January 6: One Year Later

So how are you taking the anniversary of January 6? Are you comfortable that it is behind us and that we are now moving forward? Are you uneasy that lingering hate and unrest are still around and have not been addressed? Or are you scared out of your mind that January 6, 2021 was merely a warning shot across the bow and that what happens next could be even worse?

In my case, what I fear most are not more violent assaults by outraged mobs or domestic terrorists—though these could happen—but rather a slow eroding of the guardrails that have kept our democracy safe. Those guardrails appear to  be weakening. When over half of the Republicans believe that the election was stolen, when Tump’s support remains solid, when  few Democrat and Republican senators and congressmen are  on speaking terms, and when Trump-appointed judges and justices are capable of throwing monkey wrenches, there is less comfort that the center will hold.   Even more frightening is that Republicans have figured out the weak underbelly of our system, and are on it big time.

Here is how they plan to take back control of the country:

 Biden beat Trump by over seven million votes  in the 2020 election—a trouncing. But if just a few votes in key states had changed Trump’s way, he would have won. It was much closer and much scarier than you might have thought. According to a great op ed piece in the New York Times today (by Jedediah Britton-Purdy, Columbia Law School professor), if just 43,000 votes had switched from Biden to Trump in three critical battleground states, Trump would have had the Electoral College votes he needed to win.

Bullet dodged.

For now.

Republicans have figured this out and have a new strategy–forget the popular vote. Go for the battleground states and change the rules so Republicans will lock in the states that make a difference regardless of what the popular vote is. They are doing this by getting Republican-leaning, battleground states to change state laws which determine how votes are counted, placing the final responsibility for declaring a winner on people who have a dog in the fight. In other words, if these actions are successful in enough battleground states and are allowed to stand, game over. While a Democrat candidate might have more votes, the Republican controlled legislature could do anything it wanted and surely could find enough “election fraud” to declare the Republican candidate the winner over an opponent with more votes.

But this is only part of their strategy. They are also working hard at replacing all the election officials in these states who in 2020 refused to declare the election process illegal or “stolen” and replacing them with hard core, Trump loyalists. And, of course, they are working hard to make the voting process more difficult. Gerrymandering voting districts in many states is continuing. If Republicans are successful in these efforts, which under current law are all legal, the scales will be tilted so much in favor of a Republican presidential candidate, that it would be extremely difficult for any Democrat to win the presidency.

I think of the line from one of T.S. Elliot’s poems. “The world won’t end with a bang but a whimper.”

The Times op ed piece concludes that our current system of electing presidents is fundamentally flawed and needs to be reformed so that the popular vote is what counts, not the way it does now in the Electoral College with an all-or-nothing, win-or-lose vote count on a state-by-state basis. To dump the Electoral College, however, would likely require an amendment to the Constitution, and that is a heavy lift.

So, yes, I am concerned, and you should be too. It appears that the system for governance that has been in place for close to 250 years and has served us well may not be able to get us through the divisiveness that we are experiencing now. The opinion of many experts and historians is that our democracy is facing the biggest crisis since the Civil War. You could argue that such talk may be an exaggeration. After all, we have been through two world wars, the Great Depression, the era of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Revolution. We are a country with much talent, good will, and resiliency. We have been the envy of so many on this planet, some who have risked their lives to get here and become citizens. We are the oldest democracy in the world.

 Yes, we are a great country. But somehow the situation we are in now seems different. We are divided by culture, race, and class as perhaps never before and need to figure out a pathway through this. And there is an authoritarian waiting in the wings, revving up his base, chomping at the bit, believing that his vindication will come. This time he will be playing marbles for keeps.




8 thoughts on “January 6: One Year Later

  1. Horrendous scenario but one not far away from the direction we are also in danger of following here in the UK.

  2. Everyone, please go to this page to urge your Senators to support crucial Voting Rights legislation:

    Extremely Urgent: Support Voting Rights Bills to Protect US Democracy!

    Look for: “Click here to email your two US Senators NOW.”

    It only takes a minute! And then reach out to your friends and family around the country, and suggest they do the same.

    Thank you, Joe, for continuing to raise our awareness to this growing danger… Perhaps a future post could include the information and link above.

    We attended a January 6th vigil last night and many people are concerned. The House has already passed all four of these bills. Now we need the Senate to find a way to act! It is an existential threat to our cherished democracy which hundreds of thousands have died to protect over the centuries.

  3. Good summary.
    But i think the division is not so much culture race and class, but liberal vs not.
    Saddens and amazes me that a large minority wants to rule, dam the consequences, ie forget democracy.
    Dems better get some voting legislation done soon or we are truly sunk.

  4. Thank you Joe! We went to a January 6th commemoration/vigil last night and there ARE things many of us can do, and one of them, sending an email, only takes 3 minutes.

    It’s critical the 4 voting rights bills that just passed Congress be passed in the Senate. These include the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and the Statehood for DC Act. A temporary and targeted suspension of the filibuster is involved, but this is no time for a “can’t do” attitude or throwing our hands in the air and turning away.

    We have to do everything in our power to put out this fire. If these bills are passed into law, much of the state-level damage that has been done in the past year can be reversed. Here is a link with more information about the bills and why they are important :

    The billy will come up for a vote in the Senate before Martin Luther King’s Day, January 17th.

    1) If we are citizens of a state (rather than DC), we have Senators. We need to write and call them to support by all means necessary the 4 voting rights acts that will be up for a vote in the next week. This is important even if our Senators are Democrats. Yes it makes a difference. The higher their tallies of letters and calls, the harder they will work to get this done.

    Here is a link to do this quickly and easily: https://secure.everyaction.com/GN1FNWuj3UOip8uYvkHnAQ2

    2. All of us also need to reach out to friends in other states to ask them to write and call their Senators too.

    3. If you are or are not citizen of a state, I also recommend joining this wonderful, supportive and easy 10 minute action group, Americans of Conscience. https://americansofconscience.com/01-07-2022/


  5. Hi again!

    Here is another action:

    Action: Call on President Biden to support voting rights legislation.

    Source: League of Women Voters

    Contact White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP] and I’m asking President Biden to publicly support the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (S. 4), even if changes to Senate rules are necessary. His public encouragement could get these crucial voting rights bills passed, protecting the freedom of all Americans to vote according to their consciences. Thank you.

  6. Another Action: Keep election administration in your state and others from being usurped.

    Source: Voting Rights Lab

    If you live in AK, AZ, GA, IA, KY, MI, MO, NH, PA, SC, or WI: Contact your state legislators (look up : https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/)

    Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] because I’m concerned about pending legislation that interferes with local election administration. I urge you to vote NO on [BILL NUMBER FROM SPREADSHEET] to keep [STATE]’s elections free of partisan tampering. Thank you.

    If you live in any other state: Donate to the Voting Rights Lab to fund their work to protect voting rights in all 50 states. https://secure.donationpay.org/votingrightslab/

  7. Thanks for sharing this information with your republican cousin in law as it is always good to get the other side of the story. Much more important Karen and I pe
    nding our second day in our new abode in Seattle at the Skyline Retirement

    Unfortunately my computer is not working well so sorry about the crazy words. WE hope this finds you all well.

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