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Without meaning in their lives Americans can only find chaos.

The storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday cannot be defended. The actions of these deranged individuals can only be condemned. That applies to the bizarre vanguard who entered the building, including well-known alt-right figures and the larger crowd that gave cover to those actions. There is no excuse. There is, however, a broader picture, one that shows a nation frayed to the breaking point.

As riots, violence, and looting swept the nation this summer, it was easy to explain it as the result of misguided anger at police violence, or even the boiling over of simmering lockdowns. Likewise, the violence at the Capitol could be tied to the specific circumstances of the recent election.

Whether one believes that police violence is a massive scourge or that the presidential race was stolen is not particularly important. What matters is that faith in society and order itself has been shattered for far too many Americans.

William Butler Yeats put it this way:

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

This feels very much like the moment in which we reside. To be sure, the actions of a radical few tens of thousands on this side or that do not reflect the will or desire of most of our citizenry. The vast majority will not take to the streets.

Instead, atomized Americans long forced home and tuned in on screens can only watch the fury spilling on the streets of their nation. They lack the social and community means to soothe their country and calm its extreme elements.

In this respect, the lockdowns are merely the apex of a mountain of isolation that too many Americans are perched upon. Too many have no church, no lodge, no bowling league, no ice cream social. Their eyes do not even land upon their neighborhood or neighbors.

Instead, they stare at their own hand as the entire world pours into their consciousness. They choose sides. Once chosen, a tribe is inscribed upon them. There is no greater shame in our modern world than changing one’s mind.

There are no institutions, no political or media actors who can escape blame for this year of violence, and I include myself in that. Yes, of course, Joe Biden should have condemned more quickly and forcefully the summer of violence, just as Donald Trump should not have given his fiercest supporters quixotic false hope of a victory. In a year in which washing them has never been more important, nobody’s hands are clean.

We fail to consider that the ease of modern life is terrifying. We fail to consider that actually achieving Dick Tracey videophone watches or Star Trek tricorders only feels like a miracle for a moment. Soon we are just accustomed to them. They may bring us some happiness, but they do not bring us a connection to our world, to others, or to God.

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It doesn’t matter which side is right, because both are suffering. What Americans lack has nothing to do with politics. We lack meaning. The conservative may love liberty, but in and of itself liberty does not give meaning to our lives. The same is true for progressives and their search for perfect equity.

The irony of the digital age is that never has everyone known as many people and never have they felt so alone. Perhaps the problem isn’t racism, crime, climate change, or religious liberty. Perhaps the problem is civic life itself.

What if the problem is not that we are so divided? When have we not been? What if the problem is that we have never been so isolated? Nothing brings people together like a good riot.

We need to think about our civic institutions, many of which emerged for reasons that technology can now provide for us alone. One need not get out of bed to be entertained, to feel connected to something, even to feel productive. It’s all in the palm of your hand.

But we miss each other. There is pain, and a longing for meaning. Out to the streets in anger is all many people have left. To some degree, we should be grateful that even that remains.

Long before Yeats, the poet William Blake penned “Jerusalem,” in which he decried the industrial age and the “dark satanic mills” that crushed the pleasant peasantry of ancient times. We tend to look on that work as naïve now. But it wasn’t. Two hundred years later, we are just at an advanced stage of Blake’s nightmare for humanity.

I do not suspect that either Yeats or Blake were particularly optimistic about their own times. I am not particularly optimistic about ours. But I do take comfort in their discomfort. As Shakespeare put it, I bear our own misfortunes upon the backs of such as have before endured the like.

Look up. Look up to see your neighbors. Look up to see the miracle of breezes fanned by swaying branches, to the shifting snow falling faintly. Look up to God. Know that you have meaning.

David Marcus is the Federalist’s New York Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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