January Gets Colder

Kage Baker loathed modern politics.

She was fond of several old monarchies (mostly Tudor and Windsor), and could recite king lists in half a dozen European and Middle eastern dynasties. (Don’t sneer; most Americans cannot list more than half a dozen Presidents in sequence by date.) Her emotional needs were just more satisfied by kings, queens and that sort. Elected officials struck her as – well, common.

When you consider the American Chief Executives, they have rarely been actual aristocrats; at least, not since the earliest days. Most of them have been rich – it takes an obscene amount of money to aspire to high office in this country. However, despite the pedigrees of Washington and Jefferson, Adams was a poor lawyer. Lincoln was only a little less poor. Even JFK, although a native American aristo and rolling in money, was not well know to the general public: not like a prince. And note, no Rockefeller or Rothschild has ever made it.

Americans are just as royalty-crazy as anyone else, but they prefer to bestow the accolade on their heroes personally. Kage was sure that was why there have been war heroes and actors galore elected as President. We call the dazzling lure “celebrity” here in the USA, but it amounts very nearly to the same thing. And Kage did not quite approve.

“At least,” she was wont to grumble, “in Britain, they breed bureaucrats on purpose. They have manners, and training, and stuff.”

But democracy was the way here in America, and Kage did her best to navigate her way through all the lies, bullshit and idiocy. She voted in every election in which she had standing, and did her research on the candidates and measures. She did not, however, graft her eyes and ears to the television reportage. She couldn’t stomach the debates and the posturing. She rarely even read the newspapers, relying instead on me ( her personal file clipper) and the info from the Voter’s Information from the California Secretary of State’s office.

I, on the other hand, am a low-level news junky. As I have gotten older, my attention to media coverage of political affairs has gotten more and more deliberate. At this point, I subscribe to 3 newspapers (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post), watch the news most nights, and am unabashedly addicted to Rachel Maddow. I’ve not yet sunk to the depths of “Meet the Press” or “Deadline: White House”, but I fear it is only a matter of time. I already watch Chris Hayes most of the time …

This last year I have watched and read more than ever. The reasons should be fairly obvious. I was personally, viscerally horrified by January 6, 2021. I’ve watched in growing terror and disbelief over the last year, as those responsible – especially Donald Trump, the Prime Mover of Sedition – have doubled down and doubled down yet again in their insistent attack on democracy. It just keeps getting worse and worse.

Tomorrow, of course, is the one year mark since that ghastly morning at the Federal Capitol. I know there are people all over the country preparing to stand against a second attempt, but is it enough? Is it in the right place? Is it, God save us, already too late?

I don’t know, Dear Readers. And while I realize that, statistically, some of you must be on the other side of this issue than am I – I honestly don’t care very much. What I saw a year ago was American participation in a kind of politics I never thought to see in this country. I am disinclined to shrug it off, or accept it as free speech. It horrified and repulsed me. I’m afraid tonight. I’ll be afraid tomorrow, too, as I scan the news in hopes that no such another riot will rise to stain our history.

Sleep well tonight, Dear Readers. but not too heavily. I think I will never sleep well again, as long as this is not pursued, as long as those responsible go unpunished for their treason. Or maybe I will. Who knows? I am old and tired.

I don’t think so, though.

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

Sir John Harington, Epigrams, Book iv, Epistle 5.