January 6 — Epiphanies

Featured

A Day of Infamy

The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, POTUS Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress. “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy…” he began. His oft-cited words could have been repeated the day after the attack on the U. S. Capitol January 6, 2020.

The POTUS defeated in the 2020 election called no special session of Congress on January 7, 2021. The day before (Jan. 6, 2021) the President stayed in the Oval Office dining room watching the rampage through the halls of Congress, and Capitol Police rushing Members of Congress, the Vice President and their staff members into hiding. He kept his eyes glued to the unfolding images as if watching contestants on Jeopardy.

When finally he spoke after 187 minutes of silence, he told those who had breached the Capitol “…So go home. We love you, you’re very special. We’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.” There was no special session of Congress, as on the day after Pearl Harbor. Congress impeached Mr. Trump for the second time over the objection of Jim Jordan (pictured below), Marjorie Taylor Greene, and others. Loyalist senators voted to acquit him. January 6, 2020 will be remembered as the day the Big Lie and Stop the Steal almost stole democracy.

Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸
@mtgreenee

  1. We must remove Adam Schiff from Congress.
    It’s not enough to take him off committees.
    He has heinously abused power & LIED repeatedly to the American people to weaponize the government to attack his political enemies.
    He’s a Communists.
    All Communists must be expelled.
    10:03 AM · Dec 15, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

Blacklisted – on the LIST (Click Here)

Painting public figures as Communists has a history. In 1952 and following, the right wing of the Republican Party created a “blacklist” of Communists and Communist sympathizers.

The List

10 PUBLIC FIGURES

Helen Keller
Leonard Bernstein
Burl Ives
Pete Seeger
Artie Shaw
Zero Mostel
Charlie Chaplin
Langston Hughes
Orson Welles
Dolores del Rio

+Adam Schiff (added 12/15/22

Epiphany

The date of the 2021 Capitol insurrection coincided with the Feast of the Epiphany which my church celebrates every January 6th, no matter the current circumstances. On Epiphany the heart is lifted by the Gospel of Matthew’s story of the Magi (wisdom figures) who have come from afar, kneeling before a newborn as fragile as any newborn to offer their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

It was and is a question of kneeling

Prior to their arrival at Bethlehem, these sages from the East go to “Herod the king” asking for directions to the place where the new king has been born. A “troubled” King Herod summons his advisors to gather information. He then summons the “wise men” secretly to ascertain from them when the star had appeared. Herod gives them directions to Betlehem, and tells them to come back to him when they have found the child, “that I too may come and worship him.”

The Magi do not return to Herod. “And warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.” Herod is furious. Herod never disappears. Cunning and deceit never end. Darkness remains. But the Light –the star shining over an animal shelter — remains. Last year Epiphany there was darkness and there was light. A would-be king trembles and flies into a slaughter of innocents. For years to come, January 6 the memory of a violent insurrection and the Feast of the Epiphany will sit side-by-side. May we have the wisdom to follow the Light that cannot overcome the darkness.

Pete Seeger

The two competing images of the wise visitors to Bethlehem and of Herod’s cunning will through light on reality as it is. If Burl Ives and Pete Seeger were branded as Communists, I wonder about Dolly Parton. Dolly did appear with Big Bird on Sesame Street.

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is an old favorite of Protestant Christians. Pete Seeger (RIP) knew what happens when we look to Congress to save us.

For more information on the history of blacklisting, click Blacklisting by the House Un-America Affairs Committee.

Gordon C. Stewart, public theologian, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017 Wipf and Stock), Brooklyn Park, MN 55443.

The Oath: “I do solemnly swear….”

Interview in the Oval Office

George Stephanopoulos’ Oval Office interview with President Trump is going viral. For the first time in history an American president sees nothing wrong with a candidate for public office accepting a foreign government’s dirt on an opponent.

Oaths of office

Every member of Congress knows that’s illegal. However how wide the chasm between Republicans and Democrats on this president or the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election (“Mueller Report”), there should be no question about this one. President Trump handed Congress an issue on which its members are sworn to act. Either the President was ignorant of the federal law that protects the integrity of the American electoral system or he was consciously defying the rule of law.

Republicans for the rule of law and the Constitution

Today Republicans for the Rule of Law begins airing “THE OATH” — a TV ad calling on Congress to act. Click HERE for more on THE OATH. Bill Kristol, serves as director of Republicans for the Rule of Law

photo go Bill Kristol, Director of Republicans for the Rule of Law

Today Republicans for the Rule of Law begins airing “THE OATH” — a TV ad calling on Congress to take action. Click HERE for more on THE OATH.

Bill Kristol, a conservative highly respected in Republican Party circles, is director of Republicans for the Rule of Law.

Previous Views from the Edge commentaries on impeachment

As always, leave a comment to join the conversation, if you wish.

If you’ve come by Views from the Edge, you know where we stand. If you haven’t visited us before today, Click our May 25 commentary In the winkling of an Eye: Impeach or Wait? Or click Impeach or Wait: It’s an Oath of Office Question for MinPost’s republication and reader comments.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, June 14, 2019.

Truth and Lies

This brief video addresses questions that continue to stump me. Will we ever get it back? Whatever one’s view of Barack Obama, one cannot refute the flagrant juxtapositions between the values the current Republican Party professes and the real life disdain for those same values.

President Barack Obama to Republican supporters of Donald Trump.

It’s time to stop the White House’s frontal assault on the equality among the three branches of federal government defined under the U.S. Constitution. Time for us, the American people, to tell those in Congress to do what Congress is supposed to do. Contempt of Congress is partisan. It is contempt for the institution itself, and for the Constitution that establishes and protects the American experiment under the rule of law. It’s time for boldness.

Anyone who witnessed Attorney General Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee saw and heard the AG’s disdain for truth-telling. He lied. The next day he refused to appear before the House Committee. This is not time for patience. It’s time for Congress to act swiftly and boldly with arrests for contempt of Congress.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 3, 2019.

Stepping Up: Running for Congress

Moments ago Tabitha Isner, a highly respected friend and ministerial colleague, sent an email announcing she’s running for Congress.

You can meet Tabitha and learn why she’s running on her campaign website Tabitha Isner for Congress, on FaceBook, or that thing that issues early morning messages that make us groan: Twitter.

Tabitha is the only Tabitha I’ve ever met in person. I do remember another Tabitha whose Bewitched TV  sit-com daughter Samantha could change the world with the twitch of her nose. Tabitha is no Samantha! knows it will take more than the twitch of a nose to make democracy work in America.

Thank you, Tabitha, for stepping up and stepping out.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN

 

Between Here and There

A CNN report caught my attention this morning. Anticipating today’s Congressional vote on the president’s $36.5 billion disaster relief aid package, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, said the following.

“People want to be helpful here. They’ve turned on the television. They know these are awfully genuine needs,” he said, arguing that Republicans simply want to fund the measure in a “prudent” way.

Early this morning the president took to twitter with a series of tweets about Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.” says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of…..

..accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend….

We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!

Rep. Cole spoke truth that “people want to be helpful here. They’ve turned on the television. We  “know these are awfully genuine needs….” But the “here” is a question. Where is “here“? Is “here” Houston, northern California, Puerto Rico? All of them? Or only some of them?

Or is “here” Congress and the Oval Office, the seats of authority and power in a constitutional republic — the branches of government where the television-watching American public hopes against hope that those we elect to represent us get their information from something other than their televisions.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, unlike Houston and the wine country of northern California, is poor. Its history is that of a pawn in the chess game of powerful nations.

The Smithsonian website article “Puerto Rico — History and Heritage” — offers a brief history of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico remained an overseas province of Spain until the Spanish-American war, when U.S. forces invaded the island with a landing at Guánica. Under the Treaty of Paris of 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico (along with Cuba, the Philippines and Guam) to the U.S.

As a result, the turn of the century saw Puerto Rico under United States sovereignty. At that time, Puerto Rico’s economy relied on its sugar crop, but by the middle of the century, an ambitious industrialization effort, called Operation Bootstrap, was underway. Cheap labor and attractive tax laws attracted American companies, and soon the Puerto Rican economy was firmly grounded in manufacturing and tourism. Today, Puerto Rico is a leading tourist destination and manufacturing center; the island produces high-tech equipment and many top-selling American pharmaceuticals.

Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship in 1917 and Puerto Rico officially became a U.S. Commonwealth in 1952. The issue of political status is one under constant debate, with some in favor statehood, others independence, and still others the continuation of commonwealth status.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy purchased two thirds of the island to use as a naval base. The Navy used the area for military exercises and bombing practice for nearly 60 years until a civilian was killed during a bombing exercise in the 1990s. This sparked a wave of protests that finally ended when the base closed in 2003. Since then, the Navy’s lands have become wildlife reserves.

Today Congress faces a moral issue that begins with the question of where “here” is and with a couple of early morning tweets that divide the world between here and there, and want to leave “there” behind, ignoring the wisdom of The Letter of James:

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” [i.e., the world divided by here and there; us and them; rich and poor]. – James 1:26-27.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, October 12, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Verse – It Works with Congress

Some think a score-keeper’s in heaven.
They say that it simply must be.
For life here below,
It’s easy to show,
Is not fair for you or for me…

You’re sweet and always kind-hearted,
But also as poor as a bird.
I’m mean as a snake,
But I always make
So much money, it’s simply absurd!

You work-out, but never are healthy.
I drink booze and lounge with TV.
I’m never unwell,
And all can just tell
I’ll out-live you, just wait and see.

Some say Justice waits till here-after.
The scales must be balanced up there.
I hope that a BRIBE
Will get me inside,
And that Heaven will still not be fair!

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Nov. 12, 2015

The Cock-Fight

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

Uh, Oh! Cock-fight!!! 

The GOP House and Senate roosters are at it with each other.

And the loser is…national security and the public image of the GOP. There is no hen house in Congress. Ever tried to herd a bunch of roosters? Cock-a-doodle-do and death to Yankee Doodle Dandy.

 

America Compromised: the Budget Bill of 2014

The Congressional omnibus budget bill is a compromise – a BIG compromise. It turns the clock back on regulations put in place after the financial market meltdown in 2008 had taken us to the brink of another Great Depression. It undoes the core provision of Dodd-Frank and increases the limit for wealthy giving to political campaigns.

Cover on John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire in which "Sorrow" the family dog floats to the surface after the plane crash.

Cover on John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire in which “Sorrow” the family dog floats to the surface after the plane crash.

The dog we hoped we’d buried still floats, as Views from the Edge published on MinnPost a year after the 2008 crisis.

Click Sorrow Floats: the Healthy-Deregulated-Capitalism Myth Just Keeps Resurfacing.

Sorrowfully, memory is short, and, because the American electorate chooses amnesia to consciousness, the old dog still haunts us.

 

 

Puppy salutes Martin Luther King’s Dream

Barclay and the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Barclay and the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fourteen-week old Barclay was reading the morning paper where he read for the first time about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his “I have a Dream speech” 50 years ago this Wednesday. “Woof!” said Barclay. Then his eyes became sad as he read the other stories in the paper and told his Dad to put on the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) shirt Barclay’s Mom found at a garage sale. The America Barclay wants is one that prevents cruelty to animals, including humans.

“Dad,” he said, “We have to go to Washington this Wednesday! We have to keep the dream alive.”

“We can’t go to Washington,” said Dad. “We’re not ready to go to Washington. Not until you learn to go potty outside. Maybe next year, when you’ve learned that going outside is your contribution to the prevention of cruelty to humans and the American way of life, we can go to Washington and visit Congress to train them too.”

Barclay looked at Dad and said Dad wasn’t worthy to wear that t-shirt. Dad goes inside all the time. “It’s prejudice, pure and simple and I won’t have any part in it! Dad hates dogs!”

“Sit,” said Dad.

“Just another form of cruelty and intimidation,” said Barclay. “Martin would never have treated me like that.”

“You don’t understand,” said Dad. “Martin was able to accomplish what he did in the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement because he put himself under the strict discipline of non-violent resistance. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood discipline and self-discipline. I want you to learn the same thing. Every time you go in the house, it’s an act of violent resistance. It’s an act of terror. Do you understand? Sit!”

Barclay sat, knowing that the treat was in Dad’s hand. He took the treat, then squatted right in front of Dad, and said, “Maybe some day I’ll be self-disciplined like Dr. King. Right now I’m just a puppy in training. … So next year we can go Washington, D.C. and train everyone in Congress and the White House not to make a mess in their own houses?”

Beyonce on the floor of Congress

Video

Congressional leaders are singing off key, inviting a national food fight. They want us to believe they’re soul-singers. But the sound is wooden. No heart. No soul. Instead we hear only of sequestration, protestation, damnation, remonstration, and gyration, but no gestation, no universal gun registration. Only sequestration.

Bring in Beyoncé! “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming fo’ to carry me home. I looked over Jordan and what did I see? A band of angels comin’ after me, comin’ fo’ to carry me home.”

If you agree that Congress is acting like the prisoners before Beyoncé came to their rescue, send this link to your Congressional Representatives. Tell ’em Paul Robeson, Johnny Cash, Etta James, and Beyoncé told you to. 🙂