Opinion

LAST MINUTE MUSINGS: After Wednesday, maybe this is exactly who we are

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Like so many of you, I sat way too long in front of my television on Wednesday afternoon and evening, watching the events unfold with shock and horror, though not complete surprise.

It had been telegraphed for weeks that President Donald Trump’s supporters planned to rally in Washington, D.C., on the day Congress was set to affirm President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election.

The day of the rally was not a coincidence and anyone who couldn’t connect the incendiary language in the aftermath of the election with the potential for incendiary actions was either blind or willfully ignoring the facts.

Yet as I watched my fellow Americans make their way into the Capitol with relative ease, I couldn’t help but feel dismayed at something I didn’t believe I would see in my lifetime.

In the aftermath, I kept hearing a similar line from legislators and others, some version of “This is NOT America” or “This isn’t who we are.”

Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells is noted for saying, “You are what your record says you are.”

His point, in football or any other sport, is that no matter how much talent or potential your team has, the results on the field are what matter. You may be overachieving or underachieving, but if the record says you’re a .500 team, then that’s exactly what you are.

So I have a simple message for those who questioned the Americanness of what we saw on Wednesday, so many of them more educated and experienced than me.

This is exactly who we are.

It may not be who we want to be. It’s certainly not who we could or should be. But it is who we are.

I don’t know how anyone could watch what happened Wednesday and think we were living in the exceptional, city-on-the-hill, light-of-the-world democracy so many of us were taught about growing up.

We were watching the results of years of festering division, of people increasingly occupying silos, of viewing everything in politics and life as us vs. them.

These things have to change before the bigger problems can change. But before we get there, we have to stop denying the reality of the situation.

We have a problem, America — lots of them, in fact. Until we grapple with that, we’ll keep fighting these same pointless battles.

Comments
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  • Jared did you question who America was when cities were occupied and areas were no longer allowed to be policed? Did you question who America was when buildings across the country were looted and burned while being justified by our leaders? I have strong beliefs and see America going in many directions. I don't hate those who don't believe as I do. A free country can't prevent someone from voicing their opinion. A free country must prevent unlawfullness regardless of who is perpetrating the crime. I love my God, I love my family, I love my country and those in it. I don't have to agree with you . We don't have to hate each other. We should call out those who are breaking the law regardless of their political stance or beliefs. That is who I am. Who are you?

    -- Posted by jlclark on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 7:02 AM
  • I think what is missing from your musings is the destruction of truth. There used to be something called "facts" - we used to be able to agree on a set of facts. Too many people enabled the current president who spewed lies and used those lies to incite an insurrection. This week the executive branch tried to destroy the legislative branch by convincing people that his lies about the election were true. His enablers need to be held accountable.

    -- Posted by Rockypenguin on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 1:36 PM
  • The biggest problem with facts is that they weren’t always facts; the public simply accepted whatever was fed to them as fact. Only recently a large number of people have begun questioning the “facts”, and the transition has been quite painful (and will probably become even more so).

    -- Posted by techphcy on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 2:57 PM
  • Wonderful essay, Mr. Jernagan. Sad, but very true!

    -- Posted by LocalPaper on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 5:25 PM
  • her name was ashli babbit 14 year air force veteran 4 tours overseas mother of two and five weeks pregnant . 2 police officers were directly behind her when she was murdered and tried to save her life. i myself am never voting again and will do whatever i can to avoid paying taxes. taxation without representation is what we have now. i have a wife and children and a job. there are millions of us veterans . please don't be so stupid as to take away their reasons to exist.

    -- Posted by davide_norris on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 6:10 PM
  • His name was Brian Sicknick, a 12 year member of the USCP, and also a former National Guard member. And he was doing his job, not committing illegal acts, when he was murdered.

    -- Posted by Koios on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 6:27 PM
  • defending the capital building where both right and left politicians have defrauded and stolen our country from us for generations. they take turns being controlled opposition for the other side while they inch by inch steal and lie. our government is rotten

    -- Posted by davide_norris on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 6:43 PM
  • Ashli Babbit was a veteran; that doesn't make her above the law.

    -- Posted by unbiased on Fri, Jan 8, 2021, at 10:48 PM
  • Great article.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Sat, Jan 9, 2021, at 6:07 AM
  • Has anyone besides me noted that the ability to make comments on BG stories is controlled? For instance, one came make comments on this story, but no one can comment on how our locally elected US Congressional representative voted in the recent confirmation hearings? Just an observation.

    -- Posted by Mrrflint94 on Sat, Jan 9, 2021, at 10:55 AM
  • The comment system is somewhat flawed, but I don’t think it’s done nefariously. It’s just a bad system that doesn’t work very well.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Sat, Jan 9, 2021, at 2:43 PM
  • The BG has a history of censoring comments they do not like because the BG has done it me on various occasions.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Sat, Jan 9, 2021, at 6:18 PM
  • No veteran should ever be charged with a crime. They have earned that right.

    -- Posted by concernedcitizen3 on Sat, Jan 9, 2021, at 6:44 PM
  • *

    RockyPenguin - LOL. You claim to want facts to be shared then you criticize the President when he has presented facts and say he is lying. Then you further castigate him by saying he "incited" an insurrection... while ignoring certain facts that don't fit your narrative. You might want to recheck those "facts" that you claim to hold so dear.

    ERJVH - Officer Sicknick was NOT a casualty of the events at the capital. He had a stroke while at the police station.

    And yes, Ashli Babbitt was MURDERED. The shooter - a police officer from accounts so far - stepped forward to fire when she posed no threat.

    The comment ability isn't flawed, it is very controlled. It is the BG who decides to turn comments on or off. Its literally ticking a box. You would have to ask them why.

    Concernedcitizen3 - that is a very scary thought. (Exclusive lifetime pardons for veterans.) Perhaps you should be reminded that Lee Harvey Oswald was a veteran. So was Charles Whitman (Texas tower shooter). So was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols (accused & convicted of the OKC bombing). And those are just some of the more high profile ones. What about the number of base murders perpetrated by veterans and active duty personnel? Or other lesser crimes committed by veterans. I personally know several veterans that have run afoul of the law.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 12:45 AM
  • *

    DPR - your lies can so easily be disproven. I encourage those reading this thread to look up some of the things DPR has said, you will see he lies and spreads Alt-Rigt propaganda. He is the same kind of idiot to storm the US Capitol and call himself a patriot. You are embarrassing.

    -- Posted by BJCP96 on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 1:34 PM
  • donantioelsabio: you have been censored in the past for profanity. I'm quite sure the paper has the right to do that.

    Concernedcitizen3: DPR laid out a very lucid rebuttal to your proposal of criminal immunity for veterans. You couldn't have been thinking clearly at the time.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 2:25 PM
  • When I read the name "Ben Dover" I see it as "Bend Over".

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 4:05 PM
  • I made a comment one time about a high school senior who was on the track team. I asked if that student could read and write. The BG closed my account for 2 weeks because of my comment.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 4:09 PM
  • *

    DPR- get your facts straight and stop spreading, you know, fake news. Officer Howard Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, died Saturday off duty. But Officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday from injuries sustained when he was beaten by a pro-trump mob during the 1/6/2021 terrorist attack on the Capital.

    -- Posted by BJCP96 on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 6:51 PM
  • Hey Don: I've had that moniker for about 5 years now and you're just now getting the joke! You're not the brightest bulb on the tree, are you?

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Sun, Jan 10, 2021, at 9:09 PM
  • There are many things I have learned thru observation the last 20 years. One is so called free speech. No matter your political stripe, we can clearly see that the only wacked out speech that is fully protected is the leftist wacked out speech.

    As for the BG, social media accounts make the leaders perspectives transparent so we know their leftist lean. That is a good thing and provides context when opinion and perspective articles are written. Actually, that is what opinion pieces are, their opinions. They are consistent in their perspectives.

    As for treatment of the mean comments, I think they are too relaxed in allowing some of the comments that are attacks on the participants rather than intellectual conversations or observations.

    I wish they would enforce per the guidelines, no matter the leanings of the comments. Respect and staying on topic on not are not hard to observe!

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 9:18 AM
  • *

    Beg - If you think the only free speech that is protected by the government is "leftist wacked out speech" then you are unaware of what free speech actually is. You should really brush up on the 1st Amendment before making comments like that. The government 100% does not prohibit free speech from either side, left or right.

    The BG, twitter, parler, etc... ARE NOT the government. They can 100% limit what is / isn't said on their platform. And furthermore "inciting violence" (as we saw last week on Social Media by the domestic terrorist's) is not protected under free speech. Hence you can't shout bomb in an airport and expect the government to not prosecute you.

    But if you would like to present facts or instances of the "Government" limiting free speech from the "Right" as you claim I would love to see them. I'm not opposed to learning new things.

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 11:13 AM
  • you really missed the point. In other words, liberal theologists are not against hate speech, just hate speech they don't agree with.

    Leftist politicians call for social media bans on hate speech this disagree with, not hate speech they agree with.

    Legally, you are correct. Practically, my perspective is different than yours. Open to new learning? Interesting.

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 1:09 PM
  • RSOTS

    Note I never mentioned the government. Once again, as it applies to your reading of my posts and the response, it is obvious I did a poor job of communicating.

    You thought I was referring to government which I never mentioned and didn't understand what I was addressing.

    I will take the blame for such poor communication.

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 1:14 PM
  • *

    Beg - I can only reply to what you said, not what you thought. You said the only free speech that is "fully protected" is the leftist wacked out speech. Now seeing that the government is the only entity that "protects" free speech I'm not sure who you are implying protects left speech but doesn't protect right speech.

    If you want to say that politicians / talking heads attack the other sides speech I can 100% agree with that. However if you think it's just left leaning politicians / talking heads that do this and that right leaning don't, well then you are just adapting your views to what you want to see and not what is reality.

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 1:31 PM
  • *

    BJCP - You can untwist your red knickers... I will retract what I said about Officer Sicknick's manner of death.

    It is apparently being reported that his injuries were the result of an assault during the incident at the Capitol.

    I posted what I knew about it at the time.

    Do you have a record of everything I have written? I could really use it... it would make a great book.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Mon, Jan 11, 2021, at 11:06 PM
  • Sorry I am just reading this now, but nice job and good for you, Jared! I'm sure this wasn't easy to write and publish. I learned in the last few years that simply presenting historical facts about America in a classroom was likely to be contentious in some way. Seems like everything is these days. As Ray Davies said, "I hope tomorrow you'll (we'll) find better things."

    Which reminds me, I must beg to differ with you about "What's So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding." The Elvis version is scorching - just like responses to what is happening in our country now should be. I love that he made a plea for peace as powerful as a punk song. "What's so funny, punk? Got a problem with Peace?" Back then (Rock Against Racism Days in England) the battle was on. We could use that same passion and rage against injustice here now. The young poet at the Inauguration came pretty close...

    Thanks again.

    -- Posted by Glenn Gass on Sun, Jan 24, 2021, at 7:15 PM
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