WASHINGTON—To borrow a phrase from the late Laura Nyro, Colleen Boland has a lot of patience, and that’s a lot of patience to lose. Every day for the past month or so, she has gathered with another group of people in the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building as part of Swarm The Senate, an act of moral witness and a general lobbying force in favor of removing El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago from office. Boland also has joined with Jane Fonda in her weekly Friday climate protests up the street in front of the Capitol. Colleen Boland has been arrested three times in as many weeks, which is not something one might expect from a master sergeant in the United States Air Force who retired after 17 years in the service.
“When you have exhausted all other avenues to find the voice of reason within our government, it’s a time-honored tradition and effective tool,” she said. “Not everyone can do it, and I know I come to it from a place of privilege of being able to do it. But for those who are called to it, it’s not only empowering for me at a time of great frustration and personal fear, it allows me to feel like I’m doing something.”
Frankly, I don’t understand why there aren’t a few thousand of Colleen Boland in Washington this week. Frankly, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get an anesthetized citizenry off its ass and realize what a threat the country is facing in having a criminal idiot as a chief executive, a guy who has put every part of the republic up for sale, and for cheap. (The latest? In the middle of a trade war with China, the president*’s business operation was teaming up with a state-owned Chinese company to build a golf course.)
I, myself, have run out of patience with people who can abide this dangerous foolishness—whether those people are elected Republican senators, timid Democratic politicians, wishy-washy journalists, or the great, massed, unmoving American public, which now has proved that it will tolerate just about anything except sign-stealing in baseball and a bad decision on The Bachelor. Last week, senators took an oath—and signed for it—that many of them have no intention of keeping. Colleen Boland understands oaths. She had to take one in order to do her former job.
“I can speak to what my oath means now,” she says. “I understand those words much more seriously now that we have to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Many of my friends never dreamed a day when we would have to come home and employ that domestic piece. One could never imagine the time when we would. I never gave it a second thought. I mean, I got the foreign piece. But domestic enemies?
“We’re still talking to senators. My call to them is that Trump is a national security threat. He’s a global security threat. When I was in the military, I was posted to 30 countries so I saw first-hand what violence can do, what scarcity of water can do, what scarcity of food can do. He is endangering all of that in huge ways.”
And so the retired master sergeant rejoined the corporal’s guard in the lobby of the Hart Building, hoping to get a word with the senators who were hustling across the street to play their part in what was rapidly being rendered a charade for the entertainment of a republic sleepwalking toward a fathomless abyss.Print