Chaos in the Capitol

In most of the other Presidential elections of my lifetime, the Congressional certification of the Electoral College vote count is a non-event. Like just about everything else lately, though, there was nothing routine about it this time around.

Among many other outlets, CNN reported on all hell breaking loose as protests over the certification of the vote totals turned into riots and protesters breaching the walls of the Capitol building. It got so bad that the mayor of Washington, DC, instituted a 6 p.m. curfew in an attempt to quash the remaining violence. Eventually, Congress was able to get back to work and certify the vote as originally planned.

Honestly, I’m still in shock over seeing and hearing what I saw on the news broadcasts. This is the United States of America and we aren’t supposed to have this kind of hooliganism over election results here. Over in Eastern Europe, parts of the former USSR, the Middle East, parts of Africa, sure… but not here. Not in the country born in 1776, known for its stability and enduring democracy.

All I know is that this riot, this attack on our democracy by domestic terrorists, would never have happened if the outgoing president were someone like Mitt Romney or even Ted Cruz. I really didn’t like any of the Republican candidates, but I could have lived with someone that had some experience, some qualifications, and some intelligence. Someone with the decency to not try to treat running the government like a reality TV show. Someone that’s not a de facto anthropomorphic pig, that doesn’t break laws like the one prohibiting treason the way some people commit minor traffic violations.

Even for this last election, Joe Biden was not my first choice, as I’ve said before. But he at least has a sense of decency and given some of the many gaffes by our outgoing occupier of the White House, I really believe there is nowhere to go but up. And I really think it’s time for Donald Trump to make the transition from “commander”-in-chief to defendant-in-chief, and start answering to some of the many insane and odiously egregious violations of the law over the past four years. I’m disgusted and horrified that there’s a small chance he may never have to face the music.

The “impeachment” trial still disgusts me. I knew we were in trouble when “Senator” Mitch McConnell, whom I refer to as Yertle the Turtle, refused to allow any of the evidence to be presented. How can you have a meaningful trial without any evidence? It’s absolutely preposterous!

I think it’s time to impeach Donald Trump again, now that we have seen just how dangerous he can be. Maybe this time we can get a conviction. I know it’s mostly symbolic, but we need this for the record, just to repudiate his “presidency” once and for all.

At least Richard Nixon had the decency to resign when it became obvious what was about to happen. If we don’t impeach Donald Trump, he will leave the office feeling as though he is above the law. That’s unacceptable to me and no doubt many other people as well.

On the NFL, the Super Bowl, and living in the host city

So, this is the second time now that Houston has hosted the Super Bowl at the same stadium (originally Reliant Stadium, now called NRG Stadium). Yes, Houston did host Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium back in 1974, but this was before my time.

I have been a football fan pretty much my entire life. During the five-year period from 1997 to 2001 when Houston did not have an NFL franchise, that changed a bit. For a while I even followed Arena Football, which unfortunately hasn’t remained popular, with the current incarnation having contracted to a mere five teams down from a one-time high of 19.

That said, once my favorite teams (Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks) get eliminated from the playoffs, I usually quit caring about football for the year and will often either tune out of the Super Bowl or watch only part of it. This year I’m watching from home, mainly because it’s being played here in town. However, next year, unless the Texans or Seahawks are playing in it, I may not watch, for a variety of reasons.

One good thing about having the city you live in host the Super Bowl is a lot of things get fixed and cleaned up that otherwise nobody would really care about. Trash gets picked up off the streets, businesses clean up their exterior and possibly even fix burned-out bulbs in their signage, major streets get repainted months ahead of schedule, burned out streetlights get fixed. This year, it also appears the Super Bowl was the impetus for the completion of the Green Line overpass connecting the final two stations (Cezar Chavez/67th Street and Magnolia Park Transit Center).

Of course there is a flip side to this too where laws are used in unintended ways. While I haven’t heard much about the city (particularly the police department) mistreating the homeless in advance of the Super Bowl, I’m sure it has happened. It’s implausible that the Super Bowl coming up in less than two months and HPD deciding to enforce the homeless feeding ban more aggressively than usual was just a mere coincidence.

While we do get an economic influx, there’s also the extra traffic from everybody coming to town for the game and/or other related festivities. On a personal note, this was part of the reason I cancelled my planned attendance of the 2600 meeting at The Galleria on Friday; it was questionable if I would have attended even if potentially thicker-than-usual crowds were not a factor. I was at The Galleria on Wednesday, and the crowds weren’t terrible then, but who knows how bad it was on Friday night? (If you were there, feel free to comment.) Also, I see many friends on Facebook who can’t wait for the city to “get back to normal.” I don’t blame them.

I don’t mean to throw rain on your parade if you’re a diehard football fan and only care that it’s the NFL and there’s 11 guys on each side of the ball running into each other in the closest thing the USA has to ancient Roman gladiatorial combat. If you enjoy the game no matter who’s playing, that’s great. But some don’t, and some like myself lose interest if the teams are unfamiliar. And honestly, normal life can be chaotic enough without a wildly popular football game and the associated crowds coming to town.