Sedition and the Cloak of Patriotism

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”- Voltaire.

Ellis Island trmugler 2018

2020, a year of turmoil and uprising. A year without routine and financial growth. A year without parties and social gatherings — well for some. Ending without the magic of the holidays to remind us of what truly matters.

Like any other year, it slowly slipped in after midnight, casting a pre-emptive shadow over a world too self-absorbed to notice. Before the sun rose, the world was enveloped in its own darkness, pointing fingers and casting blame while denying our own actions.

Basic human kindness pilfered by the categorization of perceived political correctness. Civil liberties tossed into a blender and ground into the ash of self-proclaimed freedoms. Americans getting their panties in a wad took on a whole new look.

The protection of others became an exercise in patriotism while a death toll was minimized by percentages. A country’s division simmering to the brink, was soon boiling over as discourse itself stirred the melting pot of what it means to be American.

The juxtaposition of our past and present sent our future over the edge and into a chasm of chaos. Forced isolation became the petri dish of conspiracy theories, adding life to a paranoia running rampant in the back alleys of an ill-conceived justice, blinding the sight of truth, and leaving us all searching for things we never really lost.

Steaming up from the underbelly of a society that could no longer find common ground, our footing lost, and our beliefs rocked, mankind spiraled against itself certain something was being taken. Blinded by hate the fear was fed, America was certain to crash and burn — eventually.

Propaganda and false rhetoric radicalized a nation once built on the ideology of self-governance and sovereignty. Hate seeped from the shadows and into the veins of those long hardened against their government, allowing the proverbial Kool-Aid to be poured down their throats with ease.

The once peaceful protests of a black man kneeling, as though praying for injustice to cease, sparked a flame on the smoldering embers of a country already slipping off its axis. The cries for justice dismissed while terror groups eagerly fed oxygen to burning cities. The fires of discourse rapidly spread across the nation as systemic racism reflected what America has always been.

The great experiment in democracy became a tug-o-war between an us and a them. Lines were drawn and sides were taken. Split off into multiple factions, the manifesto of liberty lay desecrated beneath the boots of power grabs and corporate money.

Self-proclaimed Patriots gathered in the shadow of a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth claiming to know their struggle. Longing to be understood, they blindly walked forward insisting their eyes were wide open and waited readily for him to lead them to America’s resurrection.

Democracy, a mere vessel onto which they could carry their platform of supremacy while the wine of racism and the bread of bigotry filled them with sustenance they bathed the feet of their leader with a loyalty he would not return.

Demanding law and order while trampling on peace, the airwaves carried the dissonance across the globe. Unrest quickly morphed into anger, fueled by the idiom of opposition America fragmented and crumbled as we all watched in disbelief.

Our governmental institutions quickly became targets for the disgruntled men and women marinating in their own fears. Afraid of what tomorrow could bring they fiercely planted their feet in the past. Twisting religion and politics to bend to their whim, they grappled for control.

A New Year cloaking us in new beginnings, congress gathered on a day which was to be steeped in ceremonial practices and honoring tradition. It quickly became the heated froth of a democracy under siege as a large group, calling themselves Americans, marched angrily toward the U.S Capitol at the request of their chosen leader. A shared sense of betrayal and urgency sent them on a mission to take back their country.

Fueled on the lies they had been told, and blinded by hate citizens constructed a gallows on the lawn of our lawmakers. Calling for the death of America’s Vice President as a noose swung in waiting, no one paused to consider the line they were crossing.

The self-appointed President’s brigade climbed the stone walls to unfurl their regiment banners, even in the fog of flash grenades and pepper spray the bold letters of TRUMP were unmistakable. As though our democracy had become a sporting event, they waved their teams colors and chanted their captain’s name.

Proudly brandishing the battle flag of General Lee’s Confederate army, they breached the halls of congress and busted into congressional chambers in search of the enemy. As though their allegiance to a long-ago failed coup justified this insurrection, these supposed defenders of the constitution unleashed havoc.

Pledging to capture traitors to the President they set out with zip-cuffs and fire extinguishers to subdue anyone attempting to stop them. Armed with firearms, Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, and the poles of their squads’ flag, destruction lay in their wake. With the certain support of the Commander in Chief these terrorists violated America’s most sacred tenets while the world watched.

When the pepper dust settled and the jars of home-made napalm were safely in the FBI’s hands, the seditionists were politely walked out of the building and allowed to go home. As though part of some nationwide hide-n-seek game, the terrorists were given a head start while the Speaker of the House called the joint session of Congress back into order.

We all sit stunned at the footage of a disaster we weren’t all that surprised to see happen. The days since, riddled with anger, relief, speculation, calls for resignations and arrests across the country. While a nation collectively holds its breath, awaiting the inauguration of the next President, many hope the division that sparked the flames of unrest will subside for a moment and Americans will find a way to heal and move forward together.

Our government will go through the motions of posturing for their base, and insisting they are fixing the country’s problems. The conspiracy theorists will continue to radicalize the disheartened, the disenfranchised will hold tighter to the dream of equality and the world will continue to watch.

Too pretentious to realize that it is already written on the walls of history what happens next, we’ve chosen to forget we have been here before. Perhaps this time the calls for a Civil War didn’t fall upon deaf ears, and we will find the courage to douse the fires of hatred and find common ground where we stand. Commit ourselves to no longer make the mistakes set in motion during our country’s construction and to have the fortitude to finally extend the promises of our forefathers to all Americans.

Wherever this ends, our nations flag will continue to fly high above our Capitol, while the Trump banners slowly fade in the closets of the next generation. Alongside the Confederacy, this will just be another failed attempt to overthrow a country that still believes in its inalienable rights and the philosophy of freedom.

This week will become another chapter in America’s history that will be used around the globe both as an example of why democracy works and why it doesn’t. Perhaps it will trigger an awakening, illuminating the long ignored frayed thread unraveling the fabric of our nation, to reveal our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness rests firmly on the shoulders of equality and justice.

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