Statement Regarding the Insurrection in D.C.
What we witnessed on Wednesday, January 6th in our nation’s capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup and must be condemned forcefully and completely.
Any elected or government officials who played any role incitement, aiding, and providing support to the insurrectionists must be dealt with swiftly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Failure to do so now sets an exceptionally dangerous precedent for the future.
We must also acknowledge that this insurrection didn’t manifest out of thin air. It was the culmination of decades of conspiracy mongering and scapegoating on local and nationally syndicated hate radio and television, has concentrated itself in dangerous echo chambers on the Internet, and whose audience was finally called to action by a demagogue who is now allegedly seeking to pardon himself.
Wide-spread economic precarity is a large contributor to the kind of polarization we’re experiencing nationally and globally. We also know that serial dishonesty, misinformation, and hateful rhetoric spread through media and elected “leaders” from the White House to city halls all across this nation have actively endangered lives through othering the immigrant, the Black, the Indigenous, the queer, the unhoused, the addicted, and those advocating for justice rather than put forward policy changes to address the ever-widening gulf between the haves and have-nots, confront and mend long-standing racial wounds, and bring us closer together as a nation.
Just because Trump will soon be out of office does not mean the dangerous authoritarian movement he emboldened will disappear. In fact, if history is any indication, this event could have just been a rehearsal for worse things to come. The solution to addressing this problem is not bolstering the efficacy of the surveillance state, the strength of the police state, nor is it turning public buildings into fortresses. We should all be vigilant and resist any kind of PATRIOT Act 2 that will continue to strip Americans of civil liberties. Not only would this fail to address the root causes of political violence and extremism, all of this could be easily turned against the people by the next would-be despot that manages to get their hands on the levers of power. We must instead address the conditions that allow conspiracy, disinformation, and hatred to proliferate, reject reality, and substitute their own. This will require swift action from city halls to the halls of congress.
- We must improve the material conditions of all people in this country by raising wages, empowering workers, and bridge the gulf of precarity created by half a century of exceptionally harmful public policy which will work to eradicate one of the primary drivers of reactionary politics.
- We must undo the sections of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that cleared the way for media consolidation and allowed hate radio and hate television to spread across the country like wildfire.
- We must reimagine our electoral institutions to end the team-sport-turned-blood-sport of two-party politics. Our federal, state, and local elections should strive for proportional representation and move away from strong executive offices that can stand in the way of parliamentary coalition governance. For so-called “non-partisan” elections ranked choice voting is a must to secure more representative electoral outcomes.
- We must end the influence of money in our political system and work to undo the harm it has wrought on our political discourse. HR 1 is a great start.
I believe that we can live up to the ideals of our country, but we cannot continue down this same road and expect things to magically improve. This will require a hard look in the mirror and acknowledging some ugly truths about how we got to this place, but we can live up to this challenge. We must for the sake of our democratic republic.