Cat Stevens' song came to me with the words, "Morning has broken" and so did it seem for awhile that our democracy would be broken.
I could not sit and watch, but I could not stay away. It was as if the country we had grown up with, flawed and historically cruel to non-whites was not on fire, but fracturing with people moved by the righteousness for power denied by the results of our last election denied by the most powerful person in the world.
Results had not been conveyed in believable ways. The concepts I had grown up with have gone away, like: "Don't be a sore loser." "Winner takes all." "We take turns." "Win some, loose some." For the most part we didn't "burn down the house if we lost."
Elections. Even before I could legally vote, I chose losers and have voted for many losers. But I never had a fit. I didn't even get a Pussy Hat last time around. I have participated in peaceful protests in my life, but never to overthrow an election, but to stop pipelines we knew would leak, because all pipelines leak, or to stop unnecessary wars. I have never participated in a coup, or an insurrection, or a radical takeover of an occupied government building filled with elected officials at work on the people's business.
But I did get to witness such an action. And it was frightening to watch just exactly how fragile democracy might be. But as the day turned to night, our people went back to work for us. They climbed out of the closets and got off the floors, unlocked doors down long lonely halls and stood back up and came back to finish the task of the day, for us, the American people, to value the votes we had cast, because that is how we determine who our winners and naturally who our losers are.
According to John Haltiwanger Wednesday January 6 was the first time the US Capitol was breached by a large, violent group since the War of 1812 and Senator Cory Booker went on to express his description of both events being inspired by cults of personalities, one a foreign adversary and the other our sitting president.
This peaceful transfer of power is unique and a thing we have taken for granted. And may not take for granted anymore. We will have to be vigilant and remember how nearly broken we were. We will be stronger, but we have to reach back to another time in our nation's history, and reach deep into how divided we can be as a people. Think back to the Civil War and the deep hatred ginned up in the nation and when Lincoln was re-elected, the words that stood out from his inaugural address:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; ... to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.
As he spoke he wore a jacket and inside the lining these words were embroidered: One Country - One Destiny.
There is an image from the takeover of our nation's Capitol that connects those times to now. The Confederate flag originated during the Civil War as a battle flag for the pro-slavery Confederacy and throughout the entire Civil War the flag never entered the Capitol, but photographer Saul Loeb captured it being carried through the rotunda in 2021, remarkably shown between the portraits of Charles Sumner, an abolitionist and John C. Calhoun, a defender of slavery.
There were many such flags and many carrying the name of our current president who eventually asked the rioters to go on home, but not before he expressed his love for them.
As we go forward, with a new president who will take his office with malice toward none... he will have to bind up the nation's wounds from the hatred and divisiveness, the divisions we have had even over the deadliest contagious disease our nation has ever faced and find a way to bring us back to the hope we all have of One Country - One Destiny. We have a common destiny.
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
I have had many friends contact me and nudge me to get the vaccine to be protected from COVID19, and am glad to report my brother got his first shot today and I will have my first in 2 days. Speaking of praise for the morning!
I am believing our common destiny must help our broken feelings heal and attempt to bind up our nation's grief.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim
Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln,” Edward Achorn