I wasn’t planning on writing about politics this week. But then there was that phone call to Georgia. A recorded conversation, the U.S. President telling Secretary of State Raffensperger to believe a fantasy—that Trump won Georgia by a landslide and thus the Republican thing to do would be to change the Georgia voting results.
The bizarre behavior continued Wednesday January 6th with an attempted coup. Trump told thousands of his supporters, despite the fact that every state in the union had already certified their election results after multiple recounts and judicial challenges, “The election has been stolen from me.” He repeated his lies over and over again directing the demonstrators to take back The Capital.
The results: five people dead, scores of people injured, and a federal building ransacked and looted. Members of the mob who invaded The Capital took selfies of themselves parading around with Confederate flags and planting their feet on legislator’s desks. The majority of participants appeared to be white males. They thought their behavior was cool, normal, justified. The police response was slow and lethargic. I wondered what would be the response if the demonstrators were primarily black and brown.
The goal of the rioters: prevent U.S. Congress from the final acceptance and certification of the state electoral votes.
Wednesday night we got a phone call from our son who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. “Are you safe?” he said. “I’m seeing photos of armed vigilantes in the streets.”
This is how we appeared to the world. A country in chaos.
The irony to me is chilling. One dozen years ago when my son decided to work in Indonesia, I was concerned about Indonesia’s political instability. Now he is worrying about the instability of what was once considered the most stable and powerful country on the globe, the United States. First we do a horrific job handling the coronavirus. We have more cases and more deaths than any other country. Now we are politically fractured and the tenets of our Democracy are being challenged. And what are the challengers planning to replace democracy with but a dictatorship based on deranged fantasies.
I keep hearing the phrase, Banana Republic. We are no better than a Banana Republic I’m starting to say. This led me to research the exact meaning of the term, coined by one of my favorite writers 0’Henry.
O’Henry is famous for his short stories but he also worked as a journalist. He created the phrase in 1901 to describe Honduras and similar countries like Honduras who were politically unstable and under the control of a plutocracy composed of business, political, and military elite who exploited a large and poor working class. Economic monopolies that steer all the profits into the pockets of the ruling class is a primary characteristic of a Banana Republic. Starting to sound familiar? Think of who has been contracting the coronavirus and their access to healthcare, food, and shelter.
A Banana Republic is a country largely dependent on the exportation of one limited resource product, such as bananas. There the similarity with the United States ends, because we do have multiple resources and a manufacturing economy that continues to reinvent itself. Take note, it was the President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers representing 14,000 member companies across industrial sectors, who immediately called upon Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and remove President Trump from office. Political stability is needed. While we continue to be a thriving nation on some levels, our situation is precarious.
If there is any way to prevent Trump from running for United States President in 2024, Congress or the Judicial branch should take the appropriate steps. In the short term, I’d like to see him removed for his seditious behavior, but I also worry about the future. Impeachment should prevent him from running for President a second time. According to some scholars, it is possible for proceedings to continue after January 20th when Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Kamala Harris are sworn in as President and Vice-President.
So here I began the blog not intending to write about politics, and now readers, if you agree with me I urge you to contact your elected representatives and let them know how you feel.