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Last year this week 1/6 was being plotted -- and was predicted
Too many were asleep at the wheel, while those sounding the alarm were dismissed
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On December 23, 2020 I wrote a piece in this newsletter, sent out on email just like the hundred or so since then, and posted to social media. It was headlined, “The GOP's January 6th assault on democracy.”
That was followed up a week later, on December 28th, with a piece headlined, “More on the GOP's alarming Jan. 6th assault on democracy.”
The subhead of that one was: “Trump is encouraging protests that could lead to violence, after which he might invoke the Insurrection Act and bring in the military.”
To some that sounded like it was a stretch. But Donald Trump did in fact incite violence — a full-blown insurrection which resulted in death and destruction — and we’ve now learned, via a Powerpoint that has surfaced, that there was indeed a plan to declare a state of emergency and use the National Guard to, as Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said, “protect the pro-Trump people.”
By far, I wasn’t the only one writing things like this, and I was in fact following the lead of the reporting and analysis of people like the prescient John Nichols of The Nation, who comes on my SiriusXM program every Monday and who’d warned of the dangerous actions underway for January 6th back on December 15th. Barton Gellman at The Atlantic had of course predicted what might happen as far back as September (and he’s predicting it’s going to happen again), and many other reporters and pundits tried to get the message out, even as much of the rest of the media seemed to dismiss it as hyperventilating.
As the date came closer though, even some of in the establishment media became worried. But we were well into the holidays and too many people were checked out.
David Ignatius in the Washington Post, in a column on December 26th, literally began his column with, “Not to be alarmist,” before going on to say that, “the United States will be in the danger zone until the formal certification of Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, because potential domestic and foreign turmoil could give President Trump an excuse to cling to power.”
The truth is that we’re still in danger because Trump, promoting the Big Lie, is still trying to cling to power.
The point I’m making is that many people tried to warn about a domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol. The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and other extremists groups were organizing, and those who track them, like Jared Holt, then at Right-Wing Watch, were trying to get the word out. Progressive political analysts were highlighting the dangers of what various GOP members of the House and Senate were plotting — not just in supporting the “Stop the Steal” rally but in refusing to certify the election of Joe Biden.
And it just seems, looking back, that too many people, including many political leaders, didn’t take it seriously.
When we now have warnings of Republicans planning an authoritarian takeover right before our eyes, passing laws to keep people from voting and gerrymandering to rig all elections, will our political leaders get the message this time?
Sadly, for an entire year we’ve been hoping they would. Yet here we are with the January 6th anniversary approaching, and the filibuster has survived. The Supreme Court has done enormous damage, but any thoughts of expanding it have been snuffed out.
Trump and his gang of thugs are running out the clock on the January 6th select committee, and the Justice Department doesn’t seem to be investigating on its own. And voting rights legislation, which was the priority of so many in electing Democrats and Joe Biden in order to save democracy, languishes.
I’m still hoping that the system holds up and that those bringing justice are doing so with greater speed than we currently see. But if the worst case scenario plays out — and we’ll know a year from now if we’re on that track — no one will be able to say it wasn’t predicted.
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