do count what votes are cast

Party loyalty found its limit: overturning an election. How can one cast doubt on a system that they created precisely to prevent any doubt.

Yes, knowing the presidential call was being recorded and would be made public, and in the presence of lawyers and various high-ranking republicans, a republican bravely declined to break the law and commit a major felony. Not exactly a Profile in Courage you say? You’re not here now.


His voice – harsh accent, insensitive, sneering dismissive… every day, multiple statements – the tweets and the reposts – and the stories on the stories on the posts and the tweets – not even who’s reposting what escapes scrutiny – the onslaught and overload one experienced throughout his presidency was an ongoing emotional trauma

Who knows what your personal information consumption habits are like – or what news coverage has evolved into when you’re reading this – but here now in this moment the president had become the news. You know when I’m writing and how that year compares to when your mobile device was manufactured. Keep scrolling while you’re reading and you’ll soon find a link in the chain that links to you.

We all live through current events and try to stay informed of world affairs. Previous eras, news about the president was rarely more than once or twice or thrice weekly, under him he’s in every story and if not actually every bit of news – more than any president, without doubt or question – even the stories where he didn’t lead usually had some angle related to him and that was before the pandemic or the reelection campaign. The government never caused this daily level of stress to its citizens before his four years in office.

One clicks on only a fraction of the links one’s sent, repetitiveness of even useful information induces inaction – I cannot process this again – I cannot sustain the fear, or the rage – not today, not tonight – if this be mere numbness, why am I so alert?

To escape this invasive saturation you must close yourself off from all news media, but to do that in such a toxic time is self-destructive foolishness.


I’m riding in the not saying his name bus. I just can’t anymore. See, he’d always been in the news, and by always I mean the 1980s. A celebrity famous for being rich and then more famous for using his fame to become even richer. He was not the usual public personality, like an actor or athlete. He was a business man, job creator. He blended into the media firmament, itself diversifying in form, content and format.

Yesterday’s news: The moment when this well-populated generation – whose protests ended a war and love of music transformed how we experience art – voted republican. A fatal disappointment whose reverberations will still be felt at this century’s end.

Who was newsworthy, what was news and when, and if you really want to drill into the milestone’s one-of-a-kind core, what did worthy even mean?

Anyone can be as cool as a rock star because it’s about the cool, the charisma the camera – the kind with lens-and-microphone – finds. A persona encapsulated seamlessly within the soundbite. A book to sell, a show to promote, a demand that the court sentences teenagers to the death penalty campaign to promulgate. That’s what celebrities do. Not every boomer tripped at Yasgurs Farm and you’re kidding yourself thinking your counter culture was something other than just one big brand, everyone in it to make money.

As the first blush of middle age descended on this demographic –  in the transitionary process of being given reins of power and positions of influence – they began to personify brand. What of your attributes can be commodified? That used to be your personality, when it came to positioning you in the market. Gradually, as digitalization multiplied media, the projection of persona proved more and more profitable.

But persona is way too much to think about. Did the self-projection come before or after the distillation of self? See, brand is simple and to the point. No chain of transference needed, brand is message.

Only what sells matters. What sells creates jobs and I’m not paying more for the product you want me to buy just to save your quality of  life. We’re both selfish, I’m just more honest. One decade blurs into another, new generations take on shifts, branding now global doctrine.

Yet, he lingered, a figment of when the culture shifted and materialism became our most titillating virtue. The brand that wouldn’t go away. In the political background at first, but who noticed that crossover before it was too late.

Born a millionaire, became a billionaire. His entitled hero’s journey appalled me enough to ignore him as much as possible but even that distance eventually proved near.

President Gipper sanctioned greed as American morality, a value and ideal – worshipping wealth is just the natural outgrowth of doing what you must for you and your family – that’s when he first surfaced, getting attention in his own way, a mere whisper in the cacophony, another epitome of that era’s materialistic glamor.

Our attention attracted by the buzz – that exponentially reproducing swarm swirling in a constant, often smothering orbit around popular culture – back then the buzz was amplified by more and more outlets. Entertainment news grew from creek to flood. There he was, more than ever, or was it that there were more and more places where the fame in which celebrities bask could be reported on as news.

Celebrities embraced the irony of fame about the same time we the people did. Welcome to the new modern age. If only life could be as spectacular as the joke we’re all in on. If my fame exists even after I’m dead am I then alive? Celebrities know that we know they live within the context of time, the culmination of attention spans.

Now there’s more fame, especially as media platform proliferation fractionalized what then had become factual wisdom: everyone granted 15 minutes of fame. Now, you could have one minute of fame fifteen times then be famous fifteen more times for each minute you were famous for your first fifteen times.

Wealth as a reason for fame, that seems as old as the business celebrity category itself, but as establishment power passed from old to younger adults, it proved the most effective cog in the backlash against counter culture values, Unapologetic greed and unrelenting promotion – fixation on wealth – even worshiped, now admirable and newsworthy – just look at the numbers. Who in their right mind can ignore this viewership? Higher ratings equal more fame.

Earning power, the only power. We can never be as hot as our cars but we will not be attractive at all without them. Is it status? Are we the redneck neighbor everybody hates but who only wants a minivan nicer than yours? It’s that wanting that’s even more important than the having because we deserve the best possessions just for being proud to be American.

Could the reason why the racist contingent of the white working class overlooks his obvious class bias is that they’re infatuated by his arrogance?

Would this be the way you would act if you had had his billions? Answer no and they believe you’re lying to yourself.


For my entire New Jersey life, I lived in his news market. I sometimes watch talk shows. Oh, so he’s where that irritating catchphrase originated. You couldn’t avoid the name, I mean brand. The everlasting impression made possible only by market share.

 We the Cane Hill revival country know there’s a spirit world influencing America, invisible forces that sometimes can appear translucent. One of the few theological points with which even many Native American beliefs concur. Something we can’t see is also at work. Brace yourself for havoc, shimmers were spotted years ago. You should listen to those who can see.

I’m focused on other news and whatnot. A statistical breakdown generates data. Something unseen, unlike what numbers can represent. What is shared and who is commenting what to whom about what was shared means to them and their community and who is in that community and what do we know about them? We avoid as much is humanly possible but that limit was breached before we knew real trouble already started.

A television show so popular that even people who don’t watch television read about its popularity. Then he’s accusing the president of falsifying a birth certificate and that gets way more coverage than his business activities, which were always gaudy, offensive and mired in lawsuits.

He seeped into the collective consciousness. If I watched more television, could I have spotted the rise, maybe stopped it when that might’ve mattered?

So many voices went unheeded; I never vote Republican. What could I have done? I posted and I voted and posted that I voted. They probably still do that but it’s different for you and hopefully your algorithms are kinder.

Maybe if I watched the amount of cable required to appreciate his show I’d understand his appeal. I’ve zoned out in front the T.V. Eventually I cancelled cable, the act of watching this screen cast a pleasant, if time-consuming spell… rerun or random sport or talk show or watch-until-I know-what-I’m-watching, I think it looks new… I grew up in Suburban America, as if you didn’t know.

My eventual response to this debilitating horror was run away, surrendering decades later, when online clips made television viewing more manageable. But if I just waited it out, put away the books and paid for the premium, slogged through the flashy, mindless drivel long enough to achieve a mutable mental state where any hope will do, then I probably could’ve understood, seen beneath this meanness and felt the justification of his anger.

Alas, I read. Maybe the news cycle has morphed into a multi-headed hydra and the linear connections happen so rapidly this paradigm comparison is useless to you, but the president personally dominating the news was exhausting mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Our nerves already frayed by the time COVID hit.

The duress seemed unrelenting. Never have we lived like this, America.

Many missed an actual achievement of the 2020 election. Record turnout, but the vote tallies could hardly have been closer in the states designated battlegrounds. Compared to Florida in 2000, voting was sensibly and accurately conducted. Every legal case lost, every voting system retained public trust.

The people have a will. A free and fair election determines that will. This confidence makes us Americans, To feel otherwise is anathema to what distinguishes America among nations. We are no longer colonies under a king. We rule ourselves. We do so because we love freedom. Voting is one way we express that love. Not that other democracies lack voting devotion, it’s just not as indispensable to their national identity.

I need 11,000 votes is the most reprehensible utterance any president has ever made as president and that includes his prior comments, which always came in wave after ghastly wave. His Insurrection Day speech started with his Georgia phone call.

The constitution is one of America’s greatest gifts to humanity, a framework enabling the process of democracy to be an ongoing fact of life. In order for liberty and justice to prevail depends on how apparent the will of the people is expressed in the electoral process. If government has any meaning in our lives other than obvious civic and judicial responsibilities required to maintain public peace and functional infrastructure it is that the individual and collective voice of the people makes this personal relevance and historical uniqueness of our system possible.

Fall short of justice and liberty, sadly more often than not. The struggle continues, yes. But our criticism and propelling progressive activism is found not in the founding fathers themselves, but the guiding principle they shared – We The People.

 Liberty and justice we did not invent. As much is owed to the Iroquois League as to John Locke when it came to developing initial organizational documents. Every nation’s a construct. We are human beings, all and only. But this is our construct and that counts, if not for everything, a lot. America is the ideal on which criticism of America is based.

The 2020 post-election aftermath went on and on, not like Florida in terms of tension levels, but prolonged because of the close result then the recounting and the contestations. Nothing even near convincing evidence presented by his minions claiming voter fraud. A  tedious series of rudimentary verdicts followed. The system’s credibility was obvious and incontestable.

Christmas holidays occupied time… lockdown eased then reinforced as new spikes were recorded and fatality rates soared. As life ticked towards the inevitable, he started to fade from public view somewhat. Simply not as ever-present as the I-am-the-only-news president he had been, appealing to the worst in people, burdening us with anxiety and small-mindedness.

Why so quiet? He’s still on twitter all the time, someone tells me. Fixed election accusations only, even after they’re ruled baseless by the courts.

A much lower profile than we’ve been inflicted with for so many years now. We can hardly recall a time when that wasn’t so. His posts are no longer newsworthy in and of themselves.

Besides the lack of even a pretense of justice as a moral imperative, the insinuated threat in the Georgia call also resonated so thoroughly simply because it had been more than a week since we heard anything fresh.

Doctor, I’m glad the pain is gone but how do I know it won’t stay away.

Then, the next time his voice is heard live… Insurrection Day. Soon after the republican mob barbarism created a media moment of American infamy, apologists parsed his speech, alleging he uttered no demonstrable incitement.

You’ll be able to track the court cases and the expected gnarls, shakeouts and realignments that followed. Just in case there’s falsified skepticism deconstructing the content of his Insurrection Day speech, or in the event the passage of time clouds the rhetorical record, I can state unequivocally – hearing his speech on Insurrection Day –his call to action – unmistakable.

Most of us didn’t know it was Insurrection Day until the news reports announced the vote certification had been halted.

How’s that congressional elector vote thing going? I wonder, tuning into the radio when I took a break, about lunchtime.

Instead of the expected live coverage, a recess is suddenly declared then the broadcasters inform us about his supporters clashing with capitol police, then we’re hearing reporters in the crowd. They’re out of breath, suppressing emotions, loud shouts and scuffles audible.

What was going on? It felt very much like 9-11, after the first plane struck and as the on-air verification was debated and discussed by the morning news anchors – no one is sure exactly how dangerous what is happening is – then suddenly a commercial jet collides straight into the second tower.

 Bewilderment – not sure of what you’re hearing but you know who you’re listening to isn’t sure of what they’re saying – instantly evaporated by a deadly certainty – here is history, the tragedy we’re witnessing is more than personal – I was tuned into Insurrection Day coverage but heard no precise answer to what exactly was happening for almost an hour.

Seemed so much longer, but soon pictures and video clips stream into view. The Confederate Flag. Vandalism, violence. Patriotic hooliganism. Reports of hospitalizations, deaths. Have the National Guard arrived, have they even been called?

If eras are gauged by presidential administrations, we always wondered how his would end. We dreaded the ending with whatever dread we could still muster because it’s been four years of agitation.

I do know a few supporters. Some republican by custom, others say they like him because he’s shaking things up. Not your run-of-the-mill politician.

But they’ve seemed as agitated as everyone else. Perhaps having to defend him has been as draining as merely enduring.


Defenders of the Confederate Flag, you’ve lost in the court of public opinion at every recent turn. Many of the most conservative politicians abandoned the cause to save the statues of slaveholders. The best you got was the nation’s most infamous republican leading you to insurrection.

The few who are supposedly sincere in their belief that the secession movement had merits worth memorializing – is this how you pay homage to the honor you say your flag embodies?

Do you take pride in your racism? Was only hatred passed down from generation to generation until you adopted it unquestionably? Then and now, it caused needless harm and death. If that’s the cost of your patriotism, what exactly do you honor?

When you see that flag as the centerpiece of this historical disorder, do you still proclaim cheers of joy? Does this patriotism make you happier than anything else in your life?

The moment the flag of the Confederacy was allowed unhindered into the capital of the Union brought some clarity. That flag had no other role in the look and feel of the insurrection than to signal we are white supremacists. Republicans are proudly racist – no other displays of southern cultural pride were in sight – what other conclusion can there be?

All of you desecrated our capital. Every republican politician and voter now salutes the Confederate Flag. The republican party is racist.

Guilt by association, unfair you say? But what are the other republican accomplishments – endless war? Tax cuts empowering the wealthy to further loot our economy? Environmental destruction? Which of your ideals or policies encourage love of America?

Really, what  about your politics isn’t despicable?


How much sleazier and more nauseating can he get now? At least he won’t be president when we find out, darn right, right?

Good riddance we want to say. Out of sight out of mind.

That’s what I fear, surrendering to reconciliation for the sake of political expediency. Insurrection Day is not a scar! It’s a reinfection of an unhealed wound.

Future readers, if you could be both here with me but still present in your now, hear me pray to God that you will tell me America didn’t immediately slide back into habitual platitudes and reach across the aisle to unify the nation. Please, tell me accountability was enforced, the sincerity of repudiations were verified  by action and that no democrat used the word healing until after a thorough investigation, appropriately severe sentencing, and the exclusion from the public sphere of every insurrectionist and insurrection supporter. They’re easy to find, start with the republican party.

After the parishioners were killed in South Carolina, massive data about the rise in racial crimes and KKK activity came to light. The extent of how not alone this non-lone killer seemed as unbelievable as it was undeniable. Websites, message boards, social media – one wondered do these groups merely seem bigger than they are simply because their internet presence is so impressive. Internet vast is simple to fabricate, actual size harder to determine. How many, that’s only one set of data. The extent of their influence, quite another.

The quality of the internet presence went well beyond the KKK or Aryan Brotherhoods handbills anonymously stuck on the windshields of yore. Now they’re like high-tech fraternities, a mutant species of nerds fetishizing conservative philosophy, European mythos and anti-intellectualism. You get the feeling they were both abused and spoiled as children.

Action and reaction, we’re used to backlashes against progress in America. The 1980s were a backlash to the 1960s. Something different occurred this time around. Used to hear, 20 years ago or more now that I think about it, about some republican in the Deep South being a known Klansman. To avoid the racist accusation, other republicans in that state endorsed his democratic opponent. We don’t see this anymore.

There must be some incident in the timeline I am unable to pinpoint where the gun enthusiasts and whatever the hell the tea party purported to be fused networks with neo-Nazis and the Aryan brotherhood and the next generation of the Klan. Perhaps more likely, they were always kindred.

 The South Carolina shooting seemed like a catalyst – at the moment we the general public became aware that there were many more racial hate groups than we thought possible – we also realized that the republicans had been pandering to these sociopaths since before they formed riot groups to interrupt the counting of votes as way back as Florida. The birther movement that led to his presidency gained traction in this milieu.

Every Republican criticism about our first black president was tinged with racist innuendo. Seems so clear now in hindsight. Republican congressmen heckled him at the state of the union speeches. By tone and action, obvious to anyone following debates on healthcare or the recovery packages needed because another republican president had wrecked the economy. Obama was never given respect by republican politicians. In fact, they publically disrespected him at every opportunity. Their racism was obvious, although usually concealed by coded language so plausible deniability seemed evident.

We all know what kind of people oppose our limited but pro-corporation government. He’s on TV all the time, maybe there’s something to this birth certificate claim – the president’s name does sounds foreign and it’s a ratings winner to give a platform to celebrities who criticize the president.  Some of the zingers are funny, you have to admit!


Dixie RV got less than positive  publicity for its sign around the time of the South Carolina murders. An ideal local news angle, how do people feel about the last Confederate Flag on that highway after this latest southern horror?  

I just thought the name and the sign meant good old southern hospitality, that’s what Jerry said, or maybe it was his boss. Quoted in a newspaper. Less than three years later, the name and the sign were gone.

The Virginia location was a franchise. It opened in 1984, when you-know-who was president. But only that one store was sold to Camper World. RV Dixie Superstores still had locations in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida.

Just before Insurrection Day, when the new year began, the company announced its new name:  Great American RV Superstore.

No new public displays of the Confederate Flag, government or commercial that I’ve seen, said Nancy. But these last couple of years, you see more Confederate Flags out in public. Decals, t-shirts, caps, but lots more flags, full-sized flags, in pickups, front yards, at picnics and barbecues. When he became president, it was like they were given impunity, no compunction at all.

Insurrection Day? They thought it was a national holiday.

She can’t remember what happened to Jerry, she heard he either got arrested or had a heart attack. Her mother moved to North Carolina then passed away. She knows nothing about anyone in that Newport News neighborhood anymore.

I want to think Jerry’s in his yard dreaming of his youth in the south pacific, the ocean always in the air, free of the past.  No more flags no more brands, just a bamboo garden encircling his home.