What is there to say today? It is the 17th, the day the insurrectionists threatened another attack. Or attacks. Washington, D.C. keeps being likened to Baghdad, which is horribly apt since now our nation’s capitol has its own Green and Red Military Zones.
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, Washington
The Secret Service released a document which talks about checkpoints and zones, along with a long list of street and bridge closures. In the Red Zone, vehicle traffic is “restricted to authorized vehicles only with proper vehicle placard” and, in the Green Zone, it is “restricted to residents or businesses within the restricted area and National Guard Personnel will be assisting with verifying traffic entering into the Green Zone.” On CNN a couple of days ago, we got to watch members of the National Guard erect fences around the perimeter of what I think is the Red Zone, with barbed wire strung along the top.
Most major airlines have banned guns in checked baggage until January 23. Another security measure is being taken by the US Postal Service, which has temporarily removed some mailboxes in at least 17 states. More footage is being released every day that reveals the “terrifying scope” of the January 6 Capitol attack.
And then there’s the virus. The incoming CDC director is telling us to expect 500,00 deaths by mid-February. California is closing in on 3 million cases as “the state tries to smooth the rocky rollout of vaccines.” What “rocky rollout” means for my friend Terrie in the Palm Desert area is that she has spent hours on the computer over the past few days, trying to book appointments for herself and her 85-year-old husband. “Either I can’t get into the site or I get in and then, if I don’t get bumped off, all the appointments are gone,” she told me.
One of the people who died this weekend from the virus is Phil Spector. Those of us who grew up with his “Wall of Sound” string of hit records were shocked when he was convicted of the 2003 murder of a Hollywood actress. Spector’s music hit you with its verve and energy. It made you want to dance. It influenced Bruce Springsteen and many others. He worked with the Beatles on “Let It Be,” as well as Leonard Cohen, the Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner. I was a child at the time of his first hit, To Know His Is To Love Him, inspired by words on his father’s tombstone. For me, there is something particularly poignant and fitting to our times that this man died disgraced in prison from the pandemic that has blighted our lives.
As Sue said yesterday, I can foresee a time when the coronavirus will be under control. I wish I had the same confidence in our being able to vaccinate ourselves against the political virus that has ended our tradition of peaceful transfers of power. We made it through today without an explosion of violence. For this I am grateful. But God help us if this is what it’s going to take to get us through the next four years.