On Tuesday 19 January 2021, I lost my dear fur buddy Charcoal to cancer. What I thought was a respiratory infection, which Charkey got every winter, turned out to be a mass in his mouth. While waiting for the biopsy appointment, the faint swelling I had observed on his left side blew up dramatically over the weekend, becoming so large it looked like he had a tennis ball in his cheek. I dropped him off for his appointment that morning, the vet confirmed the diagnosis a few hours later, and shortly after that, I held him as he passed.
Posts by Alex Miller
“That hymn you hear [playing in Congress] is ‘Just as I Am,’ and we’re open for deathbed conversions.” – Joe Scarborough, former Republican Congressman and MSNBC morning show host
Can you feel it? Impending political mortality is in the air. Trusted councilors leave the bedside, rats exiting a sinking ship; former shark allies mass in feeding frenzy, smelling blood in the water; media buzzards circle, waiting to pick the bones. US President Donald J. Trump is in extremis, with scant days to go before the end of his political career.
By Constitutional fiat, all US administrations begin at 12 Noon on the January 20th following a general election, regardless of when the oath of office is actually sworn. This provides a celestial continuity from decade to decade, with all administrations having an early Aquarius Sun conjunct a late Capricorn MC, and a mid-Taurus Ascendant (unless begun by the death or resignation of the previous office holder). But within that rigid framework, the permutations are virtually endless, especially when asteroids are considered.
“Door-knock for Warnock, and vote your Ossoff!” – Democratic slogan for the runoff campaign
Lost in the mishigas and melee at the Capitol on Wednesday was a political revolution of another sort, this one successful. Even as Trump supporters vainly stormed Congress to prevent certification of Biden’s victory, the last race of the 2020 election cycle was being called in Georgia. Against all odds, both Democratic candidates in two runoff races won, bringing the Dems to parity with the GOP in the US Senate. For the first time since 2009, Democrats control both houses of Congress and the presidency.
On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, the Feast of the Epiphany, Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to prevent Congress’ counting and certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, preparatory to his inauguration two weeks later. Doors were forced, windows broken, as insurrectionists fresh from a Trump rally mere blocks away which featured an in-person address from the President took control from Capitol Police and security, who offered minimal resistance to the crowd, estimated in the tens of thousands. The Senate and House were evacuated, put on lockdown, as legislators cowered in safe spaces or barricaded themselves in their offices to avoid the mob.
[Cover Photo: the author with his Aunt Betty, 2011]
I had made it all the way through 2020 without personally knowing anyone infected during the coronavirus pandemic. Until New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, when my cousin called to tell me that her 90-year-old mother had been hospitalized with COVID pneumonia. Aunt Betty was my mother’s sister, and had been a fixture of my childhood and an integral part of my family festivities for decades, until a hip fracture resulted in her moving in with her daughter nine years ago. This disrupted our seasonal celebratory cycle, and I have only seen her sporadically since then.