On January 6, 2021, I sent out a short tweet that received more than 500 retweets.
But Trump was still on Twitter; a few days earlier, he had announced in a tweet: "The BIG Protest Rally in Washington D.C., will take place at 11:00 A.M. on January 6th. Locational details to follow. Stop TheSteal!"
One of the problems with history is the mixing up of memories. I learned this as a young geographer when we asked inhabitants of a suburb when and why they had moved to that neighborhood a few decades ago. The convenience of the nearby supermarket was a popular answer, including among people who had moved there long before the supermarket did. Our memory plays tricks on us.
So I just searched what I did and wrote on January 6 and found that it was only the next day that I slowly realized that this could indeed have been a planned but poorly executed attempted coup. My tweet shows that I was well aware of Trump's involvement, but it is only now that I realize that I was, during the event, still quite naive about his intentions. Somewhere in my brain, I must have updated my January 6 memories with information that I only received much later. It was good to read everything back.
My memories of that day are pretty irrelevant; as a European, I am just a spectator to American politics, although I'm not sure if what I saw on my screen qualifies as "politics." And that brings us to the relevant question: did we watch an unorganized riot, or did we watch modern American politics. For the United States, it is essential to know the truth about the events of one year ago.
Whatever it was, for many people in the world, January 6 has changed our perception of the United States. But, of course, you could argue that this is nothing new; American politics have always been changing, as people often say about climate. But to stay with this climate parallel: the sudden acceleration and the dangerous direction surprised even the experts.
The Antrumpocene risks becoming a downward spiral of democracy-undermining feedback loops. A successive Republican win, based on effectively undermined democratic elections, may prove to be a dangerous tipping point. It's a bit like the Thwaites Glacier losing its foothold on that underwater ridge that kept it in place. It will be hard to stop the collapse of the multiparty democracy and U.S. democratic institutions once one party holds all the cards and vows never to give up their powerful position anymore. Like that ridge, there are limits to the power of the constitution.
To stay with the Thwaites Glacier analogy, its floating section may suddenly break up into many pieces, like the shattering of a car windscreen. And after the destruction of that vast area, the glacier will speed up its downwards journey, ultimately leading to worldwide negative impacts.
Is this unthinkable? We have learned from climate change, and the many collapses of democracies in world history that it is wise to prepare for what you hope will never happen. And, like climate change, the fossil fuel industry isn't funding our interests. Instead, they fund disinformation campaigns about climate science; they financially support Joe Manchin and Trump. They invest in what destroys the planet and in politicians who don't care about the future of the people that they claim to represent. The climate, nature, your health, happiness, and the future for your kids are all at stake because American democracy is at stake.
Some day, a researcher will ask you what you knew and what you did in the year 2022. And since you got this far, you can't say that nobody warned you. You will someday need to know what you knew today because your children and grandchildren will ask you if you knew about the ten years left to save the planet and the even much shorter time left to save democracy.
What will be your answer?
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The video in this tweet is also interesting, tweeted two days before January 6, 2021
Don Winslow @donwinslowNEW VIDEO: #CountryOverTrump VOLUME UP! Over 120 Republican traitors in Congress will gather on Wednesday to try and tear down this country. This video shows what they will really be standing for. Please share and help us get 15,000 retweets today! https://t.co/E3hv5XwFKS
photo: Photo by Florian Pintar on Unsplash