USA POLITICS: America in January 2021- By Francis Quamina Farrier

Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol. | (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) — Click to enlarge

The deadly attempted insurrection which occurred in Washington, DC, in the United States of America on January 6, 2021, will be a talking point for weeks and months to come.

It will also be mentioned for years in the future. That unexpected event which tested the democracy in the USA was extremely shocking. For many Guyanese who are “America watchers” it was not really unexpected though, bearing in mind the constant fiery rhetoric by the American president for many months – even years.       

There are continuous claims by President Donald Trump that the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election was stolen from him, and that he had won by a landslide. Without presenting any solid evidence for his claim, Trump has caused many rattled feelings among Americans – those who support the President’s claim and those who do not. For many Guyanese, it is alarming, bearing in mind the influential role which America played in Guyana’s May 2, 2020 General Elections.

The word “Patriotism” which, though honourable in itself, is sometimes used for evil intentions and deeds, such as suppressing sections of a population, or interfering in another country’s sovereign rights.

HOLLYWOOD MOVIES ABOUT PATRIOTISM

Here now is a short list of some American movies with the most patriotic themes: “The Patriotic Man,” “Last Ounce of Courage,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Glory,” “The Longest Day,” “Casablanca” and the most patriotic of them all, the vintage “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” starring one of my all-time favourite Hollywood actors, Academy Award Winner, James Stewart. That Hollywood movie was produced in 1939 during the era of America’s ‘innocence’, if you will. In the movie, when Mr. Smith arrives in Washington he addresses a group gathered in a hall where he beseeches them to live better lives; “Love thy neighbour…no matter his race, colour or creed.” he tells them with passion ringing through his voice. (Great actor, that Jimmy Stewart).

Two weeks ago, on January 6, 2021, it was a destructive mob that went to Washington, invading the Capital building, allegedly at the urging of the President of the United States. The invaders went in, smashing everything they could. Desecrating the building. “Domestic terrorists,” is what they have been called. The disgraceful and embarrassing scenes were transmitted on television screens all around a shocked world. All of that took place in AMERICA, and not Guyana or some other (so called) third world country that traditionally look up to the United States!

Think of that attack on the Capital of the USA as a movie scripted by someone who desired to shame America to the rest of the world. The producers may entitle that movie, “Hooligans go to Washington” and starring Hogan Hooligan. Analyzing such a movie script as an action-packed ‘movie’ from start to finish, one would conclude that the country in which the action is located, has no idea of what democracy is all about. It is inconceivable that any Hollywood screenwriter would have conjured up such an anti-patriotic plot against the Capital of the United States of America. If the Capital is to be over-run the way in which it actually happened, the screenwriter would have it done by green or purple aliens from another planet. Certainly not by those whose images were seen and who Law Enforcement Agencies are now rounding up in all fifty States, to bring the perpetrators to justice. The soundtrack accompanying such a movie would most likely be that of a trumpet being played extremely loudly and constantly emanating sour notes.

In 1974, I wrote the screenplay for that Guyana/Suriname produced movie “OPERATION MAKONAIMA” starring Marc Matthews and Malcolm Panday. As such I have some experience with that aspect of movie production. The imagination of Hollywood screenwriters has gone through the clouds, so to speak, with movies such as Star Trek, ET and Guardians of the Galaxy. But one wonders whether any one of them would have come up with a screenplay such as the recent attack on the Capital building in Washington DC. Reports are that the Vice President was allegedly targeted for execution by hanging. Chants of, “Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.” resonated through the Capital while the marauding terrorists were destroying everything they could.

Some American Law Makers and Television Hosts have labeled the violent event as an insurrection. While some countries have post-election conflicts, no one expected that such a terrible unrest could take place in America – the bastion of Democracy. Worse still, that the country’s president is allegedly the instigator! An immigrant to the USA from Europe, who became governor of California, is Hollywood action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was on television last Sunday with an impassioned plea to his fellow Americans, to support President-elect Joe Biden.

The former Hollywood action star denounced his fellow Republican, President Donald Trump, and referred to him as the worst American president in history. Schwarzenegger went on to relate his boyhood years in Austria, Europe and how the Nazis created fear and horror. Displaying the sword which was used by his character in the movie “Conan the Barbarian” Schwarzenegger emotionally talked about a sword being put in the fire then plunged in cold water then pounded. He concluded with the expression that America, a country which he loves, will come back.

Meanwhile, the December 7, 2020 General Elections in (so-called third world) Ghana in West Africa with 17 million voters, came off with hardly a hitch. The result was announced in less than two days and President Nana Akufo-Addo, who visited Guyana in June 2019, was sworn in for a second term.

AMERICAN PEACE AND LOVE

Tomorrow, January 18, 2021, is a Public Holiday in the United States. It is in honour for one of the greatest and most peaceful American Heroes; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. Let us try to imagine what that African-American Civil Rights Hero and Nobel Peace Prize Winner would think, regards what recently transpired in Washington, D.C. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King jr. who lead many peaceful Non-violent Civil Rights demonstrations, was on the receiving end of much violence during his relative short life as he fought for civil rights for the disenfranchised and marginalized in America.

The demonstrations which he organized and in which he participated as a brave leader, were always orderly and peaceful. With arms linked the Civil Rights demonstrators walked along singing “We Shall Overcome” until ‘law enforcement’ literally let loose the dogs of war, supported with tear gas, water hoses and other means of physical attacks. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. never once responded with any violence, yet he had to endure so much violence on his person and those who marched with him for civil rights in America. At age 35, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, being one of the youngest persons to have received that prestigious honour. On Thursday April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated by a coward’s bullet. He was just age 39.

In his commentary of January 9, 2021 in the Capital Gazette, Columnist Eugene Peterson noted, “I believe he (Dr. King) would challenge us to rise above our petty set of perceived grievances and forge ahead with a new sense of optimism and hope. He’d agree with President-elect Joe Biden that any thing is possible in our great nation if we just work to make it happen.” Eugene Peterson stated. The spirit and message for a truly great America envisioned by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., and so many other great American Leaders, will always permeate within the American society. During August 2013, I travelled from Guyana to Washington, DC, for the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech, and believe me, I felt his presence.

Francis Quamina Farrier in front of the American Capital in Washington, DC which was over-run by a large mob of domestic terrorists on January 6,2021. (Photo of 2019)

Farrier wearing a t-shirt with the image of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.

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