Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Capitol riots: The pain is real, but how to begin healing?

January 6th, 2021 will be a day read about in the history books.

What we can all agree on, without the slightest doubt, is that the nation is gravely wounded and we’re all feeling deeply hurt. We’re all in great pain, but it would be untrue to say all of us are in pain for the same reasons.

I do not seek to add to anyone’s pain. If you read the title of this article and it makes you angry, please feel free to read no further. I will not be offended, and be assured that it is never my intent to hurt or offend anyone else. Many people are avoiding political discussions right now. If it feels right to you to do so – more power to you.

If you’ve made it to this paragraph, thanks for coming along for a brief revisiting of some of the topics I covered in the article titled “Keep Out.”

In that article, I looked at some of the wider implications of symbols that are seen throughout the Adirondacks that have caused controversy. Some of those same symbols – in particular the confederate flag – were displayed proudly along with nooses and a plethora of references to antisemitism by the insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol building, viciously attacking law enforcement and desecrating state property. The insurrectionists’ goal was, unequivocally, to promote white supremacy as widely as possible. That they, by their own very strong volition, associate white supremacy with President Trump is a topic volatile enough to leave out of this article. As others have pointed out, even during the Civil War, a confederate flag never made it into the Capitol building. I dare say nor has anyone ever before walked the Capitol with sweatshirts saying “Camp Auschwitz: STAFF” or “Six Million Jews were not enough.”

I’ve already seen some local media promote the perspectives of people who attended and support the “protest” in question who seek to distance themselves from the blatant extremism displayed there. Such articles certainly aren’t unique to the Adirondacks, but examples such as this one and this one are certainly worth noting.

The common theme seems to be a circling of the wagons among conservatives, and a defensive promotion of the idea that overt Neo-Nazis and white supremacists do not represent the Republican Party. I am not interested to comment here on the veracity of this idea.

However, I believe it is true to say that Republicans are suffering a deep “brand identity” crisis that remains unresolved and may be so for a while, especially after the 6th. Not being a Republican, I have no advice to offer party members on how to do the soul searching necessary to decide the future of their party. Some North Country elected officials appear have already decided on the brand they hope to have represent the party in the future. I leave it to other Republicans to decide how they feel about following their leaders in the direction they’ve been going for the last four years.

I want to speak especially to some of you who are hurt and suffering but who have different political views than I. Like Mitt Romney, I’m not going to lie to you about the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was legitimate.

But please understand that we all know that your pain is also legitimate. We don’t have to agree on just about anything to exchange basic human empathy, because empathy and compassion are forces too powerful for even the most violent extremists to suppress. One of the best things that anyone can do, to mourn a great loss, is to let that source of great emotional intensity go. Just let it go. Let that source of anger and sorrow leave your life.

I feel that rather than just perfunctorily condemning violence and hate, a truly cathartic way of disassociating from the white supremacy on display on the 6th is to finally take a hard look at why you still have that flag in your window. I’m speaking both metaphorically and literally here. Is the statement really worth it, regardless of what statement you believe it to be? Is the emotional burden worth it?

Fighting for anything can exact a severe toll, as I believe any veteran or first responder would tell us. Aggressive political positions have benefits but sometimes serious drawbacks. The most deeply depressing thing about the insurrectionists who sacked the Capitol on the 6th is indeed that they were all quite ordinary people. It is a shorter fall than anyone thinks from being in the ideological center of a community to the ideological extreme.

Now seems as good a time as any to stop and think deeply about what causes and statements are worth our time. I wrote earlier that folks who insist on displaying hate symbols know that there are people out there who disagree with them, or they would not feel so defensive when opposition to these symbols is raised.

I very much see that you, neighbor with the confederate flag, are suffering just like me. I recognize that. It is out of deep empathy that I ask you to think about the path that leads that flag in your window to being a flag in the Capitol, and how horrible that path would be to walk. Let’s let it go, together, and find a different path to walk.

Healing can come to all of us who are suffering right now, if we all recognize how much there is to mourn. I am trying my best to do so despite deep pain, and the same is all I ask of anyone.

Photo: By U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli Tours the U.S. Capitol, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98666124

Please note that comments and commentary included on the Adirondack Almanack are those of the individuals and not the Adirondack Almanack or Adirondack Explorer.

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Vanessa Banti is a millennial librarian who loves the Adirondacks, and hopes to live there someday as a wonderful neighbor. In her professional life, she works with copyright and intellectual property, and in her personal life, she outside under the pines as often as possible.


90 Responses

  1. Balian the Cat says:

    If somebody breaks into a home or business, if they destroy property and harm/injure/kill people in the process – healing usually begins once they are arrested and locked away where people feel safe. Hold people accountable and protect the victims, that would be the traditional process.

    And before the usual baloney starts to fly here: No, this is not the same as when a gang of protestors burns down a hardware store protesting the unlawful shooting of a member of their community – awful as that is. And, NO we can’t poo poo the treasonous things Trump does because Bill Clinton was a jerk too, true as that might be. And, YES this is exponentially worse than Hillary’s email thing was, as unlawful as that might have been.

    Healing begins when people take accountability. No amount of “I know you are but what am I” childishness applies here. Trusted servants frothed an angry mob up with lies and conspiracy’s and told them to “fight” “combat injustice” etc to the point that they assaulted our seat of government and murdered people in the process. None of this has anything to do with birtherism or the flat-earth or phony moon landings or whatever distraction folks want to turn to.

    Healing begins when those responsible are held accountable.

    • Peter says:

      This is related to the ADRKS? Where was your rant when antifa and BLM did much more damage, taking lives ,destroying cities, burning buildings ,storming campuses? Noy a word. NOW your all upset? Please. 75 million peopke wete screwed ovet by election theft and fraud and yes thete is tons of proof. Big brother media and the complicit judges and poiticians wont let you hear it. Who reoresents the 75 million Trump voters?

      • Balian the Cat says:

        The guy in the Viking horns not eating because he can’t have organic carrots in jail represents you at this point, I guess?

      • Joeblo says:

        This is typical leftism through condescion. “We know you are wrong but we will forgive you as long as you bow down before us and beg.” Does anyone else remember a few months ago when antifa was storming the white house. The story wasnt violent extremists trying to overthrow our country, it was claiming trump hid in a basement as a coward. Off the top of my head i also remember them attacking federal court houses and dhs buildings. They also created their own “autonomous zone” once. Insurrection? Nope just a natural reaction to the duly elected POTUS according to the media. This is in addition to the looting and burning of taxbpaying businesses while the elected officials and police paid with those tax dollars stood by. Has one leftist been banned from social media for any of their repeated calls to viilence? There will be no peace when the solution is submission.

        • Upstate Citizen says:

          No one was storming the White House. Stop lying.

          People protested outside the White House, and at times they were violently dispersed… including once so the President could get a photo op. But at no point in time did anyone storm the White House.

          If the MAGA mob had simply protested outside the capital, the way crowds did a few months ago after police officers murdered someone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But that’s not what happened. They stormed it, laid siege to it, entered it, disrupted congress, vandalized it, and they brutally beat a police officer to death.

          There is no equivalent to that in all of American History. So stop trying to compare this to any other protest you might not have approved of. It just isn’t the same thing. They took things too far.

      • REPMAGA says:

        Thank You Peter

      • ADKresident2 says:

        Cue the pro-fascist anger-mongers. Didn’t take long. Plus, almost not a word of your Sean Hannity plagiarized rant is true. So facts or STFU.

    • Jeep says:

      You think that was something?? Wait to see what’s on the horizon!

      • Dana says:

        Yes, should be quite the bloodbath! You are getting exactly what you want. What do you think the final death toll will be? Will you or I be among the dead? Should be quite a show once the shooting starts! But I don’t think it will end well for your insurrection.

        • Jeep says:

          That’s what they said about the patriots of the american revolution also! Not gonna end well

          • Upstate Citizen says:

            The patriots of the American Revolution were colonists fighting against foreign rule. When they won, they established a constitutional republic. The insurrectionists who stormed the capital, and those who support them, are trying to overthrow that republic and its peacefully and democratically elected government. They are trying to destroy what those original patriots fought for and achieved. You literally couldn’t be any less like them if you tried.

            You have more in common with the traitors of the civil war who wanted to tear this country apart. Like them, you will not succeed. America is better than you, stronger than you, and your efforts will be put down.

  2. Joan Grabe says:

    Dear Vanessa, I totally agree with you usually but not this time. My “neighbor with the Confederate flag “ is not my neighbor ! He just lives on my street but I have nothing in common with him. And I don’t want to work across the political aisle to try and convince him that he should follow a different “path”. I just want him to stay in his internet silo exchanging conspiracy paranoia and prejudices. In 2021 they are truly the “Lost Cause “ ! But I will devote myself to those who would strengthen civics and history in the public schools, improve the lives of children born here in the North Country, support local businesses and organizations and hope that the good Lord blesses these efforts.

  3. ADKresident says:

    I could reply to this from a totally different perspective. I have friends and know folks who attended. I could give you a completely different account of the day, the people and the objective without discussing the obvious horror. But it would be pointless. The news has portrayed a narrative that fits it’s leftist agenda and social media has now began to ban any voice contrary to a liberal ideology. The ADK Almamack said in a.previous post that they will post “local politics”, which I think is appropriate. However, to now post national political opinions, which is what this is- not an actual eye witness account where those on the ground have seen and recorded with their phones “Antifa” mixed in the crowd to appear as Trump supporters in MAGA hats and such, (The MSM will never disclose that) as well as BLM members . What I share is the truth- I saw the actual footage recorded in real time from a friend’s phone. But really, who cares about the truth, right? No one really does, if it supports their hatred towards Trump supporters and anything or anyone with a differing viewpoint than the left.

    The ADK Almamack has chosen to go down the path of one-sided political editorial pieces and could care less about posting anything conservative unless it is negative. And it must be negative! If any conservative even shares a differing viewpont, they are labeled and called names. The hatred is justified and even celebrated, but then theres a call for healing. What a joke.

    I am disappointed that journalism has become nothing but pre-conceived opinions wrapped in half baked truths and lack eye witness perspectives and now the Adirondack Almamack has chosen the same path. Nothing but an echo chamber for those who have the same opinions and viewpoints. Real enlightening when there’s no differing perspective that can actually challenge the self-appointed thought police.

    Yes, this is disappointing but not surprising. I am done being silent but this is not the place for political rant unless it involves where I live. And last I checked, the Capital was in DC.

    • Anyone is welcome to submit anything, anytime! This is a “people powered” forum. I would be interested in hearing your first-person take on what you experienced in D.C. Many locals made the trip down and that alone is newsworthy.

      • Bill Ott says:

        Melissa, I do not like the way this site is changing. If you want to run a Twitter type site , please go do it somewhere else and let an Adirondacker run this site. You and your editorial staff post very good articles, but I just wish they were local. We can all read what is being posted here somewhere else.

        Respectfully, Bill Ott
        Lakewood, Ohio

        • Bob Meyer says:

          In normal times I might agree to keep it specific to the Adirondacks, but theses are NOT normal times and our vey republic is at risk. No one and nowhere is immune.
          If we cannot find common ground and our democracy fails, the Adirondacks along with everywhere else will be irreversibly adversely effected. No please will be safe from tyranny.

      • Jeep says:

        Anyone except jeep of course! Censored again! That’s ok, I wear it as a badge on honor! Lol

    • Steve B. says:


      A well written and sobering commentary. Some thoughts; Social media has banned certain groups from posting hate messages that promote violence. With 5 dead in D.C. that’s an understandable policy. If the supporters to Trump desire their voice back they need to be self policing, which they are not. When they state “Hang Pence”, that’s essentially a Federal offence and they should be prosecuted. Thus Google, Apple and Amazon did what is acceptable and legal, shut down the hate media outlets.

      There is a fundamental difference between the BLM protests and the DC protests of last Wed. BLM is protesting the frequent deaths of young black people at the hands of overzealous police officers who choose violence over conversation. These BLM marches are ALWAYS peaceful as intent, though there have been riots as a result of – again, overzealous police responses. Last Wednesday’s protest was by intent a violent march with people carrying weapons and signage stating their intent to over throw the government so as to allow Donald Trump to remain as President. Witness participants with plastic handcuffs, whose purpose was to kidnap Congressional members, in an attempt to stop the electoral count. You may not want to see that fundamental difference between BLM and last Wed., sad for you.

      I can certainly believe that you and your friends did not expect that this rally in support of Trump would have the end results in mind, but that is what happens when you believe the lies that the election count was fraudulent. You have been drinking Trumps Kool-Aid and this is the result.

      And as note that the on-scene video captured by your friends is no different than the on-scene cameras that were showing us what occurred real-time, which was plain and simple a take-over of our Government. What the media comments on as we witness can certainly be one-sided, but the camera’s didn’t lie, what I saw was a coup attempt by Donald Trump.

    • Upstate Citizen says:

      Imagine having several global news networks that represent your point of view. Local news papers that parrot exactly what you think. And the megaphone of the presidency for the last 4 years, the tallest soapbox and biggest communications platform in history… and still thinking that you are somehow being silenced.

      Playing the victim card a little heavy here, aren’t ya?

      Imagine thinking that condemning a deadly insurrection against our democratically elected government is “liberal ideology” and a “leftist agenda.”

      Are you so extreme that an attack on the United States Capital is actually a partisan issue for you?

  4. Charlie Stehlin says:

    ” Many people are avoiding political discussions right now. If it feels right to you to do so – more power to you.”

    Just when we should be talking about important, current issues, which have an effect on aspects of our lives in one way or another, including Adirondack issues, whether it be a subtle effect, or no…. people wish to back away, and as I have seen on this site, try to persuade others to hush up. Per instance they put out, “Let’s talk about something else” “give it a rest” “let it go” etc….. If there’s one thing we should have learned, at the very least, regards what happened in DC last week…that should be ‘We need to keep talking!’

  5. Zephyr says:

    The people who don’t believe in reality and are the cause of the attack on our capitol are not going to “just let it go.” It is up to the rest of us to denounce them, punish them, and continue to work for a better country where their hatred doesn’t exist. We are 7 million more than them at a minimum, based on the legitimately counted votes in the election, and I suspect a whole lot more will join us in renouncing hate. Republicans of good heart, join us in the Democratic party. We have a big tent.

    • Balian the Cat says:

      Lets make it simpler than that, Zephyr – I don’t want to convert anyone. Stay a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent, lets all just live in a reality based environment.

  6. Boreas says:


    We have yet to see if/how the president will be rebuked by Congress or his cabinet. We have yet to get through the inauguration. State houses are preparing for violence. Trumpist megaphones are still blaring alternate realities and lies. The pandemic is still being ignored by the administration with 3,000+ deaths per day, with no cogent plans of getting AVAILABLE vaccine in arms.

    I believe it is too early to be talking about healing. You cannot begin to heal while the injury is ongoing. A splinter continues to fester until it is removed. Only then does healing begin.

    • Vanessa says:

      Boreas, I agree 100% regarding this. My message to political leaders and/or the Republican Party would be very different than this message. I am trying to speak to average folks who are in the same boat I am – just people with beliefs and choices regarding what to do about them. Politicians and other community leaders are in a different boat.

      But I appreciate the comment and am gonna briefly start a new thread to clarify further.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Hi all. Based on the comments thus far, its worth addressing a few things:

    I decided to keep my personal opinions about political actions needed to address the insurrection to myself here. Of course accountability is paramount here, in order to never have a repeat of this event.

    I just want to be clear that I agree 100% with the idea that healing cannot happen until all who committed crimes are held accountable. That’s a lot of people. 100s, perhaps over 1000 who either attacked law enforcement, or broke into and/or desecrated the Capitol. Plus leadership needs to be held especially accountable as well. Lies matter a lot always, but they’re unspeakably harmful when coming from leaders, especially elected ones.

    And it’s especially wild that it’s a lot of people who, as has been noted, felt it was super important to livestream and broadcast their criminality for as wide an audience as possible. Let it be very clearly noted that in dozens of protests I’ve attended in my life, the left is live-streaming to protect themselves from crimes perpetuated by others. Whereas these folks feel safe enough and privileged enough to promote crime to the stratosphere. It’s a slap in the face to someone like me.

    My personal healing won’t come until all are held accountable. Frankly, I’m not holding my breath because one “side” of this debacle insists on a level of non-accountability that is quite, well. It’s something.

    But in the meantime, it is ALSO important to recognize the very real emotions people that who don’t agree with me are feeling, even if I do not accept the legitimacy of their “grievances.” I believe that doing so is both moral and also a way to hold people accountable.

    If you want to have a discussion with someone to make any sort of progress, you have to recognize their humanity first. It is my humble opinion that the right is not very good at this skill, so the center and left need to step up. I laugh when progressives are accused of “victim” and “grievance” politics. No one was better than 45 at manipulating people’s emotions to make them hate others.

    Until we address that emotion, manufactured or not, we’re not going to get through to anyone, and we really, really need to. People think that this is the worst it could get and that’s really not true.

    • Zephyr says:

      I reject your argument that we need to “recognize the very real emotions” people feel when those emotions are based on falsehoods. It is not up to me to waste time trying to figure out how to make these people come to grips with reality. It is up to them to look in the mirror and begin to rethink their attitudes towards the majority of their fellow citizens that live in the real world. I have zero faith most of these people will do this. Unfortunately, the way forward is to defeat them in the ballot box and wherever we have to.

      • Zephyr says:

        Apparently Liz Cheney looked in the mirror and made a decision: “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President.”

        • Bob Meyer says:

          As much as I hate Trump and what he stands for, the feeling of the people who feel left out are real. Whether based in reality or not, all feelings are valid and need to be addressed if our nation is ever to heal.

      • Vanessa says:

        It doesn’t sound like we agree on the moral element of this, which I’m saddened by but no prob.

        Let’s consider the tactical element. There are millions of people in the country right now that, thanks to absolutely indefensible abdication of responsibility by Republican leadership, legitimately, literally believe that the election was “stolen” from 45. They’re completely indoctrinated and there are lots of leaders who want to exploit that indoctrination for political gain. Stefanik is leading that pack, btw. On that I bet we may agree, lol.

        These folks aren’t going away. They’ve got lots and lots of guns and are escalating violence. Unfortunately they’re not interested in being beat at the ballot box because they’ve already decided that the ballot box is an illegitimate means to govern. I feel like I’ve said like 50 times in different forums already since the 6th that you can’t get people into the tent that don’t want to be there. Or in other words, can’t get people to participate equitably in a democracy when they’ve endorsed the violent overthrow thereof.

        Imo, American democracy is in deep enough crud that we need to use a variety of methods to attempt to rapidly disarm these people, especially in the metaphorical sense. The type of emotional recognition I’m talking about above is a method of de-radicalization. I have spent a lot of time reading about how this is done in the Middle East when dealing with terror groups there. (Been in the antiwar mix for a while.) If you give people a safe way to back out of extremism, many will. Extremists are absolutely responsible for their own actions, but since the bad guys are influencing those actions, so too should we try to.

        De-radicalization is one effective way to lessen extremism that exists alongside other “heavier” deterrents, like convictions and impeachment of responsible leaders. I’m for the whole package.

        I want to note as well that my life is directly negatively affected by white supremacy and so trying to approach folks is scary as hell for me. But I still have enormous privilege, and I’d feel irresponsible if I didn’t use my privilege to do *all* the things necessary to try to preserve democracy in this country.

  8. Bob Meyer says:

    Well said Vanessa! Until we recognize the validity of the other the equality of the other, emotionally and intellectually; the I and Thou that Martin Buber, Holocaust Survivor so eloquently wrote about, we will not be able to come together as the United States of America.

  9. mhurley says:

    The entire fiasco on January 6, 2021 happened because Donald Trump ordered it. He promoted insurrection and sedition. Insurrection and sedition are not just impeachable offenses, they are treasonable offenses as well. Like Donald Trump, those who participated in the violence, destruction of property, assault and murder should be hunted down, tried, convicted and receive the usual punishment meted out for such crimes. The law on this is clear. There can be no exceptions. Just as there is no such thing as alternate facts, there are no alternate laws regarding insurrection, sedition or treason.

    As for Donald J. Trump, he will be leaving the White House on January 20, 2021 at 1201pm. Once he becomes an ordinary citizen again, he will have to face charges in New York City and State for financial crimes. I sincerely hope that his tax returns and financial information will then be released and disclosed to the American people for the record.

    Like Donald Trump, the people who continue to support him refuse to admit they are wrong and that Trump lost the election. They have Stockholm syndrome. I refuse to believe that the over 70 million people who voted for Trump are, like Trump, narcissistic sociopaths. It’s time for the real Republican Party to disavow Trump for once and for all. The rest of the crazies that will continue to support Trump need to rebrand their movement. Perhaps call themselves the Trump NeoNazi Party, Trumplican Party. They’ll think of some jingoistic, easily chant-able name.

    Lastly, if the insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol think that Trump is going to pay their legal bills, I got a bridge to see them in Brooklyn.

  10. Drew P Weiner says:

    I’m pretty much apolitical but, there are like 75 million Americans who think the presidential election was rigged. I’d be very careful about poking that bear.

    • Bob Meyer says:

      The bear is awake, angry and dangerous. It must be addressed or our democracy will be its dinner!

      • Boreas says:

        How do you “address” a delusional, violent, armed mob with no obvious organization? What would we be talking about today if the Capitol guards, outnumbered at least 5:1, used their weapons before the Capitol was breached? The mob moved with near impunity last week. They weren’t worried. Why was that?

        This insurrection is also delusional if it thinks it is acting on behalf of 70 million Republican voters. They may all believe the same misinformation, but not all Republicans are supporting the violent insurrection. Ultimately, it will likely be up to the GOP to police its own party if any peace is to be maintained.

    • Vanessa says:

      That bear is already harming people. It could destroy the country, if we let it. We all gonna just be like, “well, had a good 200 years or so. Too bad all those people died for the cause of creating an equitable society. Time to pack it in, everyone…” ?

    • Steve B. says:

      I’d doubt that. There’s certainly a high percentage who vote the Republican ticket ‘cause that’s all they’ve ever done. I’m certain many had qualms about Trump and would have gone for an alternative such as Romney or Colin Powell had that been offered in a primary.

    • Upstate Citizen says:

      What’s the alternative? Let those people continue to believe in alternative realities and things that are verifiably false to the detriment of the rest of the country?

      Haven’t we learned all throughout history that appeasing people like this only leads to worse outcomes?

      I’m not suggesting we intentionally aggitate or “poke” people who reject reality. But at some point, when their conspiratorial beliefs start to endanger the rest of us, such as when they try to kidnap Governors or when they try to lay siege to our Capital, we have to do something about it. Ignoring them and hoping they snap back to reality or somehow go away isn’t working.

  11. Zephyr says:

    First, its baloney that 70 million people believe the election was stolen. Lots of people lie about lots of things, and at this point it is tribalism that keeps people chanting the slogans of Trumpism. Second, only a relative handful are actual violent thugs who want to overthrow our government. Worrying about the feelings of this violent minority is what gets you a riot in the capital building. If instead the police had used just the same level of security they used routinely all summer long when many more BLM marchers were holding vast gatherings we would be talking about the big Trump rally with arrests. Third, most Republicans believe in law and order and are not marching around in Boogaloo costumes planning their next illegal action. Even among those who broke into the capitol I bet there were only a few hundred that did the most damage, including attacking and hurting people. Those folks with weapons know that they are vastly outgunned by the police, the National Guard, and finally the military if needed. They of all people know that firing a weapon at our organized military is just going to end badly. Some are making the mistake here of confusing a small, violent, and criminal rabble with the bulk of people who just voted for Trump for one reason or another. We’re talking about crimes here. Sure, lets help these folks deal with their feelings once they are safely in prison.

    • Zephyr says:

      “If Republicans want to talk about reconciliation, there is a minimum price of entry: a straightforward, unequivocal acknowledgment that the election was not rigged and that Mr. Biden won the vote fair and square.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-want-reconciliation-heres-what-they-need-to-do-first/2021/01/12/a0db0dfa-5520-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html

      • Jeep says:

        The election was rigged, no doubt about it! What the hell makes you think Republicans want to reconcile??? Like president Trumps said, “this thing isn’t over, it’s just beginning! He’ll still be around for a long time setting liberal’s hair on fire! Lol

    • Vanessa says:

      So in fairness, a decent amount of research has been done on this question. I would readily concede that both you and I are likely not completely correct. I liked this summary from the Times last month: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/upshot/republican-voters-election-doubts.html – this points out that essentially, we’re both right: often people express views they don’t actually believe, but this year does seem different.

      The problem is that that assessment is already eons in the past given the events of Dec and January. The more Republican leaders that legitimize the “election was stolen” narrative, the more people will genuinely believe it. I think we’re at a very, very high number generally in the country when something like 50,000 of them “marched” on Washington.

      And as for the “not all Republicans” line of thinking: I didn’t want to make this discussion a values statement about the person who is just attending the riot but may not commit specific crime. But since you brought it up: if average-Joe Republican saw the “Camp Auschwitz: STAFF” guy break a window and walk into the building, and then decided to follow that guy in and wave enthusiastically in his livestream… well, it isn’t a super good look. It’s been a very long 4 years where Republicans have been eerily silent regarding the “career” neo-Nazis that are taking up space in their tent.

      I too am very heartened by Republicans who are speaking out generally about their party’s direction and how these developments are deeply problematic. But a lot of them are doing it in the wake of a truly norm-shattering disaster. I’m skeptical yet as to whether the sentiment to turn the ship around is real. Again, to keep this local: Stefanik is absolutely rejecting any accountability whatsoever, at every opportunity.

  12. Eric says:

    The Adirondack Almanac has become the Adirondack Ad Nauseam.

  13. AdkAck81 says:

    If you are lost deep in the Adirondacks, just start muttering politics. Someone will find you immediately to argue.

  14. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Balian the cat says: ” Stay a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent, lets all just live in a reality based environment.”

    > Who’s reality Balian? This is the problem. What one sees as truth another is hard-pressed to get beyond that truth as being pure fiction. This easy access that we all have right now, Facebook, or whatever all of the social media outlets are, Twitter (I’ve never seen a tweet)…. to me, are an extension of our narcissism, especially Facebook. It’s a sad affair but that’s just my stinking thinking who am I! Personally I think email is the best way to communicate, if you’re going to communicate online, but, as Emerson once said…”Few with the pen.” In other words nobody writes! But give them a platform where they can send out instant one-liners, without any deep thought going into any of it, and all of a sudden we become knowledgeable…..grade school knowledgeable that it is! The oddfellow society!

    Add to that people evidently not being able to think for themselves, believing things that are so far from reality, and this is where we are today. We have advanced our capabilities to become stupid at a much more rapid pace. what took place at the Capital last week is the end result of that, and I only see things getting worse…..the optimist that I am. Reality-based you say. Yeah but who’s reality?

    • Balian the Cat says:

      Charlie – I am going to stick to the notion that there is, by definition, only one reality. People are welcome to test gravity, lick sockets, and probe reality all they want, but it should never be allowed to become an accepted norm that there are different realities. My belief that I can breathe underwater would be laughed at, yet we still humor folks who claim voter fraud. I think the concept of “truth” is a bit more nuanced, but please don’t give folks the option to claim their own reality.

  15. Hikerva says:

    In my opinion, this article has no place in the Adirondack Almanack. I may have missed it however I don’t recall any similar writings when blm and antifa forces were burning and destroying our cities all summer long. This article is clearly devisive as proven by the comments. If the author’s intent was to stoke the fire and widen the decision, well done. Yet healing is mentioned … if the author really believes in healing, this fire should be allowed to slowly burn out and not be continually stoked by the media.
    You’ve done our readership a great disservice. I hope you’re pleased.

    • Hikerva says:

      …widen the division

    • Vanessa says:

      Well, the fact that local ADK residents were inspired to write about Black Lives Matter in this very publication earlier this year is partially what inspired me to propose some of the content I’ve submitted.

      As the other reader says – local ADK folks love to talk politics, in my experience.

    • Upstate Citizen says:

      A) There were articles on this site about the protests this summer.

      B) Those protests were, in no way what-so-ever, comparable to what happened on Jan 6th. A violent mob stormed the capital of our country in an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government. They laid siege to the building, breached it, vandalized it, hunted for our elected members of congress, and brutally beat a police officer to death. Nothing in all of American history is comparable to that.

      Keep some perspective here, please. You can disapprove of the protests this summer, especially the ones that got out of hand, while still recognizing that what happened on Jan 6th was unprecedented and we need to reckon with it and hold those responsible accountable.

  16. Todd Eastman says:

    “I love the poorly educated.” DJT following his Nevada Primary win February 23, 2016

    Critical thinking skills, appear absent among Trumpettes… ?

  17. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Todd Eastman says: ““I love the poorly educated.” DJT following his Nevada Primary win February 23, 2016. Critical thinking skills, appear absent among Trumpettes.

    I am not stereotyping here but reality is so apparent Todd and what you say has a large air of truth to it. It is no coincidence that the republicans take away funding for public education…. for obvious reasons.

  18. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Hikerva says: “antifa forces were burning and destroying our cities all summer long.”

    > I didn’t agree with a lot of what went down during those protests Hikerva but generally speaking most of them protesters were very peaceful, and what got all of that started in the first place? We are a divided nation and we need to talk rationally about where we are, but how do we do that? We need good leadership for one! We need to look at ourselves and come to grips with who we really are as a nation, all of what we accept and let slide, etc…. because we just are not looking too good, and the whole world has been seeing it more than we (too many of us) see it ourselves evidently.

    As a per example I came across this ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the New York Times this past Monday:

    “Over the course of Wednesday’s events, there has been much concern expressed over the world’s eyes being on America. Your country’s status as a “Shining city on a hill” and a “beacon of democracy” is being seriously compromised, it seems. Get over yourself, America. First of all, you are not the model of democracy at work, because you are not even a democracy. You are a republic slavishly clinging to a broken system that assures you will forever elect presidents and other representatives whose beliefs reflect a minority of the populace. Your hypocrisy is laid bare at every turn, such as evangelicals who embrace guns and Donald trump. There’s your atrocious civil rights record that continues today with voter suppression and the caging of children. So rest assured, America, your status as a global role model is not at risk, because it was an illusion to begin with.
    Brian Smith, Waterloo, Ontario

    Hikerva also says: “In my opinion, this article has no place in the Adirondack Almanack.

    But it is here in the Almanack Hikerva? And it is relative in some way! Why would you want to silence voices like Vanessa’s, and those others who respond to it? Your response is part of the problem I’ll have you know!

    • Boreas says:


      Good points! People keep stating that the AA is not the place for political discussions, yet the majority of reader posts on the AA are political in nature. Typically it is Adirondack-based for sure, but we all live in the US which is under attack from within at the moment. OUR district representative in the House has continued the same delusional argument for overturning the election – an act of insurrection in itself – and we are not supposed to discuss her and the past and future results of her rhetoric?

      Our woodlands, streams, mountains, and wildlife will still be here after the dust settles from this historical civil unrest – whether there is still a Union or not. Is there something more worthy of discussion on these pages? Anywhere?

  19. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Boreas says: “not all Republicans are supporting the violent insurrection.”

    I gotta say Boreas. Thanks to Trump I have come to appreciate some Republlcans, and there is not the anti-republican (for just reasons) stance in me that may have been at one time. There was a republican who came on after last weeks atrocious event and said to a reporter, “I didn’t think I would ever come to say something like this, but swearing Biden in cannot come soon enough!” or words to that effect.

    And of course listening to public radio, where you get hundreds of voices, and lots more, from both sides of the aisle (versus ‘one voice only’ such as when zeroed-in on Hannity or Rush or Beck, etc…) I have come to respect many republicans who hold power in this country. There is hope I am here to say! I am not a huge fan of the democrats as one might think as I believe both parties are why we even got Trump in the first place. We can only hope that after four horrible years of the dysfunction we just went through, that it was enough to maybe see some kind of change these next few coming years so as not to go through such again.

    Time will tell but we’d better hurry up and get the ‘change’ thing going soon as time is not on our side!

    • Boreas says:


      Again, well said! At this stage, we are likely to become a 3-party reality – Republicans, Democrats, and Trumplicans unless the GOP can reverse the schism within their party. Remember the rise of the Tea Party? Seems quaint in comparison. I am heartened by the stance many large corporations are starting to take against the Trumplicans – perhaps when we start talking lack of funds, ears will perk up. Cash fills the sails of politicians. Money ultimately speaks louder than Rush and Beck.

  20. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Bob Meyer says: “Whether based in reality or not, all feelings are valid and need to be addressed if our nation is ever to heal.”

    And it starts with good leadership Bob!

  21. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Boreas says: “Our woodlands, streams, mountains, and wildlife will still be here after the dust settles from this historical civil unrest…”

    It’s a good thing the Adirondacks aren’t a National Park hey Boreas! They would have been threatened for sure with drilling what with the leadership we just went through these past four years…..just for the spite of it, being how much Trump didn’t like New York’s governor, or it’s District Attorneys. Which comes to mind….Is there any body that he did like?

  22. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Jeep says: “The election was rigged, no doubt about it! What the hell makes you think Republicans want to reconcile??? Like president Trumps said, “this thing isn’t over, it’s just beginning! He’ll still be around for a long time setting liberal’s hair on fire! Lol”

    So you are of the mind that because one man says it was rigged, it was rigged…is what you’re saying right Jeep? Never mind that they did recounts with both parties watching over, judges from both sides of the fence presiding over, respected jurists, some of whom Trump empowered, saying there has been not the irregularities he,. who is historically known to be an extremely well-versed, professional liar, has been spewing forth on Twitter or whatever his podium was. Is this right Jeep? That you believe this one man, even with his shady history, has revealed to you the truth? Have you ever stopped to think that it’s possible you’re wrong about him? Do you think he gives two hoots about you? Have you seen how he puts everyone down, degrades them, makes them less than what they are, if they disagree with him? Even his own vice prez? Is this the kind of person you aspire to Jeep?

    • Jeep says:

      Charlie you should apply for a job at fake news CNN. Perhaps you could help Don Lemon down that black hole that swallowed Maylasia flight 370 and put an end to that mystery

      • Bob Meyer says:

        Your comments only go to prove your delusional, hateful feelings and views.
        You’d be right at home in Russia or Hungary.
        I’m sure you will come back at me with more falsehoods and maybe personal attacks.
        No matter; will not change the facts above nor convince the vast majority on this site, Republicans or Democrats, who see through your rhetoric.

        • Jeep says:

          Easy there Bob I think your hair might be on fire. Maybe you should go back into your “reality” world, the one where “men can have babies too” and calm down a bit

  23. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Vanessa says: “Well, the fact that local ADK residents were inspired to write about Black Lives Matter in this very publication earlier this year is partially what inspired me to propose some of the content I’ve submitted. As the other reader says – local ADK folks love to talk politics, in my experience.”

    You shouldn’t feel obligated to justify speaking your mind here Vanessa. It just doesn’t feel right. Even a subtle hint of being suppressed when speaking one’s mind throws me, no matter where it is! Say what you have to say and do not feel uneasy about it. If you’re not being hateful, inciting violence, etc…feel free to speak, and if somebody here don’t like it there’s a whole wide world of media out there that will welcome their limited views I assure you.

    • Vanessa says:

      That’s very kind Charlie, thank you 🙂 Most appreciated.

    • ADKnative says:

      “You shouldn’t feel obligated to justify speaking your mind…”??? Oh my goodness, let me get out the shovel, the crap’s getting nose high in here. The exact opposite is true. Liberals relish these opportunities to spout their holier-than-thou, all-knowing, condescending BS. It’s conservatives who just figure, my voice will be drowned out anyway so why bother? I’ll go to the polls and vote my beliefs rather than constantly spewing my infinite wisdom and touting my superior morals at all within hearing range. That’s exactly what nearly half the country did this past November. That’s why all you saw earlier in the year were pro-BLM articles. The news is biased, even in this neck of the woods.

      When I saw all those protests this year I thought it was awful. Awful that here we are in the middle of a pandemic and all these self-centered, irresponsible people are gathering. But no one pointed that out. Then came violence. But that was okay too, because it was for the “correct” type of cause. Give me a break.

      I don’t condone what happened in Washington DC, not in the least. I’m also not a Trump fan. But I understand why these people are frustrated. And in case anyone wonders what my affiliation is, I’m Independent. I am also not some backwoods hick with no education like many of you seem to think all Adirondackers are. I actually hold graduate degrees from top universities. And in case you say that’s “privilege”, I beg to differ. I worked my butt off, earned scholarships, took on jobs while taking classes, and am now paying off my student loans like everyone else (living paycheck to paycheck as well). No one gave me anything, nor do I feel entitled, which is why I never felt inspired to write about those previous protests – not that my views ever would have seen the light of day in this publication anyway.

      Vanessa, it is highly unlikely that there will be any healing until the rhetoric on BOTH sides simmers down. But you already know that.

      • Boreas says:


        Do you know of ANY articles/essays with opposing arguments having been rejected by the editorial staff of AA? Have any been submitted? You can’t have balanced journalism if one “side” refuses to participate in the content. The Comments section isn’t journalism – it is just a rant room.

        Write an essay. Cite some references. Sign your name to it. It isn’t difficult. But don’t be surprised when the Rant section reacts to it negatively.

  24. Bob Meyer says:

    Re: Jeep’s comment to me about ‘hair in fire (I’m bald ?)
    reality world and men having babies’ …. need I say more?

  25. old man filled with anger says:

    There can be no “make nice” with the hate mongering fact defying D-bag supporters who cherish the lies and falsehoods. They truly believe that the election was stolen. That all of those who verified the votes and the courts including the Supreme Court were part of a plot to take over the country from the D-bag. Now they want the other side to forgive and forget and heal while still threatening to make an even greater attack on the nation if the country does not suppress the majority of votes. For years running up to his 2016 win he has lied, bullied, threatened and stood for violence. Not once then did he call for healing, respect or decency. Nor did any of the Republicans politicians with maybe one or two exceptions. His rhetoric was base, crude and filled with lies and hate. Not at all becoming of the honor bestowed on him to lead. He is the head of the venomous snake and should be held responsible. HIs minions should also feel the weight of the justice scale. When a forest is half destroyed by a disaster how long does it take to heal?

  26. Zephyr says:

    It is up to the Adk Almanack to decide what gets published here and not those complaining about what they have obviously just read. If you don’t want to read it you don’t have to! Here’s a question for those true believers commenting here who claim to believe the election was stolen: “Do you support attacks on the capitol and continued armed insurrection?” That seems to be what you are saying. In practical terms you might notice that this is a dead-end movement. Hundreds have already been arrested. The National Guard is now guarding the capitol. The military has strongly denounced this insurrection. You are vastly outnumbered by people who don’t want to settle political differences with violence.

  27. Eric says:

    Don’t worry Vanessa , the Democrats now have control of the House , Senate and White House . They’re going to take good care of you , just like here in NYS. LOL !

  28. Charlie Stehlin says:

    ADKnative says: “You shouldn’t feel obligated to justify speaking your mind…”??? Oh my goodness, let me get out the shovel, the crap’s getting nose high in here. The exact opposite is true. Liberals relish these opportunities to spout their holier-than-thou, all-knowing, condescending BS.

    > I don’t get why you would need a shovel regards me expressing the above ADK. Suppression nerves me! And I can understand this aversion to liberals as I very much agree a chunk of them go too far left, which is only sparking the far right to organize and put up a fight such as they have been doing, and which they are pro at by the way. If the liberals were smart they’d play the game smart and back off from trying to take away guns if that is really what they are doing which I don’t believe to be the case. Some guns don’t need to be out there for sure, but to suggest that nobody should own a gun is, more or less giving justification for those religious kooks on the right who say no women should have an abortion. I’m against both of those stances, which places me more towards your court if this is what being an independent means, which I don’t think it does as we are all unique in our own varied ways and I do not profess to be a member of any group-think in this day and age besides!

    If the gays were smart they’d keep mum on matters. Per instance when there was that to-do some few years back when gay couples went to be wed at barns whose owners, some of them, had their particular religious views and were opposed to marrying same-sex couples in their barns. Or bakeries who refused to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. They have that right, as much as people have their right to profess atheism! So instead of keeping mum and just moving along to the next barn owner, or bakery, who just might be okay with having same-sex weddings in his or her barn, or baking cakes for them, they raised their voices instead, went to the news, caused a big commotion, and if you ask me it wasn’t the smart thing to do. That stirred up the far right, especially those who profess to know and abide by a God they can never prove exist……….and so these are just two examples of why this big movement from the right these past some years, and why Donald Trump, who has got to be the closest thing to Satan yet in our political arena, is even in the public mania such as he has been these past dysfunctional four years.

    “I understand why these people are frustrated.”

    > We’re all frustrated ADKresident, and it would be interesting to really know what frustrates the minds of those loyal Trump supporters, because frankly ‘I don’t get it!’ I can understand not liking Biden but to support the antithesis of all that is good….is beyond me! One example are those evangelicals that have supported Trump, those millions, they are the very reason why there is that clause in the First Amendment in our Constitution….. the Separation of Church and State. Lordbethankit!

    We all have different values ADKresident! Some of us look beyond ourselves while others cannot get past the image in the mirror….and this is where we are today!

    “The ordinary man reads little, and thinks less. The discussions and theories of science mean next to nothing to him. In matters of religion, which are of supreme importance to him, he has been wont to accept what he was taught by his parents and those in authority. Very few act on their own convictions.”
    B. Abdy Collins, C.I.E From Death is not the end 1939

    “Pride, by a great mistake, is commonly taken for a greatness of soul; as if the soul was to be ennobled by vice: For that pride is one of the most enormous of vices, I think no reasonable man can dispute: It is the base offspring of weakness, imperfection, and ignorance: since, were we not weak and imperfect creatures, we should not be destitute of knowledge of ourselves; and had we that knowledge, it were impossible we should be proud, but, on the contrary, true humility is a certain mark of bright reason, and elevated soul, as being the natural consequences of them.”
    From The Hive or A collection of thoughts on civil, moral, sentimental and religious subjects Holbrook and Fessenden 1826

  29. Charlie Stehlin says:

    ADKnative says: “When I saw all those protests this year I thought it was awful. Awful that here we are in the middle of a pandemic and all these self-centered, irresponsible people are gathering.”

    There’s hypocrisy in what you say ADKnative, but aside form that, as I keep saying….most of those protesters were very peaceful. In Troy, NY 16,000 showed up and not one incident! Very impressive! Evidently those protests were not very well-organized, but that is not the issue! The issue is, “What got those protests started in the first place?” ‘Murder by cop’ & ‘racism’ is what, which the far right in this country seems to be okay with, or, at the very least, have no say in the matter, because I suppose it is of no import to them.

    “Self-centered & irresponsible” you say. As if you know firsthand all of them ten-thousand lots of protesters which is quite a stretch. I know some of them, and I understand their passions, and I can attest they are good people who are not into themselves as much as they are into the ‘community-spirit’ thing, helping others… the poor, blacks, the homeless…. (they are better at it than me I confess); they are creating community gardens, they are buying vacant buildings, fixing them up and putting them to good use again…… It’s not about them as much as it is about doing good unto others, caring people who are very good stewards of the earth also which is a major plus in my book. They look ahead and there is a large air of intelligence, as a whole, about them….which sets them apart. Not all of them are perfect (and of course, I do not know all of them) but in general they are “good!” They have every right to protest as the First Amendment encourages them to do so. Would you wish to take that away from them because you see things in a different light?

    Your points are loud and clear ADKnative but are not valid, or are partially valid, and I can go on and on to dispute and cite examples why they are not, and you can go on and on to one-up on me, and this is where we are….divided. I’m open and I’m all for talking and trying to work things out and to find a happy medium, but how do we, as a society, get there from these polar opposites separating us? It would take a miracle at this point!

    Maybe something catastrophic has to happen for more of us to see how we are all ‘one’ on this ever-shrinking orb we call Earth; for us to come to realize that all living things matter, not just us narcissistic humans. 9-11 didn’t wake us up! This pandemic hasn’t! What next? I dread the thought, and not just for me dread, but for future generations dread!

    • JohnL says:

      Forgive me if I missed something, or if I’m overstepping asking this, but are you, Charlie Stehlin, and CharlieS one and the same? Just curious about the two different signatures lately. If I am overstepping, I apologize. Thanks and Happy New Year CharlieS/Charlie Stehlin

  30. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Zephyr says: “Here’s a question for those true believers commenting here who claim to believe the election was stolen: “Do you support attacks on the capitol and continued armed insurrection?”

    As I always say Zephyr, people have to be stepped aside from their ignorance to even know it is alive and well within them. You cannot be fixed if you’re not even aware that you’re broke. I hate to even have to say this but it is true! Think Isis! Think all of those Germans who went along with Hitler back in them horrible days. Nothing has changed so far as human nature goes, there’s ignorance, there’s intelligence, and there’s under-liers in-between. Some of us are well aware who is who in these regards. The other’s? I’m not religious, but i’m open, and I suppose maybe some prayers now and again thrown their ways won’t hurt.

  31. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Bob Meyer says: “Your comments only go to prove your delusional, hateful feelings and views….”

    Bob! Ignore Jeep! He feeds on conflict and he strives attention to make up for the deficit disorder within him, or seemingly so. His replies! When you read them who do they remind you of? Like minds attract you know. I believe in karma! The rest will fall in place. I say this with not the least bit of antagonism in me. I am at peace with myself. There is truth and there is the opposite of…..truth always prevails. But what will we do with it? Time will tell. There’s just too many good people out there for the ship to go down. But then there’s the ignorance too! This scares me. One thing at a time I suppose. Trump is gone and he’s sinking fast….. There’s hope yet!

    • Jeep says:

      Wow Charlie dude! You and bob are the ones with the bad case of theTrump derangement syndrome and you’re calling me out for some sort of deficit disorder. You two have spewed more dislike and hatred for your fellow man in the last couple of days than most people experience in a life time! And I’m the one with issues?? Maybe you and bob should reach out for some serious help before all that hate consumes both of you! Probably be able to get a group rate!

  32. Charlie Stehlin says:

    The technology, which I am still getting used to, is tricky JohnL There are options in the send box, and with me it has been CharlieS & the longer Charlie Stehlin, one and the same human. I wasn’t paying attention the other day and so hit the full name to go out accidently and so here I am why not! I have nothing to hide, I am not ashamed of who is me and I have yet to lose sleep over such at night. Thanks for asking.

  33. David Bower says:

    Thank you, Vanessa, for a thoughtful essay. America, the Christian churches, and my fellow Caucasian citizens need to decide where they stand on the issue of white supremacy. Some are adamantly in favor of continued white supremacy and white dominion over people of color in every facet of life. They are committed, and they’re not going away. Some are loathe to look this horror in the face and call it out for what it is. By doing nothing, they allow it to spread. Only some of us have the courage to stand up and face down this obscene contortion of American values. I stand with the last group. Please join me, and help America move into a brighter future for all of us.

    • Zephyr says:

      I’m with you David! I think people of good heart, particularly younger people, are chipping away at this, but we have a long way to go.

  34. John Marona says:

    Well , it’s obvious reading this piece and the replies that we’re all not going to be singing kumbia any time soon. There has been plenty of violence on both sides, though in most cases only a small minority, but then , they get all the exposure on the media. I’m quite happy to just stay home and not have to encounter any of you.

  35. Charlie Stehlin says:

    David Bower says: “Only some of us have the courage to stand up and face down this obscene contortion of American values. I stand with the last group.”

    Thanks David. It’s people like you who are the real heroes, the ones that stand up for the oppressed, the little guy and gal, and then get knocked down, or chastised, or belittled for doing what our moral conscience leads us to do. These right wing fools only know the history they wish to know, not the real history. Pure ignorance is what motivates them. They do not realize that this freedom we have, which is slipping away, got started by immigrants who were fed up with being suppressed in their (supposed) Christian homelands…who came here on boats to find a better, unsuppressed way. Just like the Mexicans and South Americans are still doing today, or were doing until Donald Trump stepped up to his racist podium four years ago. The history is out there but we’ll pick and choose only the history which suits our limited views of this ever so shrinking world. It’s a shame all of the ignorance! In the positive vein……there are a lot of good people out there that are trying to do the right thing. If it wasn’t for all of those good people just think how much worse things would be!

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