Sorry to bring politics into Granite Geek again, but I’m writing this the day after Trump incited bands of punks to storm the U.S. Capitol in a last-gasp attempt to keep hold of power and attention. It failed because of his lifelong inability to plan and execute anything, yet the damage to America, both inside and outside our borders, will taint the rest of my life.
Trump’s four years as president have been worse than I feared, damaging not just science and technology but the basic fabric of representative democracy. That’s why I changed my 42-year practice of of avoiding politics and urged people to vote against him this year, saying he was bad for science and bad for America.
The biggest disappointment since 2016 has been the way most of the Republican Party, one of the nation’s most important institutions, sucked up to Trump. I hope his amateur-hour insurrection will shock the party back to its senses. If not, it deserves to be replaced and forgotten.
As for myself, I’ve been shocked into re-asserting my belief in this country. For decades my family has flown an American flag on a pole that my wife built well behind our house. I’m going to start flying another one on the porch, visible from the road. Yes, patriotism can be the last refuge of the scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson said, but that’s not all it is. Now is the time to take patriotism back from the racists, thugs and whiners emboldened by Trump, who have managed to taint the idea of embracing the Stars and Stripes.
It’s just a gesture but it’s a sign that although America i in a dark place right now, we can restore its honor, its courage and its wisdom. There’s a lot of work to be done and the world needs the United States to do it.