The Culmination of Two Years’ Languish
Looking back, those eighteen months felt like decades. And it wasn’t a calm, easy time, the kind of time that can verge on boring when one has to seek excitement to feel the old, pink pump chugging.
Perhaps it was a carried-over feeling from the previous few years when upheaval uncovered not the rich soil in which to plant a prosperous future but rather a boggy stench of slush that we squeegeed into the new decade.
Spoiled elder youths muddied the Slip-n-Slide, leaving a sopping green mess to mark us, we of the forgotten generation, we that promised ourselves we would throw the whole thing out before we let it get ruined. To be fair, one could suppose that the other side viewed themselves much the same way, and maybe they were trying to throw it all out just as we’d promised ourselves. They almost succeeded.
A mess soothes, its familiarity securing one’s perimeters, one’s capacity to withstand and withhold; but it’s an amoeboid barrier. We control what passes through, stifling the variety of stimuli until we believe that nothing exists besides what we allow in. In those boggy months, stagnating in what seemed a perpetual storm of misinformation and fomented fear, the variety of stimuli decreased further. We were left to choose between the horrifying truth and the horrible, sometimes-intentionally inaccurate, lie; made to feel unbalanced when considering rational ideas, unhinged when expressing genuine concern for devastating prospects.
And when the others, those that drained the water leaving nothing but the unskimmed muck behind, began to bear the brunt of their ignorance and belittling, they blamed the government for their condition.
These—who perceived a piece of cloth over one’s face more devastating than the deadly condition that the cloth prevented—didn’t blame the entire government, each branch given a list of grievances with specific demands to improve our collective situation. No, it was simultaneously more pointed and amorphous. Only certain political factions were labeled “government.” And with that label came the modifiers “corrupt” and “elite" and “oppressive.” They twisted suggestions and mandates for safety into evidence of control and barbarism and worst of all in their estimations, anti-nationalism. Their personal identities and love of self, tied so closely to their sense of entitlement by virtue of being born in an arbitrarily and violently formed area of the planet, they could no longer distinguish between their own needs and the desires of the ruling class. And, don't misunderstand: there was a ruling class.
There, costumed in the fineries of their respective statuses—half-naked and painted, a malignant manifestation of the crux of American cultural appropriation; decked with dingy denim and beer-scented beards and bras; or boringly quaffed with cookie-cutter business casual slacks and loafers—they stormed the castle of perceived slights and imaginary injustices.
They called for the Deaths not only of those who represented and fought for disparate ideological legislation (women and minorities, mostly), but also of those whose recent words and actions weren’t harsh or vainglorious enough for these self-appointed liberators of the most liberated and protected sector of the population to justify their violence (up to and including the VP of the USA).
They, who railed against peaceful protests of police brutality and flew black, white and blue flags on their trucks as they rammed pedestrians, beat officers of peace with the emblem of the country, defiled red stripes with the red blood of their protectors in a vain presumption of oppression. Clamoring for chaos in the guise of liberty, they split symbols of Freedom like firewood and shattered declarative encasements, exposing fragile parchments of history to the mired air of the moment.
Boasting their conquest, they posted photos and videos of their fight against the fair and legal election of a president. Unable to accept that they were not in fact the silent majority, they transformed themselves into the worst of what they purported to despise: lawless, unjust, uncivilized, violent. They returned to work with a feeling of elation, of being seen and heard, of making a difference for the betterment of the country, incapable of understanding that they would not be the heroes of the hour. And nothing came of the boastful promises; none of the rallies they threatened formed. None of the representatives they harangued were unseated or prosecuted for fictitious crimes. No new macabre conjectures made their way to mainstream news: no gay frogs, no pizza parlor cults, no reptilian extraterrestrials running the shadow government.
The following year, January 6th became a meme. The devastation, death, destruction, and defilement transposed into another e-symbol of self-congratulatory virtue. When the indictments began, propelled by self-recorded evidence of high crimes, it wasn’t front-page news. No hordes of cameras waited outside halls of justice for the details of the trials. No 60-minute specials laid bare the intriguing back story of the individuals in an attempt to understand the psychological underpinnings of these crazed devotees.
Perhaps the lack of coverage was for the best. Relegated once again to snapping toothlessly, stuck in a swampy pit of their own making, without a trainer to praise their myopic destitute desires and violently asinine actions, they sank more slowly and more quietly than they had risen. Still there, in the murky shallows they wait, hoping to once again be relevant, even if their only contribution is destruction.