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The glass is leaking

Normally, I'm one who sees the glass half-full instead of half-empty, both for myself and for our country. Right now, I see our country's glass severely cracked and leaking. I hope I'm wrong.

Our national Capitol building was invaded and trashed. The physical threat to it was halted within hours, but we were left with uncertainty about its future. With each day's news we understand more about how vulnerable it was to massive destruction of the building itself and of the people inside it who are essential to our republic, our democracy.

And that, our democratic republic, is what I'm worried about. Even if we get through the next week or two without another riot or worse, is our collective American mind, heart, and soul so broken that we won't be able to find our way through the existential threat that is the combination of pandemic and economic collapse?

Those two specters are two faces of the same threat. We cannot salvage our economy if we can't curb covid-19. When we try to move ahead on both fronts, will Americans in the cleaned-up halls of Congress and in communities across the country still be locked into political dogma that make belief in individual liberties the enemy of sane public health policy?

Other issues matter and divide us, but they are irrelevant if we can't deal with this one by sealing up at least some of the cracks in the cup of American unity from which we all must drink or die of thirst. I worry that we can't do that. I hope I'm wrong.


Mountain View

No other word for it

The Capitol riots were the result of a president who thrived on hate and divisiveness for over four years. I believe we can all agree now that the rioters really were, well, deplorable.



Not needed anymore

Now that America's golden four years are about over, I think the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette no longer needs a Voices page or editor. Think of the money saved. Without Donald Trump, the self-appointed intelligentsia of Northwest Arkansas and the pseudo-intellectuals of Little Rock will have nothing to write about. After four years of useless vitriol, surely they are out of ink.

The 30 percenters in Arkansas who voted for lunch-bucket Joe won't dare criticize him. Except maybe to blame Trump for Joe's ineptness. Enjoy your higher taxes and job losses. And China's dominance. You voted for it.


Hot Springs Village

Violated sacred space

In the summer of 1996, as a staffer in Washington for Senator David Pryor, I spent time taking visiting Arkansas constituents on a tour of the U.S. Capitol. To witness the awe in visitors' eyes and the silence generated by the beauty of the space was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Each day, walking the halls, I felt encased by honor and safety, in reverence to the history around me.

On Jan. 6, the first images of the breach of our Capitol came through. Statuary Hall, where our visitors quietly gathered around the certain space on the marble floor to hear the acoustic whisper from across the room (a trick, the tale goes, employed to listen to the opposing party while pretending to sleep), now a gathering place for screaming mobs. In the Rotunda, where a statue rests of Arkansan Hattie Caraway, the nation's first woman elected to serve a full term as a United States senator, now a scene of angry crowds, some with loaded guns and zip ties.

There were no words. The vulnerability of our congressional leadership, the five deaths, numerous injured and the sadness and loss of something sacred will be difficult for us to recover from. Like Pandora's box, the only thing left from that day is hope; that we, as a country, have seen the ugly and dangerous potential of abetting unchecked leaders. This president spearheaded the desecration of our Capitol. He fomented fear and anger to the point of endangering our leaders. It's time to ask ourselves how we let this into our house, how we contributed to this moment and how we rebuild the sacred as we move from the Age of "Silence is Golden" to the Age of "Silence is Complicity."



A stain on our nation

On Jan. 6, I found myself watching the attack on the Capitol in complete horror. American citizens repeatedly chanted, carried mammoth American and Trump flags along with some most notable racist flags across the Capitol's manicured lawn, up the majestic steps, through the newly broken window panes, crossed the newly demolished hallowed doorways, and proudly paraded through the sacred walls only to viciously assault Capitol police, dismantle relics and offices, and deliberately seek out our duly elected officials to sadistically atone with their lives.

Most tragically, somehow ... in some minds ... that this somehow portrays actions of patriotism is well beyond any line in any American history books. The Americans who chose to demonstrate are all well within their rights, yet when they also chose to participate or to stand idly by and watch and not intervene into the multiple egregious assaults, this is in no way an American patriot; not in the history of our nation, my view nor in the world's view.

There is a substantial stain on the Capitol lawn, the steps, and throughout the confines of our nation's Capitol. Wholeheartedly, this stain will line the pages of our history books for generations, photos and video clips that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for years to come will view as not patriotic acts, but a body of facts of those who participated, and of those who blatantly chose to be spectators while there was a horrendous attack on the very pillars of our American Constitution and the fabric of our democracy. Where do you see yourself?



Mentality of the mob

Mobs can form from any point on the political compass. It is important that the media and our leaders do not engage in selective outrage about mobs that may either be closer to or distant from their own political thinking. Government of, by, and for the people requires a nation of laws, not mobs.



Seeking credibility?

Perhaps the governor, like Senator Cotton, is seeking street credibility with the Washington and New York in-crowd rather than representing our conservative state.


Hot Springs

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