Dispatch from Gettysburg– January 11th, 2021

from the mobile desk of Paul-Newel Reaves,
owner, co-editor, Defenestrationism.net

The history books are a better judge than I am. He will receive his comeuppance. I don’t care to make statements on Defenestrationism.net for idle reasons– this, no impotent condemnation, no populist statement of alliance. This: comeuppance— and lest you consider such comeuppance beyond my power as publisher, you read very different history books than I do. First, I will cede for a moment to a stateswoman and some statesmen, past and present:

“Watching on TV, we saw white supremacists stroll past Capitol Police, untouched and unscathed… There was no way to avoid the comparison or to duck the obvious answer: Would this have happened if the rioters were there to fight for Black lives rather than white supremacy?” — Representative Cori Bush of Missouri.

“Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass… was a night of rampage… by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.  Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States.  But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol.  They shattered… the very principles on which our country was founded.”— former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us.”— Lincoln

These leaders most eloquently express much of what I would, now, had they not so very well, already.  So my aim, now, is comeuppance.

224 years of peaceful transitions of power had made the United States unique in the history of nations.

Three, perhaps four U.S. presidents have been assassinated, yet power remained with that president’s designated successor. Even at the break of Civil War, Lincoln was peacefully instated after Buchanan. Only after that peaceful transition did the Confederate states secede.

There will be no 225th year of peaceful transition for us.  Not for nine quarter-centuries more, if then.

I noticed a heightened awareness across my neighborhood by North Capitol street this last Wednesday—  an in distress that I would describe as a scent— 20-odd blocks from the center of a revolution.

Now, here I am in Gettysburg, but less than 90 miles from Washington.  I don’t remember how I found my way here.  I checked where a noble leader gave his noblest speech, wandered through the graves in a listless and morose manner— pondering the nature of violence and hatred against our fellow human beings, contemplating governments and insurrections, hypocrisy and corruption, and how to constructively approach the inevitability of all them— along with other suitably sullen subjects. Here are some:

As we witness the demise of the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower, the conservative vote will split as effectively as the political left has been divided for a quarter-century— perhaps resulting in a democracy without the limiting, binary, two-party system.

The disparity of security forces and sanctioned violence at the onslaught of the Capitol verses those at Black Lives Matter protests expose vital weaknesses within the structures of systemic racism.  If the systemic racism of recent decades has functioned invisibly to its broadest and most insistent degrees, then the onslaught at the Capitol is a betrayal of this system of hate.  The extent to which force and violence are officially authorized and sanctioned is now unveiled.  If the racism of recent decades has indeed functioned to its broadest and most insistent degrees invisibly, then the racists of recent decades do not know how best to perpetuate their own system.  Systemic racism, it seems, does not bother with attempts to recreate its means of production.  As we design our dismantling of systemic bigotry— dismantle provisionally at best— it will aid us to keep this, shall we call it a lack of calculation, in mind.

Without military backing, a coup d’état goes nowhere. Throughout modern world history, coups are often led by colonels, high enough in rank to have influence, yet not so comfy in their positions that they are satisfied without more power. Congratulations, U.S. military-industrial-complex, you are comfortable enough.

There may well be another attempt at secession. It will fail within democratic processes, and on the large scale, peacefully.

I resisted considering Trump the worst president in American History, resisted for quite some time. I dismissed him as a fool, a gangster-puppet– perhaps with late-stage syphilis– thinking him truly not important enough. Well, I thought, at least he hasn’t actively committed genocide, as our Seventh and Thirty-third Presidents did. That thought lasted for three years and a few months.  To be a worse U.S. president than Trump, one would have to launch a nuclear strike and then forcefully resist the transfer of power.

History will judge him far more harshly than anyone alive is capable of. He’s headed for a cozy, federal, white-collar prison– undeniably with his self-righteousness still intact. History books, I tell you– there he will reap his eternal reward. There, his comeuppance will be brutal. As his allies suffer retribution, they will denounce him– as thoroughly as they sold themselves and their voters to his banner, they will denounce him. The racism and bigotry so fully exposed during his regime will forever be tied to his name. For centuries to come, politicians and military leaders across the globe will study his mistakes. And schoolchildren of all races, ethnicities, perhaps even of different species, will learn of him and make crude jokes about his face. He will be disgraced for as long as anyone remembers his name.

That last comeuppance, about schoolchildren laughing at his face, that makes me feel slightly better about such cringe-rending harm as he has wrought on my city, our people, this nation-state and democracy worldwide.

Alright, peace–
excuse me while I go home to sob
— PNR,
owner, co-editor, Defenestrationism.net

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One Response to “Dispatch from Gettysburg– January 11th, 2021”

  1. Chantelle Says:

    You had me at “late stage Syphilis.”

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