By Vanette Colmenares
New York – More than 10 days ago, I wrote about an eventful week supposed to be just for my diary but then I thought of having it published as an experience of the week.
However, I hesitated when I realized that it might bring out some mixed messages to those who would read it. Anyway, here it goes.
That week started on Tuesday, the 5th of January, with a final runoff in Georgia that eventually brought the Senate, which was mostly Republicans, into a tie.
The next day was a memorable event of certifying the Electoral College votes that certified Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as Vice President. What turned out to be a ceremonial and a solemn event became chaotic and unruly – which led to the second impeachment of the incumbent president.
Initially, on the 6th of January, my husband was going to work, but the workers whom he was supposed to supervise opted to reschedule due to unfinished projects on their part.
Seeing the opportunity of a free day, he decided to go to Washington, D.C. as an observer of the rally by Trump supporters. He booked a round trip ticket and since the only available trip didn’t leave until 10:30 that morning, he still would have a few hours for the occasion.
My husband was one who went to rallies for causes such as anti-fracking and the Green Earth environment. This was one peaceful affair, or so he thought.
That day, I was glued on my phone, TV, and computer. I kept in close communication with him as he boarded the bus. He arrived D.C. at about 2 PM and said he was walking around, taking selfies amongst the crowd, and chatting with the people at the Capitol grounds.
He took one selfie with the ‘walis guy’ whom he randomly met. Later, the walis guy became a popular mystery among Filipinos on social media because his placard was styled out of a walis (broom in English) which he brandished inside the Capitol.
My husband was on the Capitol grounds in less than two hours. He did not go inside the Capitol, thank God. I contacted him to come home at once because of the news I heard that there’s a curfew following the unrest that ensued.
His return ticket was for 9:30PM that night, way past the curfew. But a few minutes after I told him to go home, he called and said he was able to haggle with a bus driver who had a fully booked bus, to consider him his first chance passenger.
He waited for that first chance and got on the bus, luckily. Just when the curfew was implemented, my husband took a picture of himself sitting inside the bus on his way back to NY. Thank God!
Four hours later, he was by our apartment door, beaming a huge smile on his face like an excited child after a play date. I wanted to bitchslap him for giving me an anxiety attack, but then I was also very thankful that he made it safely back home.
He related to me his whole experience on the Capitol grounds the whole time, far from the madding crowd that stormed the Capitol. He bought a few memorabilia items to give as ‘pasalubong’ (gift).
Unknowingly, not realizing the consequences, he sent some of his pictures to family members and very close friends who described him as “Mr. Gimmick man.” A friend from the Philippines even called him and asked about his experience which he voluntarily shared.
The Capitol breach suspended the process of certifying the electoral votes. When things went back to normal a few hours later, the legislators resumed their tasks.
By 4AM Thursday, January 7, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were proclaimed winners in the 2020 elections.
During that day, I was back to my normal life doing my chores while my husband went back to work.
The biggest day and the culmination of my week came the next day, January 8, 2021. On that Friday, I became a naturalized American citizen and pledged allegiance to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and all that it stands for. I will put the land of my birth in the bosom of my being that gave me life.
In most 2020 polls, Sweden has been considered the top place to live in the world while America slides down to the 20s, depending on its basis of survey.
Sociologist Phil Zuckerman in his book, Society Without God, conducted interviews with the Danes who consider religion as a non-issue. To most of them, religion does not really matter, yet their morals are strong and their economics fair.
Zuckerman cited another sociologist, Peter Berger, who thinks of America, with its vast immigrant population, each bringing with them their own beliefs, should have been more ethical and moral as they are religious in a sense. Yet, it falls short of walking their talk.
Berger’s description of America is found in these words: “If India is the most religious country on our planet, and Sweden is the least religious, America is a land of Indians ruled by Swedes.”
Today, America may be hurt, angry, tired and emotional due to the past days, yet America is resilient. Where there is chaos, America will grow stronger. Where there is division, unity is not far.
Healing will come because there will be accountability. After all, America is one nation under God – indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. God bless America!#