|The Law of Emotional Investment follows the general Law of Inverse Proportion: |
“The emotional attachment to any event is inversely proportional as a square of the distance from that event.”
I discovered this law after 9/11. Long term readers will remember we lived close enough to the Pentagon such that we could see the smoke coming from the attack for days, if not weeks.
I couldn’t bring myself to drive on the damaged side of the Pentagon for a full year.
Another time I was on an Election Observation Mission somewhere requiring a valid passport when we learned over breakfast there had been major, deadly earthquake in Haiti.
How awful. Pass the muffins, please.
The California wildfires are another example. Houses and businesses burning. Families evacuated. Exhausted firefighters gamely digging firebreaks.
I was very concerned, I was very interested, but I was not totally emotionally invested as would someone be who could smell the fire in the air several counties or even several states away.
The distance from Washington, DC to San Francisco is about 2,800 miles. The square of 2,800 is 7,840,000.
While you ponder this, I give you January 6, 2021.
Walking a block from our townhouse to the Potomac River, we could easily see the Capitol dome. On January 6 last year, I watched on TV with horror as the attack on that building grew in size and intensity; as the cable channels caught up with the unfolding event, and added camera coverage; as it was clear that for the second time in 20 years America was under attack.
This time America was under attack by Americans.
I was VERY emotionally invested.
According to Apple Maps, it was about eight miles from my house to the U.S. House. Closer to six miles as the crow flies.
The square of the distance between my house and the Capitol building was 36 miles.
I have worked in that complex, off and on for 45 years, starting in 1977 when I was hired as a press secretary (the title of “Communications Director” had not yet been invented). My last job on The Hill was as the Senior Advisor (another title that didn’t exist in 1977) to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2008.
Along the way, I was press secretary to the Republican Whip, U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich. I worked IN the Capitol building. As a member of the “leadership staff” I had coveted floor privileges.
I only share that because I knew, even with the splintered TV coverage, exactly what we were seeing. I knew the doors whose windows were obliterated by pikes and fire extinguishers. I’ve been in the Speaker’s Office. In the Rotunda. On the House Floor. I’ve walked through the tunnels between the House side to the Senate side.
It was not in any way a “typical day” in the U.S. Capitol. You’ve seen the footage. All day yesterday it was looped over and over on the cable nets, complete with warnings to have children turn away from the TV lest they see Capitol Police Officers being beaten and battered by criminals carrying Confederate flags and calling for the murder of the Speaker and the Vice President.
This was, and still is, Donald Trump’s fault.
Remember Trump began bawling about losing even before he lost, claiming the often last-counted mail-in and absentee ballots would be fraudulent.
After the votes were legally tallied and Joe Biden became President-elect, Trump refused to concede and, like the petulant child he is, refused to allow the Bident Transition to have access to official office space, access to equipment, or even access to soon-to-be-former federal employees.
It wasn’t until November 23 – 20 days after the election – that the General Services Administration finally turned over the keys to the
Transition space to the Biden team.
I’m not certain they’ve caught up yet.
From October 2020 until today, Trump is still whining about being the realwinner of the election of 2020.
He’s not. He’s a loser.
People I have known for decades. People who are highly educated. Very smart. People for whom I had real respect and affection. Senior elected officials and high-ranking staff. People I would have trusted with everything I own.
Many of these people still believe the election was stolen. Or, worse yet, some believe Biden was fairly elected but are afraid to say so aloud lest they draw a primary challenger or lose a high-paying client.
The Inverse Proportion Law might hold as you watch footage of the actions of those who attacked the Capitol.
But the Law is suspended for being horrified at watching them attempting to subvert the will of the American people and destroying the democracy so many others have fought for and have died to help protect over the 233+ years of our Republic.
See you next week.