IT’S JUST A NORMAL DAY
It’s just a normal day in the neighborhood, A7 D7 G B7 E7
It’s just a normal day A7 D7 G
Breaking windows, breaking doors, D7 D+5
Been down this road before. G G#dim
But that was back in wartime, though, D7
Two hundred years ago. G G+
Never quite like this, it’s evident, C C#dim
Attacked by a sitting president, G E7
Who’s tweeting accolades A7
To people rushing barricades D7
But the GOP says that it’s A-OK. Am A#dim D D+5 G
They can’t think of a better play D7 D+5
To run on the USA. G G+5
You know, this can be the new Am A#dim D D+5 G
American way. G E7
It’s just a normal day. A7 D7 G
Painted people in the hall,
Proud boys and horns and all,
Beat up cops and vandalize,
Right before your very eyes.
They’re on an a slippery slope,
Got a gallows and brought some rope,
Baseball bats and bear spray.
Congress barely gets away.
OK, so maybe they were armed, but meant no harm! D7
Just patriotic charm! G
They’re really friendly folks! D7
Whole thing was – just a hoax! G G+5
Not an insurrection, C C#dim
Just how they show affection! G E7
Don’t go and get delusional, A7
I’m sure that it’s all constitutional. D7
AGAIN! the GOP says that it’s A-OK Am A#dim D D+5 G
Maybe that’s the way it seems D7 D+5
In the America of their dreams G G+5
If you don’t get your way, all you gotta do is Am A#dim D D+5
Call your friends G
Tell ’em all to bring your guns D7
To the Capitol, have some fun! G G+5
You know, This can be the new Am A#dim D D+5
American way! G B7 E7
It’s just a normal day in the neighborhood, A7 D7 G E7
It’s just a normal day! A7 D7 G
©Doug Hendren 2021 (Chorus tune is a parody of Country Joe McDonald’s “Fixin’ To Die” rag). Many thanks to Nancy Beall and Carol and Michael Snell-Feikema for backup vocals!
What’s it about? On January 6, 2021, a large crowd directly incited by Donald Trump stormed the US capitol with the express intent of interrupting the final counting by Congress of presidential electoral votes. The event resulted in 5 deaths, 140 injured police officers, and put congressional members and staff in harm’s way. Drawing on numerous sources, the New York Times has painstakingly assembled a vivd, damning and highly disturbing video timeline testimony of the events of that day. The brief scenes shown in this music video draw heavily on the Times footage.
Organizers of the assault have now reported collaboration in planning from several Republican members of Congress and White House staff.
Three things stand out for me from the video timeline. First is the inescapable observation that after fabricating and relentlessly amplifying the fiction of a stolen election, Trump inflamed the crowd and directed it to storm the capitol.
Second, it is clear from the footage that many members of the crowd were wearing armor, carried weapons and were acting in a coordinated way. The Capitol itself was breeched at numerous points from all sides more or less simultaneously, which had not been clear from early reporting on the insurrection.
Perhaps most disturbing of all was the speed with which Republican members of Congress began to “whitewash” the event, downplaying the violence, and its significance. The Republican consensus was that the events did not justify bipartisan investigation, cynically characterizing investigation as “political grandstanding.” One representative went so far as to say January 6th had been “like a normal tourist visiting day.”
January 6th was anything but a normal day. It was a violent insurrection, incited by an outgoing US president desperate to hold onto power. It was facilitated by numerous members of a radicalized Republican Party, who have subsequently continued to obstruct efforts to properly investigate the events of that day. It is difficult to imagine they are really so ill-informed as to believe Trump won the election, with a mountain of straightforward evidence (and more than 50 failed lawsuits) saying otherwise. More likely, they know perfectly well where the truth lies, but are willing to sweep it under the rug for short-term political advantage, since Trumpism remains popular among their electorate.
Could US democracy fail? It has happened in numerous countries in the past century. The stages along the way are disturbingly familiar, as chronicled in the references listed below. Democracy turns out to be quite fragile. Read them if you dare! But the NYT video is under an hour, and very much worth watching. I guarantee you’ll come away with more of a picture than was possible with all the early reporting.
US democracy is not invincible. We must not take it for granted. The January 6th insurrection must be thoroughly probed, not dismissed. Participants must be held accountable, especially those who planned it and fanned the flames, seeking to undermine the quality and confidence of our electoral process, and to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.
New York Times: Day of Rage video documentary of the events of January 6, 2021.
How Democracies Die, Stephen Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (2018), Crown Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, New York
Strongmen; Mussolini to the Present, Ruth Ben-Ghiat (2020), WW Norton & Co. Inc., New York, NY.