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Harriet Berkal

Harriet Berkal: The Gavel Has Spoken

(A sensory review of Trump’s one term reign as President of the USA)

by Harriet Berkal, January 16, 2021



It was in the heat of September of 1963 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, (my mom’s hometown), where I first laid eyes on John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the greatest nation in the world. The helicopter blades were whirling, the winds blowing, and I was all eyes on the tall, thin, man coming out of the flying bird, as I, aged 4, was perched on my Uncle David’s shoulders. The crowd was cheering just to see him.


JFK made his way towards us, positioned behind the metal linked fence. He smiled at me and I hadn’t a clue that two months later, I would see him again on TV. This time I heard gunshots and people running around, screaming, and yelling. There was total mayhem. The President of the free world had been assassinated; shots targeted at his head. Even at that tender phase in my life, it left a defined mark on my memory. 


Fast forward more than 5 decades and yes, there are still masses and cheering involving a political figure, but of a very different kind. 


“LOCK HER UP!”, the Trump supporters barked as he campaigned against Hilary Clinton, in 2016. Few thought he would ever win the election and become America’s 45th sitting President following Barack Obama. But alas, he did and so did the journey into unchartered territory begin.


Here was a reality television star, sitting behind the resolute desk, and using Twitter to deploy his dangerous fueled messages to supporters to believe; in fake news, constituting anything which portrayed him in a negative light. He used nepotism to place his daughter, Ivanka and son in law, Jared Kushner, in senior positions. 


But with every staffer who didn’t tow the party line, his infamous pronouncement of: “You’re Fired!”  from his show, “The Apprentice”, was executed, with a revolving door of people coming and going. The White House had never seen the likes of Trump or his loyal followers including, the Bad Boys, Q Anon Conspiracy Theorists, Evangelical alliances pushing for theocracy versus democracy, driven by a fundamentalist white supremacy vehicle, denouncing homosexuality, abortions, equal rights while ignoring science and following divine guidance. (Watch Frank Schaeffer on American Evangelicalism and Its Roman Catholic Allies


No one was going to tell Trump how to run his presidency. His aloofness and biases were on full display at White House news briefings. “You’re so –you’re so –you’re so disgraceful, the way you said that.” …“When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be.” …“I retweeted somebody- I don’t know who?”


But arrogance and power got the best of Trump, as he acted more like a mob leader than a dignified politician holding the highest office. Motivated only by self-gain, he crossed so many barriers, but nothing could stick to this teflon tyrant. 


And while millions of Americans were dying alone from COVID-19, only to hear their families say goodbye by phone, he downplayed the virus and disgraced the scientists, as the death toll mounted. He vehemently didn’t see himself wearing a mask and held super spreader events at the White House and huge gatherings. He was immune to the sound of body bags being zipped up and corpses piling up inside cold refrigeration trucks as morgues were full to the brim.


His entire focus has been on dividing the country up into factions of support and keeping many Republicans loyal through fear, while denigrating the Democratic left. 


Never have we seen or heard of such division in the US since the great Civil War of 1861-1865 between the Northern and Southern states. But Trump loved the adoration of his rallies with people crowded together mask less, with no social distancing, proclaiming that COVID rules didn’t apply to them. God would save them from the lethal, INVISIBLE enemy. But you can SEE leftist politicians and their electorate. Them, you can target. And with Donald’s blessing, they did so on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, as they stormed the House of Representatives.


Can you hear the sound of smashing glass on the hill, as these so called “patriots” attempt to reclaim an election they were told was stolen from them?


Did you witness them using American flags to beat up law enforcement officers, killing one and almost crushing another in between a door as he cried for help? ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.


Anarchy does have a sound. It pummels and shouts with a triumphant roar of supremacy. “We are taking back the House! and “Hang Mike Pence!” 


Before the Vice President left for the House to be there for the certification vote in Congress, Trump told Pence, his partner and enabler, you have a choice, as quoted in the New York Times: “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy!” This is how vulgar and vile his words were.



His speech given to thousands of insurrectionists incited them. “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about……we will stop the steal. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let that happen. Not going to let that happen. We will never take back our country with weakness.” Crowd: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!


And when the unthinkable, surreal insurgence occurred, encouraged by Trump’s call to his followers to take back the election, Trump sat back watching the riot ensue, as Pence and numerous other members of the House, hid in fear for their lives. But they resumed with courage to certify the vote for democracy.


Chaos has a bellowing noise which rang out in the Chambers of the House. 


January 13, just one week after these acts of violence occurred, the vote was taken to impeach Donald Trump! He is the only president ever to be impeached twice. 


Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who has endured death threats along with many Democratic colleagues and now the few Republicans, who finally had ample terror directed at them, banged the gavel passing a historical vote of impeachment into play. 


There remain fears of ongoing uprisings around the country. Now is the time for Republicans to speak out loudly and denounce the lies of a stolen election. They can no longer mask the truth of a Biden/ Harris fair win. 


And with this resounding denunciation of Trump, they can reclaim their party and unite their fractured country, silent in shock and screaming in pain from all that has happened. 


Noise is not benign. It can carry with it anger, rage, pure defiance. Or it can possess and convey calming sounds of ending conflict. 


Enough is enough. Democracy must be restored in order to calm the nerves of the nation. 


The House has spoken to echo the need for freedom, justice and equality. 


Many won’t listen, as they have been brainwashed by a narcissist who can’t even pick up the phone and extend his sympathies to the family of an officer killed in the line of duty, protecting law and order and the principles their forefathers placed in the Constitution. 


Trump claims no personal responsibility for any of his comments or actions. 


But on January 20th, there will be another chopper with blades swirling, as it lands to pick up Mr. Trump and remove him from the White House forever. Let the bells of liberty ring out throughout the nation.


“A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle. It can be used to call for attention or to punctuate rulings and proclamations and is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a presiding officer. It is often struck against a sound block, a striking surface typically also made of hardwood, to enhance its sounding qualities. According to tradition, Vice President John Adams used a gavel as a call to order in the first U.S. Senate in New York in the spring of 1789. Since then, it has remained customary to tap the gavel against a lectern or desk to indicate the opening and closing of proceedings, and it is also used to keep the meeting itself calm and orderly.” Wikipedia






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