Well, the word sedition is out, even the topic of an article in the Saturday New York Times. Sedition is a very big, very serious word. The last time it was actively applied in America was in 1918, when Emma Goldman, an avowed anarchist, was deported. She was fortunate to only be kicked out of the country; on the books, sedition was punishable by death.
I don’t consider myself a patriot. I think there’s a lot about America that needs fixin’. But I don’t believe what happened at the Capitol Wednesday was right, or the way to inspire the kind of changes we need. It was insurrection, and it was sedition. It was wrong in every way and I hope the insurrectionists are seriously and appropriately punished.
The first thing I’d change in this country is the poor planning. If there is any planning at all. We were unprepared for COVID-19, we were unprepared for distributing the vaccination, and we – the government – are clueless as to how to control or plan into the future for the pandemic. But maybe we just need new leadership.
Similarly, there was no planning for the insurrection and sedition on us – all of US – in Washington on Wednesday. It absolutely broke my heart to see those beasts crawling all over the Capitol building, breaking things, hurting people, screaming like the untamed animals they were. There was no anticipating something like this might occur, and therefore no planning for it. To the point that I have wondered if it was another Pearl Harbor ploy. December 7, 1941, the Japanese were allowed to attack our naval base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, so as to arouse the ire of the American public and pave the way for Congress to declare war on Japan.
And what about Trump? There he was, gathering the goons for weeks, months, encouraging them to show up on January 6th, but nobody in government took heed. Or did they? The cretins walked right in the front door. Trump, that night, should have been escorted out the front door of the White House, under arrest and in handcuffs. Someday we may look back, scratch our heads and ask ourselves, “Why did we allow this megalomaniacal, vengeful, sociopath to run our country into the ground for four years?”
But none of this is really news to me, I’m sorry to say. McCarthy. Nixon. Watergate. Kent State. 9/11. Our union is far from perfect, but it is of note that this attack was from within.
Fiction-writers have warned us, back in the 1930s and again in the ‘60s, about the dangers of out-of-control presidents. I read and wrote about these novels warning of an out-of-control president, It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, and Night at Camp David by Fletcher Knebel. Trump was on my radar from the very start. I just didn’t know how far he would go and how bad it would get. It’s sort of like the guy who gets his hand cut off, but thinks he’s lucky he didn’t lose his entire arm.
I imagine hundreds of nonfiction books have been written warning us about out-of-control leaders, both those abroad and our own. But what about other works of fiction? I took on this mantle in my Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers trilogy when I introduced one of Nate’s troop-friends, Tim Rosencrantz, a self-styled anarchist and communist.
In Chapter 11 of Wild Blue Yonder, entitled “Sedition,” Tim is nearly caught while reading to the assembled troops from Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.” He sends Nate a letter in volume two, Madrone, then reappears in volume three, Anarchy, as Nate’s nemesis: he has joined an underground movement and is intent on bombing the Bank of America. The guy is so intelligent, so articulate, such an avowed anarchist. I really can’t imagine how I was able to imagine him so well. I’m a lot more like Nate than Tim. At least that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Next week in My Brain on Grape-Nuts: Another episode in “Lucinda’s Trials” and in two weeks, my postponed review of Michael Connelly’s audiobook, “Fair Warning.”