Armenian Christmas morning at the Sharpmans was pretty cool and chill. They got together and got me a tie and cufflinks I could wear with my tux… Then we had breakfast and I went back to the pool house to shower and shave. I put on the TV to see if there was anything about the results of the Georgia senate races…
…and, then, of course, what I saw had very little to do with David Perdue either keeping or not keeping his senate seat.
I reckon I wasn’t the only person to have been totally shocked by the images of people climbing up the walls of the Capitol and vandalizing the place…and then hearing that someone was shot in the process. I know my American history pretty well, so I didn’t have to have the people on the TV tell me that the last time something like that happened to the Capitol was the War of 1812…and that time it wasn’t Americans who were assaulting the seat of our government.
Since it was Christmas for the boys, I said we wouldn’t have any class, but, just like I was afraid I was going to have to, I ended up having to explain what was going on to Jacob and Matteo after they heard the grown ups talking about it at lunchtime. The boys were as puzzled as I was, but they turned to me with their questions because, well, because I’m their teacher for the time being, I reckon.
Robert took some of the pressure off me and said that maybe we should all go up to the schoolroom and talk about it. I was glad that Robert was coming, since I knew the discussion was going to have to be political, and I didn’t want to give the boys the wrong political viewpoint on the events. The Sharpmans are libertarians, remember, and I don’t know enough about libertarians to know what they’d make of the day’s events and who they’d be blaming.
Turns out Robert didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have said: the people who broke into the Capitol were bad and did something very, very wrong. Then the boys asked the tough question of why they started it. So we told the boys that there were people protesting the election…which made the boys ask why again, since they knew Biden won the election back in November, but me and Robert agreed that the thing to say was that the people who broke into the Capitol had been misled into thinking that the outcome could be changed…y’all can see how this got real complicated real fast.
And then the boys asked if this was like Black Lives Matter.
I could feel myself blushing from discomfort…but then I looked at Robert, and he looked as uncomfortable as I felt. This was a pretty heavy discussion to be having with kids on Christmas.
So we did our best to explain that rioting of any kind was bad, and that the people who vandalize property deserve to be punished, regardless of who they are. That seemed pretty obvious to me (and to Robert, after we discussed it afterwards), although I reckon it’s pretty controversial and that I may lose some followers for writing that I told the boys that. Oh well…that’s what happened…and I stand by what I said.
We shut off the TV so the boys wouldn’t have to watch things like the fucked up selfies some of the jerkoffs in the riot posted…like the asshole who not only took a picture of himself with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, but then posted it on social media. Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to do post evidence of your committing a crime online??
Interestingly, the boys didn’t ask until later the obvious question of how did the people get into the Capitol in the first place – weren’t there police? That was a super hard question to answer…and I didn’t have Robert around when they asked me. I told them I didn’t know, that of course there were Capitol Hill Police, but that they probably weren’t prepared for what happened.
The one good thing was that it was 72° at noontime, which meant it was ok for the boys to go swimming in the afternoon. Never mind them: I badly needed to burn off some steam myself. So me and Jacob spent a whole lot of time in the pool…and Matteo got to be left alone and not forced to be athletic except for a short swim after I’d exhausted both myself and Jacob.
After I showered and got dressed, it was time for the real Armenian Christmas dinner for everyone in the bubble. I didn’t have anything to wear that was nice, and I’d of liked to get dressed up some for Christmas, but, well…they had to make do with jeans and a tshirt, although the crew came dressed pretty casual too. We had all the bombass food we had ten days earlier, and I, for one, was glad to see it again, especially the lamb and rice dish…and, oh yeah, these amazing cheese pastries as an appetizer. Mrs. Bedrossian really is an amazing cook. There were some delicious things for dessert too, including a rice pudding that was like no rice pudding I’ve had before and this flat cake with honey on top that Robert was careful to cut into exactly 12 slices. I think – I just think – that was because this was a Twelfth Night celebration as well as Christmas. When the food finally stopped coming, I got up stuffed and feeling fairly happy.
I’d have felt happier if the day hadn’t played out the way it had, and I still had my own share of questions about what happened in Washington. So I went back to the pool house and called Dad to see what he thought of it all.
Y’all know Dad’s a veteran, and you can probably guess that he’s a Republican. Or maybe it’s more fair to call him a conservative, since he’s got his disagreements with the Republican party…and with the president. But he loves his country, stands up for the flag, respects the Constitution, and believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, not just the ones who agree with him politically. Dad also supports law and order big time…so y’all should have heard him last summer when there were riots and shit going down in places like Minneapolis and Portland. He was talking exactly the same way about the people who broke into the Capitol, vandalized it, and left several people dead. I won’t say that Dad never swears, but he doesn’t do it very often…so I was real surprised when he called the rioters “fuckin assholes.”
“The Capitol is sacred,” Dad said, “it’s a symbol of how we’re a republic governed by laws. And defacing it or disrespecting is not acceptable…let alone having people die there. And,” he went on to say, “part of the blame for what happened lies with the president. I know he didn’t tell those people to riot, but he should have been a lot more careful about what he’s been saying these past two months…”
“…but he’s never careful about that…,” I said.
“Right, Shortstop,” he said. He used to call me ‘Shortstop’ a lot when I was little. He doesn’t do it much nowadays though. “This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to what comes out of your mouth. All this saying he won the election was bound to get him into serious trouble sooner or later. And it’s made us conservatives look bad. All conservatives…not just the ones who have been so stupidly insisting he won the election. He should have been a man and conceded back in November.” When Dad says a dude isn’t acting like a man, it’s one of the worst things he can say about a him “He lost. You retreat when you lose and live to fight another day,” Dad said. “You don’t keep harping on a defeat and pretending it’s a victory when anyone with half a brain in his head can see what really happened. And you also don’t go around and make Americans doubt our electoral system.”
“Then you don’t think that there was any messing around with the ballots?”
“No,” Dad said, pretty firmly. “I have faith in my fellow Americans that they wouldn’t mess with something so important. The elections are as sacred as the Capitol building. They’re one of the things that our republic is founded on.” (Dad’s always very careful to say ‘republic’ and not ‘democracy’ like a lot of people say. Like I said, he’s very big on the Constitution, and that makes it clear that we’re a republic and not a democracy…although you can say we’re a democratic republic…or a representative democracy.) “Trump’s done some good things since he got into office. I just hope that he hasn’t blown it all by how stupid he’s been since the election.
“He led all those people who were there demonstrating to think that congress was going to reverse the results of the election…which was ridiculous to anyone who actually stopped to think about it. Pence doesn’t even have the power to do what Trump said he would do. But when they realized that congress wasn’t going to do something that nobody reasonable would ever have thought they would do in the first place, the crowd got disappointed and pissed off…and it only takes a few bad people like there were there today to turn a disappointed crowd into an angry mob.
“Don’t get me wrong, Shortstop,” Dad continued, “most of the people who were demonstrating in Washington weren’t scaling the walls of the Capitol and busting windows…and they have a First Amendment right to protest, even if what they’re protesting is just plain dumb…or, at best, wishful thinking. So it wasn’t everybody there…but it was enough people there to make everyone look bad. And I hope that the FBI catches up with each and every one of those assholes who broke into the Capitol….
“To prove what assholes whey were, they didn’t even have a plan for once they got there. I know people are calling it an ‘insurrection’ – but you need a plan for something to be an insurrection, and putting your feet up on the Speaker of the House’s desk isn’t a plan. Taking the Bastille in 1789 was an insurrection; it led to something.” Dad’s a history buff, I may not have told y’all that. “This was just a riot, pure and simple…a riot in which some people died for no good reason at all, except the officer who got killed in the line of duty. He at least died defending his country. He wasn’t some asshole running around in fur and horns. Fuck.” Like I told you, Dad swears pretty infrequently; tonight he was talking like Keaton.
“What I’d like to know – and we may never know the answer – is how come they had such an easy time getting past the Capitol police and into the building. I reckon it’s better that they got in than that that the police fired into the crowd – thank the Lord that didn’t happen – but it seems too easy to me. But, like I said, we may never know.”
So that’s what Dad said, and I reckon I agree with him, but, then, we usually agree when it comes to politics. Living in California hasn’t changed the way I look at our country. One thing I do know is that what happened on Wednesday was heinous. The other thing that was real clear on Thursday morning was that the aftermath was going to be super toxic for the country.
Before I could get too involved in anything political on Thursday morning, though, Maya asked me if I could come and talk to her in her office after breakfast. She never did that before, so I got pretty nervous. I thought I might have done something wrong explaining the attack on the Capitol to the boys and that she was pissed off at me or something…even though Robert was around and did at least half the explaining on Wednesday.
Turns out that wasn’t why she wanted to see me.
She was going to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse.