Monday Reads: “True to our native land.”

A lone Black officer–Eugene Goodman–faced down a violent US Capitol mob and fooled them to save lives

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’m a little late today. I taught all weekend and mostly on my feet so I’m a bit sore and tired and definitely feeling my age setting in.  I woke up to drink some coffee and look for things to share.   I wound up spending some time watching the New Orleans  D.A. Jason Williams take his oath of office.  He was my City Council Member and then one of the at large City Council members. He ran an ambitious campaign to be the People’s DA. The Ceremony was heart-lifting for many reasons.  It had everything that makes New Orleans special on display.  It also shows that peaceful transfer of power can occur.

What really brought me home was Glenn David Andrews performance of “Lift Every Voice'”.  You can see it on the link up there on Facebook. Here’s another version of it from Zion Hill Baptist in the Treme.     Glenn David provides some witness to his life experience and the role of his mother in his life. The song has been called “The Negro’s Anthem”  and was written first as a poem by poet James Weldon Johnson. who was an essential part of the Harlem Renaissance.  It was commissioned by the NAACP.  The song was written by Johnson and his brother around 1900. Every choir should know this song as well as they know The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  I found at a recent Funeral that I can still sing every vocal part to the Battle Hymn including a counter melody I learned in High School..

It reminds me of the last time we had to deal with Lost Causers and call for a reconstruction that actually works.  The music of the the struggle continues to invigorate us and demand of us to continue the dream of a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all.  I do not think I will ever get over seeing the Confederate Flag carried into Capitol Hill after I’ve lost blood relatives making sure that insurrection was put down like the evil  it was.

Seeing a noose hanging from platform built on Capitol Hill’s West lawn was equally shocking. I am just beginning to hear what my black friends and neighbors felt seeing those sights.  I’m pretty sure that the Georgia senate race outcomes had a lot to do with some of this imagery. It also had a lot to do with the great fear all White Southern Nationalists have which is basically all the black people in their states will vote.  The biggest symbols of the Trump and Republican losses were the absolute commitment Black American Voters made to the US Democracy.  The rest of us may have contributed or my have had a free ride but they clearly voted for democracy and freedom.

I called BB late last night near the end of my last few student hours and she shared some extraordinary links with me.  This is one that’s a very long read but I do think you should dig through it.  The American Abyss.  A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.” It’s written by Timothy Snyder who closely studies these things as a History Professor at Yale.  Here is his section on Post Truth and Pre Fascism.

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.

Post-truth wears away the rule of law and invites a regime of myth. These last four years, scholars have discussed the legitimacy and value of invoking fascism in reference to Trumpian propaganda. One comfortable position has been to label any such effort as a direct comparison and then to treat such comparisons as taboo. More productively, the philosopher Jason Stanley has treated fascism as a phenomenon, as a series of patterns that can be observed not only in interwar Europe but beyond it.

My own view is that greater knowledge of the past, fascist or otherwise, allows us to notice and conceptualize elements of the present that we might otherwise disregard and to think more broadly about future possibilities. It was clear to me in October that Trump’s behavior presaged a coup, and I said so in print; this is not because the present repeats the past, but because the past enlightens the present.

Mrs. Mary Crane – 82 yrs. old ex-slave, Mitchell, Ind.  Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

Trump is the same kind of failed tinpot dictator that countries with no real rule of law or proper governance end up with.  But, the original sins of our country–genocide and theft from indigenous nations and enslaving Black Africans–will follow us down until we soundly deal with it. Trump is the result of white grievance. This is the biggest problem we need to soundly deal with is the number of white people that would enslave themselves to ensure they’re whiteness means something.

The big lie requires commitment. When Republican gamers do not exhibit enough of that, Republican breakers call them “RINOs”: Republicans in name only. This term once suggested a lack of ideological commitment. It now means an unwillingness to throw away an election. The gamers, in response, close ranks around the Constitution and speak of principles and traditions. The breakers must all know (with the possible exception of the Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville) that they are participating in a sham, but they will have an audience of tens of millions who do not.

If Trump remains present in American political life, he will surely repeat his big lie incessantly. Hawley and Cruz and the other breakers share responsibility for where this leads. Cruz and Hawley seem to be running for president. Yet what does it mean to be a candidate for office and denounce voting? If you claim that the other side has cheated, and your supporters believe you, they will expect you to cheat yourself. By defending Trump’s big lie on Jan. 6, they set a precedent: A Republican presidential candidate who loses an election should be appointed anyway by Congress. Republicans in the future, at least breaker candidates for president, will presumably have a Plan A, to win and win, and a Plan B, to lose and win. No fraud is necessary; only allegations that there are allegations of fraud. Truth is to be replaced by spectacle, facts by faith.

We need to find the lawmakers and others responsible for this and hold them to account. However, as Hillary Clinton wrote today in a WAPO opinion “But it is not enough to scrutinize — and prosecute — the domestic terrorists who attacked our Capitol. We all need to do some soul-searching of our own.”   Why are so many of these folks still hanging to the idea that 90 plus courts throwing out cases because of no evidence doesn’t mean that the evidence isn’t out there?

In Isabel Wilkerson’s new book “Caste,” she cites a question from historian Taylor Branch: “If people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?” Wednesday reminded us of an ugly truth: There are some Americans, more than many want to admit, who would choose whiteness.

It’s sobering that many people were unsurprised by what occurred last week, particularly people of color, for whom a violent mob waving Confederate flags and hanging nooses is a familiar sight in American history. Consider what we saw last June, when Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully demonstrating in Lafayette Square were met with federal officers and tear gas. If the first step toward healing and unity is honesty, that starts with recognizing that this is indeed part of who we are.

Removing Trump from office is essential, and I believe he should be impeached. Members of Congress who joined him in subverting our democracy should resign, and those who conspired with the domestic terrorists should be expelled immediately. But that alone won’t remove white supremacy and extremism from America. There are changes elected leaders should pursue immediately, including advocating new criminal laws at the state and federal levels that hold white supremacists accountable and tracking the activities of extremists such as those who breached the Capitol. Twitter and other companies made the right decision to stop Trump from using their platforms, but they will have to do more to stop the spread of violent speech and conspiracy theories.

The Biden administration will need to address this crisis in all its complexity and breadth, including holding technology platforms accountable, prosecuting all who broke our laws, and making public more intelligence and analysis about domestic terrorism.

I’ve seen twitters of crying white guys in airports insisting they love each and every one of of and whining about being called a  ‘a fucking domestic terrorist” and that the law is “messing up his life”.  What all the felonies he committed mean nothing?  How do you get to a point of believing evidence that doesn’t exist per over 90 courts plus the Supreme Court with the Trumpy Appointments?  How do you get to a point where you think they’re messing with your life when you join in an insurrection riot?

The real heroes of the day are folks like US Capitol Officer Eugene Goodman pictured up top and in the tweet below.

At first glance, the video is both scary and startling. A lone Black lawman momentarily facing down an angry mob of white rioters before retreating, giving ground to their fury. As we have now learned, there is a bigger story to be told.

Seeing that they were heading towards the open Senate chambers, Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman took control of the mob, giving its leader a shove to get his attention and then drawing them away in pursuit. In short, he tricked them, willingly becoming the rabbit to their wolf pack, pulling them away from the chambers where armed officers were waiting, avoiding tragedy and saving lives. Lives which include their own.

An Army veteran who spent time in Iraq, Goodman’s actions bring a measure of honor to a police force that saw some of its members acting in a questionable manner. Calls have come for him to receive national commendation for his actions, perhaps even the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Now, that’s not my call to make, but this man deserves far more than our praise and thanks. Maybe our soon to be President will award a medal to someone other than a radio talking head, sympathetic politicians, or a few golfers. And also, maybe a little pay increase.

We saw the worst of our nature on display Wednesday. Many people immediately stood up and said, “This is not who we are!” History tells us, this is exactly who we are. Running from this fact won’t change it. But at the same time, we’re also Eugene Goodman. A people who will put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. Even those that wouldn’t do the same for us. It’s a constant fight for the soul of this nation.

Here’s hoping that this example by Eugene Goodman, one of our better angels, can serve as a reminder of what we can be, and help lead us in that direction. Thank you for your service sir.

There are more of this situations coming to a State Capitol near you.  ABC news reports “Armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols, FBI bulletin says”.

Starting this week and running through at least Inauguration Day, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol, according to an internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.

The FBI has also received information in recent days on a group calling for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day. The group is also planning to “storm” government offices in every state the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.

“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January,” the bulletin read. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”

Federal law enforcement officials have advised police agencies to increase their security posture at statehouses around the country following the riot at the U.S. Capitol, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

WPA mural in Coit Tower

One of the newest folks in Congress is Congresswoman Jayapal of Indian Descent.  “I was closing my eyes and praying’: Washington’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal describes sheltering in place as mob breaks into Capitol”.   BB also suggested I read her story.  Can you imagine the trauma and the PSTD all of the public servants that lived through this will experience most likely throughout their entire lives?  This Seattle Times article describes what was going on with many of its representatives and senators as well as Governor Inslee.

“We were there when shots began to be fired into the chamber, we saw, from where I was sitting, I could see Capitol Police with their guns drawn,” Jayapal said.

Another House member began to pray. Jayapal and others joined in. “I was closing my eyes and praying to whoever was listening that there would be peace, that there would be no violence.”

The congressmembers were asked to lie on the floor as protesters faced off with Capitol police — a feat that was difficult for Jayapal, who recently had a knee replacement and was walking with a cane.

Jayapal laid the blame for the unprecedented attack on Congress at the feet of Trump and senators and representatives who have backed his efforts to overturn the election victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“There is no question in my mind that the finger should be pointed directly at the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and everybody that played along with him,” she said.

The chaos at the U.S. Capitol was mirrored, albeit at a much smaller scale, at Washington’s state capitol. In Olympia, demonstrators jumped a gate and broke into the grounds of the governor’s residence. After a standoff with the State Patrol, they backed off. Gov. Jay Inslee was kept safe at an undisclosed location, according to the patrol.


I’m pretty certain the next few weeks are not going to be easy.  I’m staying at home.  I will be working. I will also reflect on what I can do to make us all a more perfect union.   We will be here throughout the continuing struggle.  I love my Sky Dancing Community.  Please stay safe!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

33 Comments on “Monday Reads: “True to our native land.””

  1. dakinikat says:

    Here’s to some evidence that it’s not over yet.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.

      The most eloquent summary of the Pelagian vision, Mr. Hawley went on to say, can be found in the Supreme Court’s 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mr. Hawley specifically cited Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words reprovingly: “At the heart of liberty,” Kennedy wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy, Mr. Hawley argued: “Replacing it and repairing the harm it has caused is one of the challenges of our day.”

      In other words, Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the freedom to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. Mr. Hawley is not shy about making the point explicit. In a 2017 speech to the American Renewal Project, he declared — paraphrasing the Dutch Reformed theologian and onetime prime minister Abraham Kuyper — “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord.” Mr. Kuyper is perhaps best known for his claim that Christianity has sole legitimate authority over all aspects of human life.

      “We are called to take that message into every sphere of life that we touch, including the political realm,” Mr. Hawley said. “That is our charge. To take the Lordship of Christ, that message, into the public realm, and to seek the obedience of the nations. Of our nation!”

      • dakinikat says:

        what a nutcase … that’s not about freedom or even religious pursuit … that’s about controlling others

      • djmm says:

        Thank you for this interesting post and this comment. So I agree with Pelagius and, sadly, I did not even know about him! Now, I will have to research him.

        Mr. Hawley’s view is inconsistent with the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. He should resign his position at the Senate and move to some other country.

    • palhart says:

      Recently George Will asked regarding Josh Hawley, ‘Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?’.

  4. dakinikat says:

    well, alrighty then …

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. NW Luna says:

    Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor, has tested positive for the coronavirus after taking shelter in a room with other lawmakers, some of whom refused to wear masks, during last week’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

    “I received a positive test result for COVID-19, and am home resting at this time,” she said in a statement. “While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents.”

    Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) said she believes she contracted the virus while in protected isolation during the riot. Many lawmakers were sheltered in a large committee room together as the mob stormed the Capitol.

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Two Capitol police officers have been suspended and one arrested for participating in the riot. Fifteen others are being investigated. –CNN

    • NW Luna says:

      Good. We’ve seen so much evidence this was an inside job. The collaborators need to be routed out.

  9. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      Two Black officers who were working at the Capitol during the attack told Buzzfeed News that some of the insurgents they came face to face with were in fact off-duty cops:

      “[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, ‘we’re doing this for you.’ Another guy had his badge. So I was like, ‘well, you gotta be kidding.’”

      Another officer, a newer recruit, echoed these sentiments, saying that where he was on the steps to the rotunda on the east side of the Capitol, he was engaged in hand-to-hand battles trying to fight the attackers off. But he said they were outnumbered 10 to one, and described extraordinary scenes in which protesters holding Blue Lives Matter flags launched themselves at police officers.

      “We were telling them to back up and get away and stop, and they’re telling us, they are on our side, and they’re doing this for us, and they’re saying this as I’m getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper sprayed in the face by those protesters, I’m not going to even call them protestors, by those domestic terrorists,” said the officer.

      One thing is clear so far: there was a whole gang of people who earn tax-payer dollars among the horde of Trump supporters who travelled to D.C. to claim this country as theirs alone and violently attack democracy.

  10. dakinikat says:

    good ol’ capitalism strikes again!

  11. NW Luna says:

    Quick note – Rep Jayapal, who’s the Rep from my district, isn’t one of the newest members as this is her 2nd term.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol

    …as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery television images of the crisis that was unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their cries for help.
    But the president himself was busy enjoying the spectacle. Trump watched with interest, buoyed to see that his supporters were fighting so hard on his behalf, one close adviser said.
    Even as his supporters at the Capitol chanted for Pence to be hung, Trump never called the vice president to check in on him or his family.

    • quixote says:

      All I can think is “Duh.” He’s started what he hopes is his coup. He’s watching it with his buddies. In what universe does it make sense for him to be helping others? Or calling the sidekick he never wanted? Honestly, reporters. Face facts.

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    What a post Dak, I love my Sky Dancing family.

  14. NW Luna says:

    FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence

    A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit internal warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war,” according to an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post that contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s pro-Trump protest planned to do harm.

    A situational information report approved for release the day before the U.S. Capitol riot painted a dire portrait of dangerous plans, including individuals sharing a map of the complex’s tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet up in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington.

    “As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington. D.C.,” the document says. “An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”