When Luke Mogelson attended President Donald Trump’s speech on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C., on January 6th, he was prepared for the possibility that violence might erupt that day.
Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and a contributing writer at The New Yorker, had spent the previous ten months reporting on the radical fringe of Trump supporters, from anti-lockdown militias to fascist groups such as the Proud Boys.
After Trump’s incendiary speech, Mogelson followed the President’s supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone’s camera as a reporter’s notebook. What follows is a video that includes some of that raw footage.
If I were a doctor making a prognosis on how to heal the wounds of Lady Liberty lying in her hospital bed, my diagnosis for treatment would be the cooking a meal and inviting all her friends who are having trouble agreeing on what is American to the same table.
Perhaps her ailments are psychosomatic. A depression induced disease that is causing pain through her entire body.
A man told me yesterday this country lacked spirituality and it’s why we have so many problems. I assume that by spirituality he means the Christian version of spirituality. To that end, that leaves me out. And also Tina, because her version of spirituality is not Christian.
I’ve heard that argument more often than not. I once agreed and boldly told others the same thing. But not anymore.
That means to heal, I must change. Not him. So we are at an impasse.
He told me this as I gave him another meatball in pasta sauce that I made. If we must find a way to agree, I would argue that the spirituality of a shared dinner is a holy sacrament and a healer of many wounds.
I find spirituality in a shared concert experience. I find spirituality when my dad and I fix something in my house together. I find a spirituality in holding Tina’s hand.
I believe that excellence over religious experience is a better way of life. But if I must be forced to think the Christian version of spirituality, of prayer and worship to God, that means I need to reform my entire view set.
I don’t want Christians to stop being Christian. I am not asking anyone to agree with my view that it’s not the best way for me. It is the best way for so many. I would love a form of acceptance and validation. But that’s not necessary for me any more.
Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.”
Well—one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”
I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit- se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day.
Tina and I are in our investment property in North Carolina for some of the winter. We’ll be here hopefully till the end of February. But we will be traveling a bit for work.
Yesterday, we were running errands. We made a few stops at Target, Home Depot, Walmart and Lidl.
We’ve become a little rattled by the anti-mask brigades, but there isn’t a strong group of voices that stands up to these unAmerican, inconsiderate and anti-do unto your neighbor shit heads.
Yesterday I turned a corner at Target and stared right into the face of a young, bearded redneck basically wearing confederate-era-esque clothing. He had a knife in a leather pouch on his belt, cowboy boots, military style hat, plaid shirt and brown dungarees.
I shook my head at him as we passed each other.
Everywhere we go, we see this dimbulbs wearing the plastic face guards. And the number of covidiots wearing their masks down under their noses is stupefying.
Walmart Superstores should change their name to Walmart Super Spreaders. If there’s a limit on the amount of people in Walmart, you wouldn’t know it. Tina had to return something and if it weren’t for that, I refuse to step into another Walmart. Holy Crap.
Seeing a person with their face uncovered is growing on me in a cynical way. But yesterday, something shook me to my core and I’ll forever be affected by it.
We were walking into Home Depot. In front of us was a family of three, a dad, mom and young daughter. Maybe 3 or 4 years old. The mom and daughter were wearing masks. But the dad wasn’t. “That dude’s going to walk in to Home Depot without a mask. What a dick,” I said to Tina.
Between the parking lot and the greeter inside, I got distracted. We delightfully how-dee-dood the elderly woman greeting us. Then I looked up again to glare at the back of the guy who I thought wasn’t wearing a mask. In an instant, I saw that he had one on. I could see the black elastic going behind his ears. I felt a rush of relief and guilt that I had read this man wrong. I was about to tell Tina I screwed up.
At that very moment, he turned his head around to look at his daughter, and the design of his mask made me gasp for air and cover my mouth. It was a confederate flag. I had to steady my weight on Tina’s shoulder.
I raced from relief, guilt and shame for reading him wrong to a deep-seated anger and shock.
Having not seen what I saw, Tina thought something was wrong with my health. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
When I told her to look at the dude I pointed out in the parking lot, she said, “Oh, I thought you were physically ill.” As if seeing a man wearing a Confederate flag mask isn’t sickening enough.
She agreed that it was awful.
White supremacy. It is all around us here. It’s not good ol’ boy southern pride. This should be as shocking as the January 6 terrorist attack on our Capitol.
Any person of color who saw that should be deeply disturbed. And yet it seemed like just another day in openly racist Home Depot, which is the largest gathering of anti-American maskers I’ve ever seen.
But this guy’s logic is likely, “If they’re going to force me to wear a mask, I’m going to make sure it says, ‘Fuck you.'”
I will forever be angry that I didn’t say something to him, like, “Why would you wear something that signifies loss and division? This is the United States. Get that hateful shit off your face.”
But Tina would divorce me if I got into a fight at a Home Depot with a trashy redneck.
I used strong language in this writing, because I’m angry. I’m angry we live in a culture that allows this level of hate and division. Is it the minority? Maybe. But the minority seems to be a lot more gutsy lately.
Gee whiz. I wonder why.
If you’re wondering why the angry mob terrorized Capitol Hill on Wednesday, look no further than a group of anti-Americans who can’t accept the failure — not of the 2020 election — but of the loss of the Civil War. That pain agonizes a lot of this country. More than we know apparently.
Click on the tweet above to read Terry Bouton’s description of events from January 6.
He and his wife were at the protest to observe and take photos. The whole thing is worth a read, but this part shocked me:
“This insurrection wasn’t just redneck white supremacists and QAnon kooks. The people participating in, espousing, or cheering the violence cut across the different factions of the Republican Party and those factions were working in unison. Preppy looking “country club Republicans,” well-dressed social conservatives, and white Evangelicals in Jesus caps were standing shoulder to shoulder with QAnon cultists, Second Amendment cosplay commandos, and doughy, hardcore white nationalists.We eavesdropped on conversations for hours and no one expressed the slightest concern about the large number of white supremacists and para-military spewing violent rhetoric. Even the man in the “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt wasn’t beyond the pale. They were all “patriots.”
The blame and pointing fingers at social media for aiding and abetting January 6’s international embarrassment led by none only than the President of the United States himself is quite the picture portrait of General Master of the Obvious.
If you’re like me, you could literally watch in horror as the events unfolded. You watched the president incite his base into a frenzy, told them to march to the capitol, and then watch in horror as the Vice President was rushed out off the senate floor as the televised version of the reality show called Dickhead in the White House resumed its marathon season.
My Facebook friends were in awe, some disgusted by the rioters, others cheering them on as Patriots. One second cousin of mine, a young teen or early twenty something wrote: “honestly so disappointed in trump supporters. the same people that said blue lives matter are fighting cops. y’all swore riots were a democrat thing, and you wouldn’t riot if trump lost, but you’re causing so much violence now . this isn’t okay at all. grow up. he lost.”
In the comments, other family members, including her own fucking grandmother, my aunt, admonished her for incorrectly identifying these terrorists as Trump supporters. One played that, “I have a friend who is there” card and that they were actually Antifa.
As if Antifa would storm the Capitol to protest the election that their candidate won, risking their lives and to get arrested, even if it was to disrupt the vote to appear like Trumpettes. You gotta be the dumbest bag-a-dicks to believe that bullshit.
It’s scary that we live among a swath of people who are not basing their belief systems in reality.
In a moment of anomaly, I had the pleasure of listening to my dad on a phone call with a friend. My dad is one of the most conservative men I know. He had to talk his friend, another conservative man off the ledge because the certification of the electoral college meant there was not any last-ditch effort left to get Trump back in. “Just wait till 2022. Then we’ll see the pendulum swing back our way,” he calmly told his friend. He also said that the changes that Biden is going to destroy America is simply media frenzy and is not true.
But Facebook, Twitter, Parler, et al, they are partially responsible for what happened on Wednesday. And while they are making some strides to curb the crazy (eg removing Trump’s bully pulpit), they have so far to go. This morning I read a series of violence inciting Parler posts to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence, and Chuck Schumer.
On the Covid front, they are losing the battle. We need a unified populace to fight the pandemic, but social media outlets are giving credence to conspiracy theories that are dangerous and wholly stupid.
Take for example my friend Julie Ferwerda. She’s a public figure, so I can name her and link to her. She wrote a book called Raising Hell, which attempts to explain – verbosely and not very convincingly – that Hell doesn’t exist. It’s not a mystery that it doesn’t. It’s just that her argument is weak. It’s a word salad of meandering stream of conscience.
Since she wrote that book, she became a nurse, moved to Puerto Rico, and completely lost all sense of her own skepticism. She actively bolsters claims that are demonstrably false regarding the virus, and uses her platform and her sway as a healthcare professional to lead her followers into the valley of the shadow of death.
In a recent post, she wrote:
“I got cornered by a doctor yesterday for stating my opinions on the vax he was trying to coax all the nurses into getting. The irony is that he accused me of putting patients health in danger by influencing nurses. While at the same time, all the doctors here have ignored my persistent pleas to look at the evidence for the effective treatment that has gained ground all over the world by expert MDs for said virus. I’m just a nurse after all. Reminds me of the old days when I got cornered by my pastor for questioning the spiritual and psychological dangers of taking the hell vax. I hadn’t been to seminary after all. “
The evidence she quotes on her page is from a conspiracy theorist nutbag named Sayer Ji. Sayer Ji runs a website called GreenMedInfo that grifts its readers with misinformation. To what end? To sell quack “natural” medicines that are one of the most lucrative businesses ever. The whole idea is that Big Pharma is bad, which I agree with entirely. Our health system is out of control. And my own family wants to take away my healthcare through the Marketplace, because their “conservative values” prescribes that the abolish Obamacare.
The vitamin and supplant industries are money grubbing assholes, too. Natural Medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements are from God, and therefore better. But Ji has convinced his burgeoning followers that his Bachelors degree in Philosophy is enough eduction to give nurses and other relatively smart people that the doctors are all wrong and vitamins and natural solutions are better.
GreenMedInfo is one of those sites that says vaccines cause Autism (they don’t) and that one’s diet is all one needs to stay healthy. While there’s some truth to it, there’s also a shitload of evidence to the contrary. Some of the most healthy people die or suffer frequently from the very things that one would think wouldn’t affect them.
One of the most standout moments in Julie’s post is this: “Reminds me of the old days when I got cornered by my pastor for questioning the spiritual and psychological dangers of taking the hell vax. I hadn’t been to seminary after all.”
Getting cornered for peddling “no hell” and fighting science with batshittery are two completely different ball games.
No hell. Sure. It’s made up. You can follow its evolution through time. You can see where the idea came from, and see that the Bible’s version of it was generally misunderstood and the idea shaped from years of theological and political influence to control and scare gullible people.
Science on the other hand, while constantly evolving, admitting wrong, is based on mountains of physical evidence.
While eating well vs eating crap is definitely a well-founded set of ideas, having literally NO proof that vitamins do a damned thing entirely is not for grabs.
Imagine. Telling a doctorate of English that their understanding of the English language is flawed, because you were taught that “Irregardless” was a word by your 1st grade math teacher.
Or, true story, that the words “Pen” “Pin” “When” and “Win” were all words that rhymed. Growing up in the south, yeah, they rhyme in our dialect. But not in real life. Dummies.
Julie Ferwerda is convinced that her “research” using a website run by a Philosophy major with no science background, but only a penchant for peddling conspiracies and for bolstering his sales of nutritional supplements is better suited that doctors for health advice and practice.
In turn, Julie steps up on her social media soapbox, and amplifies those lies, to the nuts who fall for any old thing as long as it feeds their pursuit of “their truth.” Then they complain that they are being censored for spewing the truth. “Whoa is me! I have the answers. I got them from a college philosophy major. Why don’t they listen to me?!!!”
What truth? A website that mediabiasfactcheck writes: “Overall, we rate GreenMedInfo a quackery level pseudoscience website based on claims not supported by science.“
If Julie Ferwerda, or any number of the dim bulbs who like her and comment on her updates, spent a good two seconds searching their resources with an iota of 2nd grade research skills, they’d find that their resources are failed attempts at bad science, if that. They cannot be trusted.
A self-described skeptic falling for such ideas is a head scratcher. Anyone that writes, “My research is from the right source, and that’s why it’s getting censored …” is a danger to society.
I’m no doctor but if she’s being cornered by doctors for peddling conspiracy theories, surely the hospital where she works should fire her.
I linked to her Facebook above so you could read for yourself. She doesn’t want to hear your dissent. I’ve tried. You could show her a picture of her house burning down and she would tell you, “You’re lying.”
You could show her all the ways her information is demonstrably false, she’d be like, “My sources are not fake.”
Just because you wrote a book denouncing your long-held belief in hell, doesn’t make you a skeptic. Skepticism is an act of defiance, not one of gullibility.
“Modern scientific research is too complex for the average person to correctly interpret its findings and their implications. And it’s not even a “scientists” versus “non-scientists” dichotomy. I would have great difficulty assessing the quality of a paper in physiology, and my degree is in molecular biology which is not that dissimilar. A paper in physics, meanwhile, might as well be written in another language.
“A guy who majored in philosophy simply is not up to the task. Especially when he has a clear agenda.”
In a race between a bachelor of philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, who would you want on your team? Who would you cite as having reputable knowledge?
My vote is for the science advocate. Not the quack.
How many will see this and ignore it? First-hand information from the horse’s mouth. A man living on the brink of intubation. A man who now regrets falling for the politically-driven nonsense that somehow is misrepresented by countless science-denying folks.
The guy in the video makes a perfect case for masks. There’s a reason why health industry folks of all types aren’t getting sick like the normal populace: PPE. Masks. Doctors, nurses, hospital staff have used them for eons.
Fuck. It’s so frustrating. And stories like this are few and far between because we don’t want to see the truth. We don’t want to hear the truth about this “flu.”
Over on the Faceplantbook, I have a friend named Joe. Joe is an admin for a Facebook page called “Aliens Anonymous.”
The page’s modus operandi: “This is more than a group for UFOs. This is a group for the truth of the past, present and future. There is so much we still don’t know, and so much truth that needs to be shared. The truth is out there.”
The small group of Alienites proselytize the message that alien life exists. The government knows it. A small cabal of insiders knows about it. The proof comes in the form of blurry pictures and “eyewitness” testimony from people who claim they worked for the government; people like Phil Schneiderwho claimed to work for the government for 17 years building infrastructure underground that housed clandestine operations connected by a network of underground railroads circumnavigating the visible, above ground parts of the United States.