Partha Chakraborty is an Indian-born immigrant; a naturalized US Citizen since 2018. Educated in India and at Cornell University, Partha is currently an entrepreneur in water technologies, Blockchain, and wealth management in the US and in India. The views expressed are his own.
Imagine yourself in a parallel universe. It is Jan 06, 2021, and you are soaking in a hot tub looking over the hillsides, your beloved in your arms and your fingers gently caressing the stems of a flute containing your favorite poison. Against the dim lights glow the pixels on your muted screen, and a cast of characters file past, some are almost caricatures of humanity, others are armed with vengeance and braying for human sacrifice. Your eyes fog as the three-hours plus-long dystopian dance of the wolves drags on, till you realize this is no dream and the Barbarians are at the Capitol Gates.
It has been a year since that epiphany – that it can happen even here.
It did happen even here. There was a noose hanging outside, there were marauders were braying for blood going room to room to find out targets they already had in mind, leafing through documents, destroying People’s House wantonly, crushing and stomping on vastly outnumbered, and pathetically unprepared, security apparatus scurrying hordes away to safe harbor somewhere deep inside, including the sitting Vice President. In the one year it also became apparent that it was no flash mob, stages of the insurrection were planned, inflamed and monitored, and ultimately called off, just as you’ll command an infantry.
In the one year that passed since, we have learned, or chose not to, many things.
One year from that dreadful day, it is obvious that the masterminds knew what they were doing – installing a ruler by the threat of violence in the world’s oldest democracy negating the people’s verdict expressed in a reasonably well functioning election – a coup in every definition. It did not matter to them that doing so betrays the very essence of America, a nation of laws born in opposition to despotic rulers, a constitution for the people and by the people, an identity of freedom-loving people who are not used to seeing their desires trampled upon, exceptionalism born of these desires despite original sins and continued struggles to reach a state of more perfect Union. None of these high ideals juxtapose with the montage we saw that day.
We learned that edict came from the very top, from the then sitting President. It was far more than cavorting with a crowd, it was more than lobbing a few verbal grenades – he was in command of the chaos well enough for many to reach out to him to have it shut down. For well over three hours, he did not; he yielded only when it was apparent that the plot to topple an elected government had failed. We learned of shameless chicanery of people who vouched for innocence, at worst impulsive insanity, of the perpetrators while they reached out to the master and commander to bring a stop to the violence. We learned of the cowardice, sycophancy even, of lawmakers who tried to topple a legitimate (to-be) government barely minutes after being rescued to the warrens of a safe-space. We learned of mind-boggling delusion, self-aggrandizement and lampooning of laws that motivated “Stop the Steal” fraudsters that continue to this day.
Ironic how some of these same characters now feign lack of motive or means to incite violence when faced with the burden of evidence.
Some of us did not learn anything of import from these events. To them, the day was a walk in the park – nee corridors within the Capitol. To them the threat of being “primaried out” means more than oaths of offices they hold. A single caustic tweet from the ordained monarch will cause them enough heartburn that decade’ record of statesmanship will not cure. For them hypocrisy and sycophancy are badges of honor, keys to offices of prestige, intoxicated with trappings of power as they are – they will prostrate the entire stretch between the Atlantic and the Intercoastal at Mar-a-Lago. They see a second coming of the prophet in a man known to violate every doctrine of penance, restraint, righteousness, empathy, and piety every chance he gets.
They are called the Republicans. If they learned anything, almost to the last person, they learned to genuflect lower and sink deeper into abject depravity when it comes to standing up, and be counted, in opposition.
Criticize as much as you want to, and I have done that enough on these pages, Democrats have still maintained a middle ground a year into Biden presidency. Fringe voices of “Defund the Police” or those calling for altering composition of the Supreme Court are muted, if not silenced completely, as are impulses to give every kid a candy when they really need are sour grapes. Democrats are hobbled by a razor thin margin0 and they are being circumspect, even if it is forced. Republicans, on the other hand, have clung on to their one god of infamy and their guns of indignation for affronts imagined. They, by an overwhelming majority, still believe the lie that 2020 elections were stolen and they aver the myth that June 06, 2021 was not a big deal.
For anybody who grew up outside of this country, lessons from that day are too raw to let go. We have seen, or heard of, similar things in lands we used to call home. Power does flow from the barrels of the gun in many places, we came here because, among others, we knew it is different here. Autocrat rulers do refuse to acknowledge legitimate election results elsewhere. We know a coup when we see the usurpation of powers of representation by entities other than the electorate. We personally recognize slavery to dynasties when high unelected offices go exclusively to few linked by accidents of birth.
We just thought it could not happen here, in the United States of America. Jan 06, 2021, and the months since have shown us that it is possible, that it almost did happen, and that efforts are afoot to make it happen again. As for me personally, last year again vindicated why I am a Democrat despite everything.
I will never choose a lie before liberty, nor will I fall for the pursuit of a myth so patently false. Why would anyone?