Much of this is repurposed from a Twitter thread, but I wanted to post it here for posterity. It’s also easier to read.

I’m also going to lead with people who deserve our applause: the police. One year ago, roughly 140 were assaulted, some brutally. Five officers succumbed to the physical and mental trauma of that day.

Here’s the Twitter thread, with some editing …

One year ago today, right-wing extremists attacked the very foundation of the USA.

Some (though less than the media think – we’ll get to that) believe otherwise. This thread isn’t for you. If Rove and Cheney can’t convince you, neither can I.

This thread is for everyone else.

Two groups of people can stand up and turn back the people who are undermining democracy on behalf of an aging, prejudiced, paranoid few.

One is currently apathetic or distracted by other issues.

One is currently cowardly.

The latter group is GOP lawmakers who are so afraid of Trump’s “base” that they have backed away from condemnation of what happened. They know their political positions are too weak to win elections without that base. So they’re now cowards who won’t stand for country over party.

The former group is people who sit out. They either don’t explain their apathy or excuse it by saying they can’t support centrist Democrats or the Republicans who speak against Jan. 6 because they don’t adequately support their own issues.

We once stood with Stalin against Hitler. We can stand with Cheney and Manchin against QAnon.

The other group that’s not helping is the media.

People often misunderstand “bias.” Partisan bias exists but it’s outweighed by financial biases. Fear sells. Conflict sells. And journalists have a shameful track record of leading us into war – and enabling Trump. He sells, too.

We’re not as polarized as fear-mongers would have you believe. When you see polls that say XX% of Republicans believe antifa stormed the Capitol or the election was stolen, read to the end. Or beyond.

Nowhere in this Washington Post poll does it mention what percentage of respondents identified as “Democrat” or “Republican.” You have to read the raw numbers.

30% Democrat. 25% Republican.

To be charitable here — finances aren’t the only reason journalists (and opinion writers) sensationalize. They’re trying to sound alarm bells. They’ve long done it on climate change. They’re doing it now.

It’s rare to find stories that say, “this is bad, but here’s a solution.”

But let’s get back to the largest group that can turn the tide, and the good news is that you don’t have to devote your life to it. Be politically active, or not. Just make sure you vote.

That means voting in *every* election.

The culture wars have well and truly restarted. And if you’re too busy dragging people on Twitter for misspeaking to notice that your school board has literal book-burners or that your new secretary of state won’t stand up as Georgia’s did, you’re not helping.

Your state lawmakers can rig an election. You have to pay attention — and vote.

And finally, don’t dismiss all red-state Trump voters as ignorant or racist. That’s frankly elitist.

Talk with them. Hear their concerns. Then share yours.

If we’re lucky, more states will institute ranked-choice voting to make it more difficult for extremists to get elected. Virginia’s Republicans did it and wound up with a palatable candidate who won the gubernatorial race. (Not saying it won’t turn out to be a facade, but …)

We CAN unite against the forces of ignorance, prejudice and fear. (Gratuitous Rush reference — the band, not someone else.)

We CAN unite against their enablers.

We CAN change minds. It’ll take time. You can’t deprogram a QAnon cultist in one Twitter thread.

References:

Karl Rove WSJ op-ed (if you don’t subscribe, you can find it on Apple News OR follow this link and click “listen.”

WaPo fact check (a good summary of facts posted today).

And a long, compelling WaPo investigation published in October:

Originally tweeted by Beau Dure (@duresport) on January 6, 2022.

Featured photo posted to Pexels.com by Trev Adams

One thought on “Jan. 6: Forget polarization. Remember heroes and villains. Enablers and cowards.

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