Back in April 1979, the Doobie Brothers had a big hit with “What a Fool Believes.” Let me get my ukulele and I’ll sing you the chorus.
“But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away. What seems to be is always better than nothing. There’s nothing at all.”
And so our nation experienced an event on the visceral scale of a self-inflicted 9/11 last week.
It seems that a largish segment of our fellow Americans had nothing less than a mass psychotic break after listening to a deeply flawed man’s lies for four years.
There was never any widespread election fraud. Thanks to the system of checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution, the courts decide on issues when our legislative and executive branches are at a stalemate. Joe Biden won the Presidency fair and square, according to some 50 courts.
Those first paragraphs are all that survive from the third version of this week’s column. I kept writing and then deleting. As a result, this version is what you will be reading later this week because I have a deadline to make.
The other versions were the moral equivalents of Molotov cocktails and I just can’t go there. Suffice it to say that I’m still walking around in a smoldering rage over idiots assaulting the U.S. Capitol building, sometimes called a bit too hopefully, The People’s House.
What led up to this revolting event was nothing short of (a) an insurrection fomented by a sitting President of the United States of America and (b) a failure of leadership across the board.
What I am about to say has absolutely nothing to do with partisan politics. If anything, I am what has been called “a radical moderate.” A plague on both your houses.
Ladies and gentlemen of the state and national legislatures, you like to present yourselves as being the adults in the room. Being an adult means you sometimes have to say “No” and then make it stick.
Fail. Fail. Massive fail.
I will not name names, but I know that this little column circulates far beyond the boundaries of Armstrong and Clarion counties in Pennsylvania. I actually know and remember a number of the Republican leaders from Centre County in the state House back in the day, and I want to know who stole those brains they used to have.
Closer to home, I am extremely disappointed in my area’s state and national elected leaders, to put it mildly. We must remain civil because we must still work together sometimes. Suffice it to say, though, that trust and respect are difficult to regain once lost.
I am disappointed and heartsick that you have allowed this to happen. Yes, we the constituents are responsible for our own happiness, but sometimes we need a little direction. Some of you were quite willing to lead a number of our neighbors down the wrong path.
You reached for the lowest in people while switching off your collective common sense and following a madman. Yes, madman.
Hey, you, all you people over on the other side of the aisle, stop smiling. It’s your turn.
Now that the tear gas has dissipated from the halls of Congress, people are wondering what to do with the President’s political carcass. Impeachment, resignation and invocation of the 25th Amendment are all on the table. Fair enough, but stop there.
Ladies and gentlemen of the legislatures, you are going to need to say “No” in the coming weeks. Some of the more radical members of your party are talking about a wholesale purge of the other side’s members. Turnabout has never been fair play, and it is quite likely to touch off banana republic-type civil unrest.
Stop. Just stop the insanity and say, “No, this is not how Americans behave because we are a nation of laws.”
In the weeks and months ahead, I call on our leaders to do their job — good governance. We need you to stay rational because some of us won’t.
Rather than holding town halls that whip the more susceptible into a frenzy, it would be better to add remedial Civics 101 classes for adults. Add in discussion groups about what the entire Constitution says. Enlist the services of a good constitutional lawyer rather than cherry-picking what you think your constituents want to hear.
See? I just provided some eminently doable solutions rather than administering a wholesale spanking.
This is called adulting. Fools do something else.
[Susan Kerr is a semi-retired freelance writer living in her hometown of New Bethlehem. Previously, she was the managing editor of a regional-interest magazine and a business journal in State College.]