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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 1/20/21

Happy Inauguration Day!


IN MEMORY


First, I’d like to pause to recognize the devastation of COVID as we cross the 400,000 death mark (and are headed toward 500,000 by the end of February). Our response has been among the worst in the developed world. COVID has now passed the Second World War in American dead from a single event. While there is no comparison for the brutality and inhumanity of that war and the millions who died, this landmark is worth noting. And while not all deaths could have been prevented, a lot of them could have been.


Wars are devastating, violent, and merciless events leading to deaths inflicted by people on other people. COVID is a scourge of a different kind—one that has beenexacerbated by unpreparedness, duplicity, mis-messaging, false messaging and misdirection by our leadership. The COVID-19 epidemic now trails only the 1918 Flu Epidemic, the AIDS epidemic and the Civil War as the most devastating event in U.S. history.


THE TIME HAS ARRIVED


Much of the conversation in the months leading to the election was about the monster that was Trump. Much of the conversation between the election and the December certification of electoral votes by the states was propelled by the myriad recounts and over 60 lawsuits, crazy conspiracy theories about election manipulation and widespread fraud that was unproven. Then the news was eaten-up by claims that the United States Congress, in an act of cynicism, was to overturn the legitimate vote of the people during their January 6 ministerial acceptance of the State certifications of electoral votes.


January 6th will, of course, live in infamy. Through the weekend the news was all about the repercussions to that presidentially sanctioned attack on our institutions of democracy. And then the following week was a time for us all to bone-up on the 25th amendment and the House’s attempt to impeach (again) with solid justification, this worst of all presidents. All the while, we have been dealing with the ham-handed federal response to COVID and the lack of direction to the states, while watching the train-wreck as the delivery of vaccine will be late and disorganized.


Today, however, is different. Today we should shift our focus and look forward, away from the national embarrassment and catastrophe that was the Trump administration and the complete sell-out of once respectable members of the Republican party to this wolf in wolf’s clothing.


HOPE


Today, it’s about hope. Hope that an imperfect man, yet a tireless public servant, who has experienced more than his fair share of grief and loss, can lead a country that is itself plagued by grief and loss. We now will go through the quadrennial celebration of the continuation of our democracy, which Mr. Trump thankfully will not attend. It will not include the triumphant parade and the endless pageantry but perhaps that is just as well. Perhaps it should be quiet, thoughtful and contemplative.


REVEREND WARNOCK’S SHABBAT WORDS


Here are some inspirational words on this inspirational day delivered by Reverend Raphael Warnock to the Temple in Atlanta on MLK Shabbat. The Temple, one will recall, was bombed in an antisemitic act of violence in the 1950s. The Temple has always had close relations with Atlanta’s Black community.


“I like to see geese fly because geese fly in a V-formation and one out front is working the hardest. Because you can’t lead the people unless you love the people. The one out front is actually working the hardest.

Geese fly together. Pelicans flap their wings faster, but they don’t go as far because pelicans fly solo; geese fly together. But when the one out front gets tired, he just moves further back into the formation. And another one just moves in, into his place.

And geese do that without a fight. They do it without becoming violent. They do it without shutting down the geese government. They do it without a schism. Because geese understand that my individual location is not as important as our collective destination.

And so we’ve got work to do. Let’s rise up from this moment in which we’ve had to deal with a global pandemic, in which we’ve had to deal with an economic turndown, in which we’ve had to deal with racism and bigotry and antisemitism and xenophobia. Let us stand up in this moment and continue the work so that we might rebuild in the midst of the rubble and all of God’s children might be safe.”


Ron Stern reminds me that, in these tumultuous times of hatred, Rev. Warnock’s sermon was not heard in its entirety because of the actions of a hacker…


A WISH FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION


I wish Joe and Kamala and our new executive officers and legislators all the best in patching our wounds, addressing the pandemic, dealing with the challenges of racial injustice, addressing the crimes committed against families at our border, addressing more equitable taxation, providing infrastructure funding and government support to families in need, and helping small businesses struggling to emerge from dark economic times.


If the pandemic didn’t make it clear enough, we’re all in this together.


Warmly,


Glenn

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