Truth and Accountability Out in the Open and Free

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said this week that Congress should “call off the proceedings ahead of a trial in the Senate: ‘If you want to end the violence, end impeachment,’” so quoth Amy Davidson Sorkin in the lead essay in this week’s New Yorker’s Talk of the Town. The rest of her piece is about fear — from all sides. Who feels fear. Why. How. Fear all around.

She concludes, “But fear is its own trap. A trial — and other investigations that allow the country to plainly face what happened on January 6th — can help those in its grasp to break out of it. To borrow Lindsay Graham’s formulation, the way to end this violent chapter is, indeed, for impeachment to end — with a trial and a conviction.”

This, on the heels of a shaky, if unanimous decision to delay the trial. “‘We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us,’ said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader. ‘But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.’”

Healing and Unity v. Truth and Accountability. It sounds like an existential boxing match to me. Instead of versus it ought to be framed as an if/then proposition. If Truth and Accountability, then Healing and Unity. In that order.

That’s how it works legally for individuals in this country. Why shouldn’t it work on the national stage as well? It should except … for conflicting agendas.

The overriding motif in this morning’s Times on the subject of extreme-right violence is that our intelligence communities have known of its growing threat for some time. Only now are the American people coming to know of it in mainstream media. Only now is the spotlight trained on the matter, and steady.

Colin P. Clarke is a director at an intelligence and security consultancy. He writes, “The storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a rabid mob of Donald Trump supporters resulted in a failed insurrection. But for far-right extremists, including anti-government militias, white supremacists and violent conspiracy theorists, nothing about the insurrection was a failure.”

That sentence lifted my eyebrows. How could it be considered anything but a failure? Here’s how.

“The turbulence of the next several years should not be underestimated. Record-setting firearms sales, looming economic calamity and the continued fraying of America’s social fabric — exacerbated by declining mental health, rising domestic violence and worsening substance abuse during the pandemic — make for a worrying combination.”

Probably, but at least a worrying combination that we’re finally attending to, no? Mr. Clarke maintains, “[A] larger segment of the far right could come to engage in racially and ethnically motivated violence. After the inauguration on Jan. 20, QAnon followers were apoplectic, with one lamenting, ‘We all just got played.’ Sensing the disillusionment, white supremacists pounced, reaching out to disaffected QAnon adherents and urging one another to ‘heighten their burning hatred of injustice’ to build rapport and accelerate the grooming process.”

I don’t remember where I first saw the dismissive phrase QAnonsense, but I do remember the feeling of satisfaction that it gave me. Well, yes, of course, said the very pleased interior me, now it will be revealed as nonsense.

Um, not so fast. Fear is much more a long-game player than a quick dismissal warrants.

Judges are unilaterally denying bail to those charged with crimes in the January 6th insurrection even as The White House ordered an assessment on violent extremism in the U.S.

“WASHINGTON — President Biden on Friday ordered the director of national intelligence to work with the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the threat from domestic violent extremism, a sign of how seriously the new administration is taking the issue in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.”

The new administration isn’t the only entity that needs to take this seriously, and not because it’s a threat, but because it’s a promise.

Mr. Clarke assures us, “The extreme far right is often more in agreement about what it stands against than what it stands for.” Plenty of folks thought that a coordinated action would not materialize, that the extremists couldn’t or wouldn’t get organized. In fact, they weren’t organized except by small pockets of armed militia. And still, they rioted. Still, they invaded. Still, they have thrown down a gauntlet to this country that they claim so to love.

There is already a huge backlash against the ten Republican House members who voted to impeach Mr. Trump a second time. A tsunami.

President Biden, as a more experienced Washington operator, is issuing Executive Orders — 30 in 48 hours — left, right, and center. He’s “not using the process to build his legacy, as Mr. Trump tried to do, but as a means of erasing Mr. Trump’s.”

Change is much more than in the wind, Beloved. It’s here. Things are moving. This means, like it or not, things will be different. Another New Yorker essayist posited, “Ours is an age of infantilization and cosseting: our TV shows come with trigger warnings; our waistbands are elasticized; our vitamins, gummied.”

We will not be cosseted in this change, not if it goes the way of Truth and Accountability before Healing and Unity. Healing and Unity are a long way away — and they should be.

Washington was a very quiet District during this inauguration, a huge departure from past regime-change celebrations. “‘It’s different, but everything will handle itself,’ said Anthony Petteway, 61, who was selling Biden and Harris merchandise on a barren corner in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, far from the Capitol, where he ordinarily sets up shop. ‘The big bad wolf is gone,’ he said.”

Um, I wish. But the big bad wolf, as I suggested yesterday, isn’t a lone wolf, not at all. He’s just a wolf that moved south — for the time being. There are still pockets, both armed and unarmed, who think President Biden actually didn’t win the election, who feel betrayed, and who are doing everything they can to maintain their own shaky, electronically force-fed, belief systems when Truth and Accountability are staring them in the face.

Wolves, you will recall, are pack animals. There really aren’t lone wolves unless their packs are killed or separated from them in some way. For the moment, there is a brief caesura whilst the Big Bad Wolf regroups to retain control over his pocket packs across the country. This is not cynicism, Beloved. Nor is it self-protection, it’s fact, and we ignore fact, as we know, at our supreme peril.

We have to keep our eye on the goal, Beloved. Healing and Unity.

In yesterday’s Letters to the Editor, Judith Eadson wrote to The Times from Pitman, NJ.

To the Editor:

“It was the best inauguration ever. Mostly because of its diversity — not just racial and ethnic diversity, but diversity of every kind.

“A Black female fire captain leading the Pledge of Allegiance in sign language. A nurse singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in her work clothes at the Covid memorial the night before. A Capitol Police hero in a plain brown coat escorting the vice president. A mall empty of people and yet full of their presence.

“Three former presidents standing together in support. One absent president acknowledged, and another one ignored. Lady Gaga’s dress, Bernie Sanders’s mittens, Karen Pence’s pearls. A president who said ‘we’ so many times more than he said ‘I.’

“I am joyful and hopeful today.”

How do we stay in joy and hope whilst a spotlight is trained on a segment of our population that is so far from joy or hope as to think themselves ‘played?’

We do our own work, Beloved. Our own. We mind our own business. Our own. We seek our own Truth and Accountability. Our own. We hold out our own hope and joy for those who haven’t any. Our own.

Here’s one woman’s path. Novelist Samantha Hunt had an Opinion piece in yesterday’s Times. She writes, “I’m done with the word ‘patriot.’ It’s time for America to make room for her matriots, a word my spell-checker tells me doesn’t even exist. We tell schoolchildren that our flag was made by a woman, a matriot. While I’m not there yet, I’m trying to look at it and imagine a motherland.”

Perhaps too extreme an approach for some of our notably threatened white male populace, but still one approach. Her own.

When change this big is coming for a whole group of people — all the citizens of a country, for example — there is only one path for each of us to take. We must keep our eyes on the goal — Healing and Unity — travel our own paths through Truth and Accountability — and pray for ourselves and all our compatriots that as we each travel our own paths, we bravely make a way where there has been no way before. Our own American way.

Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her essays address the intersection between spirituality and culture. Find out more at www.susancorso.com

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Susan Corso

Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 40+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com