If Trump Isn’t Convicted

If the former president is not convicted at the end of the impeachment trial…do we get to look forward to an attempted coup every fourth January from here on out? “Oh, that’s right! It’s Inauguration January! Don’t forget your lunch and gas mask and bullet proof vest, dear. Have a good day at work. I’ll put up the barbed wire while you’re gone.

A Year and a Day

On the nineteenth of January my father died
And so began the roller coaster ride
that was 2020 and 20 days –
a year we struggled to find our way.

At first there were empty streets and quiet weeks
of smogless skies and distant peaks
I found peace in the stillness – peace in the calm
That time alone was a much-needed balm.

But after – a montage of images flashes
now through my mind –
much of it dark, some of it kind –
exploding up, crashing down,
fire and rage all around
Our nation boils and seethes
and a Black man gasps, “I can’t breathe”

Veterans protect fathers with leaf blowers
who protect the mothers who protect our Black sons
and daughters from tasers and guns.
Ahmaud, Breonna, and George  – say their names
Black Lives Matter – our nation sits in shame
as bigots and bullies scramble to shift the blame –
and settle on “Karen” (which is really lame).

And a just woman with a doily collar
and a selfish man who keeps  up the holler
and lie of “Stop the steal”
and refuses to let the nation heal –
our neighbors reel and keel in their zeal –
fed rumors and news that are not real.

Dye runs down a lawyer’s face
a narcissist screams, “Show your strength!”
NAZI and Civil War flags fly in our streets
D.C. police pummeled and beat.
Racism and bullying and bigotry and hate,
caskets of COVID victims, rioters climb gates
Long lines for vaccinations, as people wait.

In the end the heroes win – as heroes always do –
they wear masks to protect each other – me and you –
they step up and vote and stop the coup –
they stand up for Breonna and Ahmoud and George –
and in the fiery fire a stronger land is forged.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

We Need to Acknowledge What Happened Last Week

I have friends questioning why congress is taking on Trump right now. Congress should be trying to take care of America and not wasting time with Trump, these friends say. And here’s my response to that:

Last week legislators were running for their lives, under siege for hours from pro-Trump extremists who’d been incited by Trump to storm the capitol building. Rioters were calling for the execution of Pence. A noose was displayed on the capitol grounds. Zip ties were brought. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that these same legislators – from both parties – now believe Trump should face consequences for his insurrection.

What he did – and continues to do – creating divisiveness, distrust in our democratic process, sowing hatred – the fire he’s created and continues to feed – IS the biggest problem our country faces right now. Our nation cannot continue on until the mess Trump has created is addressed, acknowledged, and dealt with.
-Karen Molenaaar Terrell

Glimmers of Hope

I’m searching for glimmers of hope these days – those “thousand points of light” a former president was always talking about. And I’m seeing some! I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the glimmers I’ve seen…

Patriots’ Bill Belichick rejects Trump’s Congressional Medal of Freedom
Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman hailed as a hero
Transcript of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s powerful speech
Rep. Andy Kim cleaning up at midnight after the riots
Former Army Ranger Rep. Jason Crow comforts colleague and helps others put on gas masks
James Corden gives us hope
Lawmakers returned from their hours under siege to certify Joe Biden as the next president

“…Now, with the past few days, friends from all over the world have been calling and calling and calling me. Calling me distraught and worried about us as a nation. One woman was in tears about America, wonderful tears of idealism about what America should be. Those tears should remind us of what America means to the world. Now I’ve told everyone who has called that, as heartbreaking as all this is, America will come back from these dark days and shine our light once again…”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
-Bill Belichick

“… I think if there is one thing that we can have after the last month in this country, it’s hope. You know, as an outsider growing up in England, I used to look to America as this beacon of light and possibility. A place where anything can happen, a place where you’d be lucky to work. A place where many people that I knew used to fantasize about living here. A place that gives an individual more opportunity than they would get elsewhere but cares for their fellow man. Today people across the world would have looked at these pictures from Washington and wondered, ‘what on earth has happened to this great country?’ But I truly believe, and make no mistake, that they know that the America that they admire still exists. They know that the America that so many aspire to will be back. It’s just been hijacked by a lunatic and his crazy army for the last four years…

“…on those same steps, where that mob fought and pushed past police, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the president of the United States.”
-James Corden

“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
-Anne Frank

“Progress is the law of God…”
-Mary Baker Eddy

If You Think…

If you think intimidation, threats, and violence are acceptable ways to run a democracy, you are not a patriot; You are a bully. If you think it’s alright to overturn an election that has been proven to be legitimate over and over and over again – by the courts, by security experts, and by state election officials of both parties – then you are not a patriot; You are a loser with tunnel vision. And if you think it’s acceptable to encourage and incite violence to force your will on a nation of people who voted you out of office, you are not a a patriot; You are a traitor to your country.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Patriot or Bully?

No, it is not alright to grab your guns and threaten the lives of election officials who are doing their jobs. If you think it’s okay to use violence to put your candidate in the White House – if you think it’s alright to start a Civil War because your candidate lost – if you think it’s fine to go against the votes and wishes of the majority of your fellow citizens – then you are NOT a patriot. You are a bully. I have no respect for bullies.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

We Will Always Share This Bond

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves
in the last four years, haven’t we?
We’ve learned what we’re made of,
what needed to be fixed, what’s
important to us, and what we love.
We came together, worked shoulder-
to-shoulder, side by side,
bolstering each other up,
sharing inspiration, sharing the ride,
sharing a good laugh now and then,
letting Love guide.
We’re maybe not looking our best –
we’re battle-weary, battered, bedraggled –
but we’re not beaten.
And look at all we’ve done together!
We will always share this bond, my friend.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen, Did You Watch the Debate?

Friend: Karen, did you watch the debate?

Karen: Every f***ing minute of it.

Friend: What did you think?

Karen: “Stand back and stand by”?!! If 40% of my fellow citizens are fine with that then we are in real trouble here.

Friend: No, he just misspoke.

Karen: If he misspoke then he needs to clarify that. He needs to very clearly say, “I denounce the Proud Boys. I denounce white supremacists. White supremacy has no place in our nation.” And he needs to say this without having his fingers crossed behind his back and without a wink-wink nudge-nudge. He has had two days now to denounce the Proud Boys and he has not done this. I think we can assume he’s not going to.

Friend: But did you notice Biden didn’t answer any questions?

Karen: No crap! Trump kept interrupting him!!!

Friend: Well, Biden should be able to handle that kind of pressure if he’s going to be president.

Karen: Biden is not a pre-school teacher. He shouldn’t be expected to placate toddlers having tantrums. Presidents move on the world stage – dealing with other international leaders who are grown-ups – dealing with pre-schoolers having tantrums is not Biden’s area of expertise, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(I wish I’d taken a photo of the faces of the PBS commentators at the end of the debate to paste here. They looked like they’d just been through a battle – eyes wide, faces drawn. I felt tremendous sympathy for them and empathy with them.)

Okay. Here Goes…

Reply to a friend who tagged me in a comment –

I’m guessing that any dialogue we have about this is just going to be frustrating and futile for both of us. I love you – but I do not agree with your assessment of Mr. Trump’s abilities to lead this country. If you’re really interested, here is my response –

Yes, I’m glad Trump used 35 million in Justice Department grants to help aid human trafficking victims – but I think we need to be clear that this wasn’t his personal money – this was actually OUR money – as tax payers – that he used for this. (As we don’t know if Trump has ever paid taxes because he refuses to show us his tax returns – it might be assumed that he, personally, contributed NOTHING to helping these victims.) You mentioned Bill Clinton – I did not vote for Bill Clinton the second time he ran for president because he struck me as dishonest (I voted for Ralph Nader). Trump has shown me he is dishonest, also – time and again his actions and words have proven this.

Mr. Trump could care less about protecting women – he is himself a sex predator. He has bragged about entering the rooms of teenage beauty contestants as they dress. He has bragged about “grabbing pussy.” He has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by dozens of women – and no, there is no excuse for any of this. I wonder if all those who shrug Trump’s behavior off as “locker room” antics would be shrugging it off if Mr. Trump were Black. If a Black man had bragged about “grabbing pussy” and entering the rooms of teenage beauty contestants – if a Black man had been accused of sexual harassment by dozens of women – would it be shrugged off?

How anyone who is against sex trafficking can support Mr. Trump is beyond my understanding. Mr. Trump is not an honorable man. If he has some secret to ending sex trafficking then he should have let us all know about it long ago so the sex trafficking would end. You have been totally focused on this one thing – sex trafficking – for months now. And sex trafficking is evil – of course! – but what about the children separated from their mothers and still locked in cages?! What about Mr. Trump’s mocking of the disabled?! What about the disrespect he’s shown to our veterans?! What about the money he stole from his charity to use for himself?! What about the way he sent in military police to push aside peaceful protesters so he could hold a Bible in front of a church that didn’t want him there?!

Mr. Trump is not worthy to lead this nation.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell