Weekly Letter to the President
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INAUGURATION,   January 20, 2009

Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape

To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.

The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.

Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.

--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
---  Native American proverb

January 8, 2021

Mr. President:  The unthinkable and improbable became possible and very quickly
changed to reality as crowds of Trump supporters, outnumbering the Capitol police
and instigated by the president himself in a speech a short while earlier, stormed the
Capitol and took over parts of the building.

Photos of these MAGA (Make America Great Again) thugs in their distinctive red hats
plus others in outrageous costumes -- including a Viking helmet with horns and
supposedly Viking furs -- were seen on the internet.  One gained entry into Speaker
Nancy Pelosi's office and was shown seated, leaning back, with boots planted on her

Another in the senate chamber sprawled in the seat normally occupied by the
vice-president who is chair of the senate.  Many are gathered in the rotunda and
elsewhere.  Some are later seen lying flat, face down, as the police gradually regain
control after having to use force, and with it inevitably tragedy.

A woman was shot in the chest.  Carried away bleeding profusely Ashli Babbitt, 35,
was an Air Force veteran.  She and her group were trying to force their way into the
House Chamber, where members who were meeting to certify Biden's election were
sheltering.  Another woman and two men suffered separate medical emergencies
from which they too died.

Smoke grenades were used to clear the building.  The Capitol police also suffered
injuries, some requiring hospital treatment and one, Brian Sicknick, died from his
injuries after being hit by a fire extinguisher.  At least 50 people were arrested.

The last time anyone violated the Capitol was over 200 years ago.  During the War of
1812, the British occupied Washington, and on August 24, 1814 burned the Capitol ...
also the White House and every public building in the city.  It was all partly in
retaliation for the American destruction of Port Dover in Upper Canada.  That was
then; this is now.  

Trump's behavior has been corrosive, destructive of the political middle ground as
well as the basis for democracy, namely, elections.  By casting doubt on their
legitimacy without any evidence and incessantly reporting the elections were stolen,
he is adding to the difficulties Biden will face.  Suffice to say, numerous courts have
thrown out his claims as without merit.  The words 'loyal opposition' have little
meaning in this context and are absent from a vocabulary in which one side insists it
is saving America from the other.

Trump has so poisoned the well that Biden's task is not just repairing relations with
rivals like China and Russia but also mollifying annoyed, sometimes angry, sometimes
disgusted friends.  Pulling out of the Paris climate accord, accusing Germany and
Japan (and others) of free-loading on security through the American military presence
are some of the aspects.

Prone to military misadventure, let us hope Biden's bare majority in the senate, the
problems of COVID-19, and what Trump has left on his plate keeps him fully occupied.