NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 7th, 2022

We can’t know our future, but we can be better prepared to defend our democracy

In Novem­ber of 2020, I read an arti­cle by Indi Sama­ra­ji­va. (It was not the spe­cif­ic arti­cle I’ve linked to here, and his com­men­tary has been updat­ed since the events of Jan­u­ary 6th, 2020, but you can still get the gist of his message.)

I read it, read a cou­ple more pieces by the author to get a sense of his mind­set and per­son­al­i­ty, and men­tal­ly filed it away.

It wasn’t that I thought the author was entire­ly wrong, but Sri Lan­ka, his home, had been through one of the blood­i­est sec­tar­i­an wars of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, and they were still more than will­ing to kill each oth­er in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers in the present day, even though the rea­son­ing behind such vio­lence was some­what, but not entire­ly, dif­fer­ent from the log­ic of that nation’s recent past.

Did I of think Amer­i­ca as immune, giv­en its his­to­ry of vio­lence in response to our peri­od­ic pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions for and actions toward com­bat­ing racism, clas­sism, or misog­y­ny? No. Did I think the Trump regime was going to go qui­et­ly into the night in the event that Trump and Pence were defeat­ed for reelec­tion? No.

Nor did I con­sid­er them rea­son­able folks, giv­en, above all else, that they, through their delib­er­ate mis­man­age­ment (or delib­er­ate lack of man­age­ment – I would say some of each) of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, were respon­si­ble for between 700,000 and one mil­lion deaths in the Unit­ed States.

Don­ald Trump him­self had made it clear that he would and will fight tooth and nail if not declared the win­ner of both the 2016 or 2020 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

What I expect­ed was some­thing on the order of the even­tu­al­ly abort­ed recount of votes in 2000 in Flori­da, just on a larg­er scale, with the threat of vio­lence a nev­er-end­ing mias­ma to force us into submission.

(The for­mer hap­pened, sor­ta, but incred­i­bly, hor­ri­bly, cringe-ably bad­ly for their side. The lat­ter has been in play since, wher­ev­er his sup­port­ers think they can bend peo­ple to their will in pre­tend­ing that COVID-19 isn’t the dan­ger­ous viral pan­dem­ic it is, and in a more extreme sense, through the QAnon con­spir­a­cy cult.)

I did not expect, on Jan­u­ary 6th, to be con­stant­ly recy­cling the Twit­ter page of Igor Bobic as an act of vio­lent insur­rec­tion struck the grounds of, and then with­in, the Capi­tol Build­ing itself. I did not expect, on Jan­u­ary 6th, to see video of var­i­ous mem­bers of the Capi­tol Police com­mis­er­ate with the insur­rec­tion­ists, and oth­er mem­bers of the Capi­tol Police lit­er­al­ly save the lives of both Vice Pres­i­dent Pence and Sen­a­tor Schumer by mere steps.

I did not expect, on Jan­u­ary 6th, to read of mem­bers of Con­gress in hid­ing, that oth­er mem­bers of Con­gress may have pro­vid­ed the means to facil­i­tate find­ing those in hid­ing, and of plain­clothes Capi­tol secu­ri­ty behind hasti­ly assem­bled bar­ri­cades in the House Cham­ber, guns drawn if a breach was attempt­ed by the insur­rec­tion­ists. But the warn­ing signs were there.

Read and watch.




And do not, for one moment, accept their non­sense as cov­er for their violence.

Pro­gres­sives can no longer rely on old polit­i­cal, soci­etal, or gov­ern­men­tal norms, result­ing shame for vio­lat­ing said norms, or a judi­cia­ry that has become too far removed from the real­i­ties of how racism, clas­sism and misog­y­ny exist in our time, to restrain an oppo­si­tion will­ing to cast aside all norms and legal prece­dents as is nec­es­sary to achieve and per­ma­nent­ly retain power.

We must be will­ing to do the dif­fi­cult, often bru­tal, some­times dan­ger­ous work nec­es­sary to effec­tive­ly address and rem­e­dy over time, often piece­meal, the dif­fi­cult times in which we now live. We must effec­tive­ly orga­nize togeth­er — and mobi­lize togeth­er — to pro­tect our democracy.

This is some­thing that Richard Rorty, who I believe has one of the best sens­es of com­pre­hend­ing, as a polit­i­cal philoso­pher of the Amer­i­can left, has writ­ten about. Rorty has dis­cussed where we are head­ed and what needs to be done at the metaphor­i­cal lev­el to advance the great Amer­i­can Experiment.

I sus­pect that I, like Rorty, will not be around to see us even­tu­al­ly rise above these dark, dan­ger­ous and del­i­cate times. But I hope that we all take heed of what he has to say and act accordingly.

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