It was almost a no-brainer what I was going to write for my column this week. 2020 was tough for me as I know it has been for so many people in the county, state, country and world.
I lost my mother in March, probably to COVID, and then I got sick two weeks later with probably the same disease and had to be in quarantine for almost a month. It took me almost until June to feel back to normal.
I was also hit with a monster financial crisis that crushed me and am still feeling the repercussions, as I try and navigate its effects. I watched in disbelief as wearing masks became a political statement to a disease I knew first-hand devastates.
2020 had plenty of good moments and I hope that is what I focus on as years pass.
I felt I had plenty of material to write for this week saying goodbye to 2020.
Then came January 6.
The day started off well enough and seemed fairly normal. I talked to Sun editor Joshua Wood in the morning and we went over what stories were on the horizon. We got off the phone and I started sketching out my day. On Wednesdays, I travel northern Carbon County for the paper. Sometimes I have to incorporate meetings into the day. The Hanna Parks and Recreation board meeting normally would have occurred but it got canceled. I had talked to Hanna’s mayor Lois Buchanan in the morning and knew I would be going to the town hall after I made my tour of the north.
That is exactly what happened.
I listen to my CD player when driving so no news was present. I did check the internet before leaving that late morning, and was a little surprised to learn the Senate race had gone to the Democrats.
I knew my sister, a progressive Democrat, was going to be happy. I made a mental note to call her when I got home.
The day went well, although the roads did have some moments of caution because of recent snow conditions. Honestly, in winter, that just comes with the territory. In Elk Mountain, I had a nice talk with Jen, who works at Bow River Crossing General Store.
When I finally got to Hanna town hall, again, there were good conversations with the ladies who run the office.
Leaving, I ran into people who gave me an idea for a story. That is always a good thing.
It was getting dark as I entered my house, so I turned on the heat and glanced at what would be for dinner before calling my sister.
When I did finally call, I joked she was probably happy with outcome of Georgia if the results had held. I told her I wasn’t sure, since I hadn’t looked at the news since late morning.
“I haven’t really been paying attention to that because of what is happening at the Capitol,” she said.
She then told me protesters that had broken into the building and stopped the electoral college certification for president.
My sister works from home for a satellite company and she learned about the break-in from a teleconference meeting she had an hour before. Michelle had turned on her TV and gave me what information she had learned.
I was winding down the phone conversation with her so I could check the internet when a buddy from Maryland called. We talked for a bit as he told me the whole situation was unbelievable to him and everyone he had talked to.
At this point I was still not really sure what had actually happened.
When I did get to the news, I thought I was prepared to see and read what happened.
I was mistaken.
In past columns I have mentioned my work for two senators and a political analyst when I lived in D.C. Because of these jobs, I was very familiar with the Russell Building and the Capitol. I have walked down the corridors I saw protesters trashing. I have been in offices similar to the ones I saw vandalized.
I had a reaction I never expected.
Tears started to well up and the next thing I knew, they began to streak down my cheeks.
I can’t really explain it because it is hard for me to cry. Anyone who knows me well knows tears don’t come easy.
Looking at the pictures of lawmakers barricaded inside, broken furniture and windows wasn’t just disturbing, it was something unfathomable.
My sister said before the election she didn’t think Donald Trump would accept losing and that he would incite his base to stay in office and not care about the damage he inflicted on the nation.
I have to admit, I didn’t buy it.
Even when he was saying the election was rigged the first few weeks, I believed he would come around and do what was best for the country. As courts rejected his claims, with judges he appointed including the Supreme Court, I really thought he would come to grips he lost an election. When William Barr, the Attorney General, said the election had no widespread fraud, I believed our president would accept he lost the way he won as some states flipped with razor thin results.
I admit, I have never been fond of the guy personally.
He lost my respect when the “Access Hollywood” tape came out. I have way too much respect for women. What he said, in my opinion, goes against everything my mother, sister, ex-wife and past girlfriends have tried to instill in me about being treated equal in America.
Still, when he won, I hoped for the best as all Americans should do, again in my opinion, when their political candidate loses.
I agreed with some stances he had on China. Other stances he had, I wasn’t a fan.
In America, we have two major parties, and few smaller ones, and we obviously don’t agree on everything. But until January 6, I never believed a president, congressperson or senator would truly put their own ambitions before the welfare of this country.
My opinion, but the election wasn’t rigged. I believed, like others that doubted the results, to let the process of the courts go through their motions and if there was fraud, it would be discovered.
For two months the country has listened to claims about rigged elections and absolutely no proof has been presented of any large scale (or honestly, even small scale) fraud. Trying to throw out votes of Americans has been hard to swallow, but I really believed in the end, the challenge would reveal the truth and Americans in general would accept it.
Joe Biden might not be who some people wanted to win, but someone has to lose. He didn’t win by six states cheating. That is just a reality Americans–Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party and other parties that aren’t as well known–just have to accept.
Truthfully, I have no idea why some Senators and Congresspersons wanted to cast doubt on the election. It is their right, and I won’t take it away from them, but couldn’t they see what they were enabling a person who didn’t want admit he lost?
Now the chickens have come home to roost.
Our building that has been the beacon of Democracy has been violated in a way that has not happened since the British attacked Washington in 1814.
It truly is heartbreaking to me.
I guess I understand where my tears come from.
As I read comments by Republicans and Democrats alike, the tears continued to well the next day on January 7.
I just couldn’t believe America had come to the point where we allowing baseless allegations for widespread fraud to tear our country apart,
Then one comment gave me hope this country will survive this affront to democracy.
It was from the Senator who just lost her election in Georgia the day before and called herself a 100 percent Trump supporter. Kelley Loefler had made clear, days before, she was going to protest Georgia’s vote in the certification of the electoral college.
After the attack on the Capitol, she changed her mind.
“The events that transpired have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors,” Loeffler said. “The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process.”
After I read her words, I wiped my tears away and knew, we can get past this dark moment in our American heritage.