Opinion: A New Day in America

United States Capital Building

My Opinion:

A few do not represent America; it’s a country of many. Today, a few performed an attack on the institutions of the American government. They failed. Driven by the demented suggestions of the current President, they justified their actions in the name of democracy yet lacked the aptitude to understand the very definition of how democracy works. Yes, I know the frustration; I don’t understand violence.

When I lived in Europe, The Netherlands, and Switzerland for five years in the latter half of the 1990s, I came to appreciate different government systems and the US system’s strengths and weaknesses. We are not perfect, far from it, but it’s not all bad, until.

The last four years have demonstrated how a system can be highjacked, overtaken by singular objectives, or personality. Appealing to those who yearn to go back 70 years, to return to days when women can’t vote, blacks used separate restrooms, police had an absolute rule, and white men dominated. Well, that was yesterday, not today … and we will never go back.

Yes, the stock market is at an all-time high (benefiting a tiny percentage of the public), yes unemployment was at an all-time low (before the pandemic consisting of people working multiple jobs below livable wages), and yes, the polarization widened between those advocating support for fellow humans and support for business. As always, the answer is in the middle. It’s an “and” not an “or.”

So today, January 6, 2021, a tiny group of sadly misguided “Americans” tried to take over the Capitol. The President told them at a rally an hour earlier to:

“We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Left Democrats— which is what they’re doing— and stolen by the fake news media,” Trump said. “We will never give up. We will never concede.”

A woman was killed, police had broken bones. Mr. President, you own that.

Later he tweeted,

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long; go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

It was later removed, and his account was frozen, but it can’t be forgotten. Yes, Mr. President, this day will be remembered for a long time, as will your role.

In 2016, when the current President was elected, I had my concerns but was willing to give him a chance; I wrote in a blog, “I am an American. Congratulations, Mr. Trump. You got what you wanted. Being President is not a reality show. I trust you that once you fully understand the seriousness as the President of the United States of America, that will you will mature to the role.”

I was wrong, horribly wrong.

Now, The US moves into a new era, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The damage done to the country is extensive. It’s severely divided. I’m not sure it can be repaired soon. My optimism in 2016 is less in 2021. I have my doubts that either side can speak civilly to the other.

Will we learn? After Iran Contra, Swiftboatt, Watergate, 911, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Parkland, I’m not sure.

I believe in the American model and others around the world. I don’t believe the minority of opinions and those views define the majority. I believe hard work, education, and commitment leads to success.

Finally, I usually only post on climbing and Alzheimer’s but occasionally, as in once every four years, on the US’s leadership.

Thanks for listening.






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27 thoughts on “Opinion: A New Day in America

  1. Anyone who has followed Alan for years knows that what he wrote was heartfelt and very well said. Since it is now 1/7 and we know 4 people died and 68 were arrested in DC yesterday, this tragedy never had to happen. I am a New Yorker and like Diane above, I had no illusions through the four years, and I feel sorry for those who did and still do. Yes, of course I follow this page to find out about all the current climbers, as I wish I could be on the mountain with them. This page is the most informative, and if Alan wants to break from mountaineering talk for a post, that’s fine. Everyone has the right to their beliefs. To those who stopped following, I am sorry you don’t agree with Alan but you will not find anyone as dedicated and passionate about climbing as he is. Keep on, Alan

  2. “Finally, I usually only post on climbing and Alzheimer’s but occasionally, as in once every four years, on the US’s leadership.”

    Might consider maybe a mid-term update? Really appreciate you sharing these thoughts that most, if not all, of your readers from the U.S. share.

    I for one am listening.

    Bill Guiffre

  3. Thank you Alan. I want to hug you.
    I know there are many good people like you in America, and I really hope the good side of the country will reemerge and prevail.
    We (from other countries) used to look at America as a model and aspiration. Now we see it a risk for the world and an example of the risks for a democracy.
    Climb on! A good hike will help healing a bit.

  4. Thank you, Alan for having the courage to state you views articulately and publicly. I recognize the right of some followers of your blog to disagree. But, violently storming the Capitol is beyond the pale.

  5. Thank you, Alan. When circumstances compel it, you’re more than entitled to post a non-climbing message. You do it exceedingly rarely, as you noted. The circumstances of January 6 compelled it, and you provided a brief, straightforward, and articulate statement about the prospects and needs of the United States.

  6. Hi Alan,
    thank you very much for this informative post which I don´t find out of place in a mountaineering blog since mountaineering is all about “the freedom of the hills”. So I think in this important case (for the US in particular and the world in general) it´s about freedom from hate and the hill is Capitol Hill.
    Greetings from Germany (we know where populism can lead…)

  7. Brilliant words Alan. The world needs, now more than ever, to stop the craziness coming from the White House these last four years and its absurd and dangerous end.

    Best wishes from Spain.

  8. I live in England and was horrified watching the news this morning. We have enough problems in the world, we should be dealing with those not being incited to violence by a sore loser like Trump – he needs to get over himself and move on. God Bless America!

    1. A sore looser like trump? Have you been blind for the last 4 years? Democrats have NOT seen trump as their legitimate president, they tried false impeachment disagreed to all that the republicans brought forward, blamed trump for everything that happens, and when that didn’t work they encouraged their city’s to riot, and when the federal government tried to help they got it thrown back into their faces, under the pretence of “a summer of love”, for what? To cause division in the country, then look at the election, so much evidence and the spineless attorneys threw the cases out on technicalities (to scared to show the truth and loose their jobs more like) so no evidence could be heard, if there is nothing to hide why is it not out in the open, did you see the senate race in Georgia? Republican was winning 51-49 with 91% counted then surprise surprise there was a blackout and it came back on with the democratic candidate in the lead, I’m sorry I’m English, and I feel something very wrong is going on in that country
      I’m sorry I come to this website to read about mountains, if I wanted one sided biased political commentary I’d watch the MSM

      1. Vwjohn – Firstly, no I’m not blind. Secondly this is Alan Arnette’s website and therefore he is entitled to post whatever he wishes. Alan puts many hours and a huge effort into keeping us informed and entertained and I for one am extremely grateful for his efforts. I guess you didn’t bother reading the blog to the end as Alan clearly states “Finally, I usually only post on climbing and Alzheimer’s but occasionally, as in once every four years, on the US’s leadership.” If you don’t like it feel free to spend your time “watching the MSM” I somehow doubt you will be missed.

      2. All of the claims you are referring to have been thoroughly debunked (see for instance https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/04/us/politics/trump-georgia-election-fraud.html or https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/55561877).

        I think you should just accept the fact that a decisive majority of Americans voted against a corrupt president who based his political career on racism (the Birther movement, for instance), who has promoted unashamed nepotism (half his family has profited financially and politically from his position without merit), who has spend a vast amount of his presidency golfing or watching right wing television on the taxpayer’s money and who has shown no respect for the rule of law. Let’s not even get into his ethics (the constant insults, hush money, countless sexual assault allegations, backstabbing of former associates etc.) And how can you possibly ignore the fact that thousands of Republican election officials, Republican poll watchers and even judges selected by Trump found not a shred of evidence for systematic election fraud (aside from Trump’s own attempts to cripple the postal service and to prevent the counting of legal ballots).

        He has lost by literally millions of votes, it wasn’t even close. And him not accepting that fact and supporting ridiculous conspiracy theories and calling for a march on the Capitol makes him a sore looser.

  9. Thank’s Alan, I needed this. For me, not living in the US, I fully don’t understand how in the world this happened.
    How he even got elected? Reading now that maybe they will use the 25th amendment. Hope this all will end peacefully.

  10. I also thank you Alan. Today was a very dark day and we still have to get through the next few days until he’s finally out of office. As a historian, I cried today.

  11. Thank you for these comments. Some events are so important they can not be passed over in silence.

  12. Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I’m afraid I won’t live long enough to see any resolution

  13. Well and thoughtfully said, Alan. I hope that today’s unlawful actions by the president and the mob that he incited can serve as a call to action for some fundamental for some improvements in our system. A few thoughts – 1) If a president ever again “incites a riot” he should not be immune from prosecution and if found guilty, removed from office, by action of law, 2) All future presidents MUST provide full financial disclosure AND divest themselves (blind trust, whatever) of control over their assets while serving the public, 3) Comprehensive campaign finance reform (including legislation to override “Citizens United” should be implemented, 4) Term limits for elected representatives. There are more, but this would be a good start. This is a huge mountain that we have the opportunity to climb together. limb on !!!

  14. I’m glad it isn’t just about mountaineering. In a world where business as usual is, and has been, run according to neoliberal ideology that has shown itself to be decidedly undemocratic, we face a future of the climate warming so rapidly at altitude that those nations mountaineers are most drawn to will likely suffer the most disastrous effects of climate warming. The only question is how fast it will happen. It will take informed and dedicated intentions to prevent the climate disasters now in the making. Why should mountaineers be exempt from that imperative climate action? Do some mountaineers see no possibility that we can successfully slow climate warming and that we should not try, and therefore ignore the reality of the future we are creating? Climate science is pretty simple. Mountaineers can understand it quite easily. It belongs in this blog.

  15. So very well said. As a former New Yorker, I had no illusions about what a Trump administration might portend. But I horribly underestimated how bad it would be. Trump was not responsible for the conditions that led to his election. But he never tried to make things better. Not for one minute has he endeavored to unite the various communities of humans who comprise our nation. Not for one minute has he directed his attention toward improving everyday life for our fellow Americans. It will take a long time to undo the damage he has caused, be it rollback of important environmental and scientific safeguards, his appointment of hundreds of unqualified judges or exacerbating societal tensions. He should be removed from office tomorrow.

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