Over the last year, I’ve resolved to make political statements less often on social media. My reasoning is that it adds to the noise. If there’s a loud cacophony of people saying similar – but not the same – talking points, it becomes incoherent. The message gets clouded and unfocuses, and I’m often not the most eloquent at expressing those concerns. I let others more skilled in communication do the talking, and I try to speak with my actions.
I resolved to act. I signed up with the American Red Cross to serve my community. I worked the polls on election day to preserve the integrity of our elections. To stay apprised of the current news, I subscribed to reputable newspapers from different sources to view issues from other angles. Instead of arguing with my family about what they’re saying, instead of demeaning their opinions, I resolved to listen to why. To ask questions instead of shouting. I wanted to understand.
But the events of Jan. 6 are beyond understanding.
I didn’t know the exact date the MAGA crowd was planning on rallying, but I knew something was coming. They’ve been posting about civil wars on social media, conservatives and liberals have been buying firearms at unprecedented rates. We knew this was coming – or anyone who paid basic attention did.
Calling the attempted coup d’etat on Jan 6, 2021, a coup is the first step to recognizing the seriousness of the situation. That was a violent attempt to overthrow a seated government and place our impeached-President at the helm. An act of insurrection and domestic terrorism. And the events on Wednesday were foreseeable.
The news has us focused on imbeciles like “Q Shaman,” and former WV representative Derrick Evans, but it’s also important to realize that there were individuals there for a man-hunt. There have been pictures of individuals dressed in paramilitary gear toting around zip ties. Gallows were erected on the West Side of the Capitol Building. Police and federal officials found bombs in the Capitol building. One insurrectionist even died by his own taser. They were out for blood.
And still, the Republicans and the Trumpists will deny their involvement. They already have. They’re attempting to lay the blame anywhere but at their own feet, claiming BLM and ANTIFA involvement. Any article that challenges that, they decry “Fake News,” attempting to further erode trust in American democracy. Instead, managing to further shorten the fuses on those who’ve had to put up with them for the last several years.
I don’t have any new perspectives or original news, but my resolution to act compelled me to write, to condemn, and to offer responses.
- Write to your congresspeople. Senator, Representative, State-level legislators. Write to them ALL. Let them know you’re done with the rhetoric and the attempts to undermine the election results. Trump said he wouldn’t go peacefully, so make it less peaceful. Encourage your legislators to impeach and remove him from office.
- Stay informed. Take a break when you need it, but know what’s happening. Check out IsThisACoup.com and ChooseDemocracy.us for some action items as the situation continues to evolve. Also, take some time to read Hold the Line, a Guide on Defending Democracy for thoughts on where we go from here. Be ready to mobilize if the situation requires it.
- Report. If you have any tips on the insurrection in DC (like you know someone who participated in the violence, or you’ve seen that officials are looking for an individual and you know their location), share them here. If you have any information on potential future violence from family members or friends, also share that with federal officials as potential terrorist threats.
- Resist. Instead of punching Nazi’s (I know, it’s tempting), recognize that non-violent means of protest and civil disobedience are the methods through which real change is created. Commit to that. Don’t get angry and react – think through your response and resist. Coups fail because regimes don’t have the support they need. Deny them that support and watch them crumble.
- Be ready for the next time. By now, anyone who paid attention to this election cycle knows who Stacey Abrams is. Over the last decade, she’s served Georgia as a spearhead of several grassroots campaigns to get out the vote and reduce voter suppression. The blue wave in Georgia can be attributed to her, those she’s worked with, those she was inspired by, and those she inspired. But Georgia is not unique. The same can happen where you are. Organize. Volunteer in your community. Make it your mission to listen to the needs of that community, and serve those needs. Develop trust and work in the best interest of that community to foster real, systemic change.
It’s been a stressful 5 days, I know. I believe the Doctor says it best: “Darkness never sustains. Even though sometimes it feels like it might.” We’ll get through this. Together.