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As an onlooker in the UK, as someone with American kin, friends, as someone who knows we owe to America that we are not nazi slaves, that my Jewish father lived to father me, as someone who see that if America is lost, freedom everywhere is lost: I do not understand, I cannot understand, I shall be never understand, WHY you did not prosecute Trump for treason or insurrection, immediately after his coup failed. Instead you leave him, and his supporters, to organise better, and have another go . America has a death wish.

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Permit me a bit of pedantry as my starting off point. Treason is the only crime defined in our Constitution (Art. III, sec. 3.1) and requires levying war (which would be hard to show as a definitional matter) or the involvement of a hostile power (as in a country) on whose behalf you act directly or provide aid and comfort. So here, sedition or insurrection would seem the only crimes fitting the bill.

Criminal prosecution requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt as found by a jury. Given the stakes, any prosecution would need to follow the metaphorical prescription sometimes rendered as “if you shoot at the King, you had better kill him.” My suspicion as a former prosecutor is that the Department of Justice will look to have as airtight a case as possible before indicting which might, in their view, require flipping the Mark Meadows of the world first. The statute of limitations has some ways to go, and the wheels of Justice are known to grind slowly.

Historically, the US (and Great Britain for that matter) have found themselves occasionally deeply riven by partisan clashes, often led by small but determined minorities. The way to defuse these situations has mostly been through the democratic process of addressing the grievances. Sometimes it works, which is why Communism and Fascism never took hold in the US. Sometimes it doesn’t, which is why we went through a long and bloody Civil War.

Overall our system of government has stood strong against Trump. But that’s not to downplay the structural weakness that have been uncovered where someone rejects traditional constraints and plays outside the rules.

The 1/6 Committee has done a good job highlighting certain institutional flaws but in the final analysis, in a democracy you get the government you deserve. The key is a watchful, informed and vigilant electorate. Without that, all is window dressing. I remain an optimist that our experiment in Republican government is nowhere near its expiration date.

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I could not remove the incomplete & auto edited reply tat posted to your well stated post. Below is what I tried to say.

How does this report from NPR support the notion that the “Overall our system of government has stood strong against Trump (?)” https://www.npr.org/2023/01/01/1145973412/researchers-say-the-fbis-statistics-on-hate-crimes-across-the-country-are-flawed

From the report, the glaring discrepancy between NJ reported hate crimes and those considered to be so by the FBI points to a dangerous underestimation of the forces that almost succeeded in ending U.S. democracy. I am assuming by Trump, you were referring to the larger MAGA conspiracy. “For example, in 2021 New Jersey reported 877 anti-Black bias incidents while the FBI counted 92. The FBI counted 25 incidents of anti-Jewish crimes in the same year, while New Jersey said there were 298.”

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Thanks for making the point about issues relating to tracking hate crimes, some of which is due to a nationwide failure in having one set of standards to define and record hate crimes. It is an issue that needs to be addressed and fearlessly corrected if our society is to advance.

That said, your assumption about my comment is correct. I was focused on our overall institutional response to the attempt to thwart the peaceful constitutional transfer of power based on false information about the 2020 election results.

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How does this report from NPR support the notion that the “Overall our system of government has stood strong against Trump (?)” “For example, in 2021 New Jersey reported 877 anti-Black bias incidents while the FBI counted 92. The FBI counted 25 incidents of anti-Jewish crimes in the same year, while New Jersey said there were 298.

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This was auto edited and posted some how. The full reply should have read:

How does this report from NPR support the notion that the “Overall our system of government has stood strong against Trump (?)” https://www.npr.org/2023/01/01/1145973412/researchers-say-the-fbis-statistics-on-hate-crimes-across-the-country-are-flawed

From the report, the glaring discrepancy between NJ reported hate crimes and those considered to be so by the FBI points to a dangerous underestimation of the forces that almost succeeded in ending U.S. democracy. I am assuming by Trump, you were referring to the larger MAGA conspiracy. “For example, in 2021 New Jersey reported 877 anti-Black bias incidents while the FBI counted 92. The FBI counted 25 incidents of anti-Jewish crimes in the same year, while New Jersey said there were 298.”

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founding

I have wondered this too. However, if you watch the You Tube interviews of Yuri Bezmenov (a KGB defector) from the 1980s he gives a warning to the West and lays out a psychological subversion strategy by the Kremlin. The outline basically is that two candidates are put up for election who are very difficult to chose from and who create a lot of political friction. Either win will create ill feelings pumped in from new forms of media like the printing press, the radio, television and for us social media. Next, the upheavals create instability that can even lead to Civil War. If Civil War happens it weakens the country and destabalizes it. While the Civil War takes place the country creating the psychological warfare invades. Yuri Bezmenov discusses how this strategy originates from Tsun Tsu's, The Art of War. It's a strategy for a more poor and less equipped country to fight a country more militarily equipped and with greater wealth. It also influences Judo which Putin practices.

Anyway, if Civil War was desired our government would need to take careful and slow baby steps to present the information without creating more upheaval. Or Putin would win us psychologicaly more than he already had. He already created enough instability in the U.S. to prevent the U.S. from stopping Ukraine’s invasion. He was also trying to split NATO and our relationship with NATO. I believe that like Hitler, Putin has his sights on world domination and won't or wouldn't have stopped with Ukraine. Everyone's best defense against Putin's psychological subversion worldwide is to stay united. I'll post the link to Yuri Bezmenov's video below. It's best to find the videos posted before Trump's election. Videos after his election are often messed with. It's also important to think of the conservative climate of the 1980s. People will often interpret the strategy one way or the other. But the strategy is a warning to and can be applied to both sides. In our case both the liberals and the conservatives. It literally takes two sides to tangle to make the strategy work. I'll also post a link from a guy who explains information operations.

I remember Trump donating money to the Clinton campaigns. My very conservative grandfather stated, "Trump's balls should be nailed to the wall" referring to Trump's issues with women. But, Trump switched parties. Because as a dictator he picked the party he would have most success with for support and friction. The republican base is overworked and underpaid. They have been a pot ready to boil for many years. And when people are working two jobs and are in debt to no end it is difficult to keep up with or have any desire to exert more energy into following current events. So, they just vote for and believe in who their families have always voted for and have always followed. It is also interesting to listen to and read about MIT's information on the wedge politics Putin uses in Russia. But wait, wedge politics looks incredibly similar to political strategy in the U.S. Which in my opinion creates a perfect environment for the Kremlin's psychological subversion strategy Yuri warned us about.

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Interesting. But Russian interference does not explain why millions of Republicans still support someone who says he would cancel the Constitution. A sizeable portion of Americans have just gone mad.

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founding

I have wondered if the Kremlin has something hanging over their heads. Or have oligarchs made them monetary offers they can't refuse? Or are they THAT caught up in greed and power? Or all of the above? It is parallel to Hitler's Germany and Hitler's rise to power. Interestingly, Hitler and Stalin both studied propaganda at a similar time in Vienna before both rose to power. Putin is actually fascist which is confusing given St.Petersburg's history of the devastating Nazi siege of the city. It almost seems like a propaganda blue print exists that maybe republicans have also tapped into. Which is probably where the idea of wedge politics and sewing division comes from. Wedge politics would have been a driving force of Fascism vs. Communism leading up to WWII.

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I don't think it's money;it's power. Freud might say its fear of death gone extreme. It's also perversely risky and ultimately suicidal, threatening to take everyone down. We have to deal with this, each individually in ourselves, and with those who want rule over us, trick us. We need to come out of our reveries as the Ukrainians have been. Words like fascism used by those who are fascist confuse us. Peter Pomerantsev talks about this: see his Youtube "This is Not Propaganda"

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This rise to tyranny is a collective creation, like a pyramid scheme that we play on ourselves, a fraud we don’t admit we are conspiring in and perpetrating. Oh to be powerful and to defeat all our enemies and critics!

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They prefer not to look at history, for what ever reasons they have. Today, thanks to fox, newsmax/etc, and even MSNBC, people seem to just want a quick sound bite. I’ll admit I fall for it from time to time

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Dec 28, 2022·edited Dec 28, 2022

The candidates here so far have not been difficult to choose from. They are the result of a partisan divide we have always had and appreciated until they have gotten toxic like now. Even now we are not so unstable as to have a civil war though people talk of such. But it is a strategy, perhaps Putin's, as Peter Pomerantsev says. You can see Russia now as a poorer and less equipped country, making itself worse. You can see the real disadvantages of one man authoritarian absolute rule surrounded by sycophants and a subdued (threatened) polity, now really vulnerable but dangerous. This we can see and should see and take as warning. I agree we must stay united as we can- which means informing the beloved Trump uneducated or the tired resentful about what's at stake.

About those GOP overworked and underpaid, that is partly it perhaps. Biden, though, has been pushing for solutions as much as he has been able, nose to the grindstone, and it is said, successful. I agree about people not following current events with more equanimity rather than resentment, the need to act out, and knee jerk partisan voting on the basis of confused ideas that they ingest. They need the messaging, all too stovepiped. Putin's wedge politics is not similar to our politics here. It's pure propaganda for the regime, and one had better stuff it if one feels otherwise. Not here... as this.

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founding

I'm not sure how the 2016 election was not led up to by using wedge politics. Putin uses homosexuality as a wedge with old Orthodox believers. Thankfully Biden disarmed that strategy here with rights to gay marriage. Abortion is a wedge, gun control is a wedge. When those topics are amplified rather than amplifying affordable healthcare, affordable medications, affordable life saving insulin, affordable housing, funding low income public schools adequately, creating good quality jobs - that is wedge politics. Distracting with what is difficult to solve with a high emotional reaction away from basic needs not being met in order to create a capitalist working incentive. Or at least so republicans think or use as exploitation of the working poor.

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Every election is wedge politics it seems. The abortion wedge has backfired with the voters as well as the gay marriage issue in the Congress. Social change is slow. The rest is left to the progressives to keep pushing and getting bad mouthed about. But I am under the impression the the majority in country is all for those that you mention ( include affordable or free higher education).. just don't call it progressive or democratic socialism; elect a Joe Biden instead who will quietly keep pushing. I agree that the GOP distraction tactic works on their base but there is a real need for Democrats to step up their messaging to get to many more people to understand their own vulnerabilities to the distraction and what they are sacrificing- many who are not the base. I think the base is small. The big hump is getting Independents, and Republicans with some sense to cross their party lines. There is also the "structural" problem of the the inequality of representation in the Congress, voting is manipulated and suppressed.

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I'm not from UK. I'm from NY and I totally agree. Not sure of the definition of "enabler" but I think one of its definitions must be "co-conspirator." Putin didn't have to intervene. He had DJT and his enablers deconstructing the US. (Not my idea - happy to attribute if anyone cares). What I want to add, though, is all the people in power who knew better, but were happy to allow "evil to flourish" for personal gain. To wit: graduates of Yale (a bastion of patriotism and devotion to democratic ideals), who were in it for money and power, not patriotism, and of Harvard, and of schools which were founded on religious (in the broad sense) ideals, and which fostered support of patriotism and an acute understanding of democracy, and the US Senate! where the oath to "protect and defend" democracy seems to have become a cheap slogan. And it's not as though the people needed the money. The enablers were rich and powerful. The embodiment of "a nation of laws" means a nation which enforces laws equally among the rich and poor. Simple question: if a poor person, with no power, engaged in the type of behavior that those in power have engaged in, would anyone have given a second thought to enforcing the laws and imposing justice? DJT 2.0 may be less delusional but will be more successful only partly because they have learned from DJT's mistakes, but more importantly, they have learned about DJT's enablers. Maybe Franklin's line about a Republic if people can keep it needs to be modified to be a Republican if American oligarchs don't take it over and sell it for parts. PS: I'm guessing nobody will read this. But I'm glad I got to express it. It's like watching a wall of the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorial cracking and falling apart. True, it's just a structure, and it can be rebuilt if people want to. But it is so much more than just a structure. IMHO.

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It's an awakening, time for it, if we can wake up to the threat and what is needed. People who are in this subversion are beyond money. They are wanting the adrenalin of power purpose and partisanship (belonging) which is a powerful need, and so have allowed themselves to be demoralized in the process (a personal trade off). DJT was careful to deal with demoralization or the immoral aspect of what he was trying to accomplish for his own personal needs, aware of the power of his "charisma", successfully testing it along the way. He intuitively caught on to what was needed to get folks to follow, okaying, rationalizing for them as if they were blank slates, which maybe they were/are to some extent, ready to cast off their better angels, if they were so guided ever. Cassidy Hutchinson was not. She is a good example, knowing her fuller story. But she is rare, it seems, in this story. This vulnerability probably in all of us weak or strong, was mined. It's a clue as to how it must be countered. If these folks, especially the topmost layer, don't get justice many more will feel demoralized. There has to be punishment.

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Thank you for your thoughts, and rest assured someone (albeit a "nobody" :-) read this. Your reflection on the number of enablers of this coup who hail from Yale, Harvard and other elite and very fine schools is a phenomenon that also caught my attention throughout. I don't know how to extract any meaning from that observation. Your characterization that these are people who "should know better" but chose power over democracy or patriotism illuminates this question I have. I occasionally ponder how the designers and enablers (and some in the US Senate) could've made that mental gymnastic work for them. I get how greed and power are great motivators, but how they could rationally position themselves to overturn the Constitution for a lie (and they knew it was all lies) still leaves me mystified.

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Helen. Thank you! Very articulate and thoughtful. Potter says it's old fashioned greed. But my point was that elite schools cultivated people who rose above these baser qualities. Their models were Oxford and Cambridge. Perhaps the most glaring paradox was the Secy of State from West Point who exalted the grifter over duty honor country.

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Dec 30, 2022·edited Dec 30, 2022

Pardon.. I said it's more than greed. It's also and maybe mainly, power(rising) purpose and partisanship (belonging). I think it's an illusion that it is only greed. It's wanting to be part of elite-ness too. Not everyone, of course.

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Dec 30, 2022·edited Dec 30, 2022

JBR and Potter, thank you.

Maybe "paradox" is a good word to wrap around the phenomenon of coup plotting folks who hail from elite schools (Yale, Harvard, West Point, Stanford) and yet who succumbed to lies and manipulation by a deeply flawed individual. For sure, there are coup participants (including lawyers, doctors, bankers, etc.) who attended lots of other decent schools and lived pretty well. Their grievances, on the surface, wouldn't appear to be financial or lack of opportunity. Yet, they too wallow(ed) in the madness of an invented world, flat-out lies, and insurrection.

I think too it is also as Potter says. The impulses for rising-into-power and elite-belonging account for some people to cast to the curb their (elite and not elite ) college training in critical thinking and ethical decision making. Instead, they made up a world where they were pathologically engaged in acting on lies and distortion. Anyway, it's all pretty unsettling. I have been reading Dr Snyder's book "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century." It is helpful in understanding how things can go really wrong, much as we saw leading up to January 6. Thank you, JBR, and thank you, Potter, for your replies. I sincerely appreciate it.

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Good discussion. We are scratching our heads, about the reality of people and our dashed expectations. How could this be? I think the problem is in us firstly: we have let ourselves believe that others could not possibly do what we would never do. We think that these elite schools can turn out better people that live according to *our* values, the ones we have maybe been taught early by family teachers and others and that we have imprinted in us. We have (possibly) learned especially, as Helen you say, some critical thinking and to ask questions, to not swallow everything we are fed. The elite schools don't and maybe cannot teach this or teach it thoroughly enough. They are not uninterested in money as well as reputation for those who can afford it to get a leg up... not only for intellectual growth. Yale grad, Harvard grad has cachet, opens doors.

People also just grow crooked like gnarled branches. I was thinking about power and greed. Money, wealth, actually IS power. Elon Musk. Trump. Poverty is not having power or much less (inconsequential) and consequently not having a voice nor agency. Still there is a choice everyone has and at times whether to uprise or become followers. We are talking about making democracy real here and with regard to Ukraine.

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Dec 29, 2022·edited Dec 29, 2022

That is why we have the term cognitive dissonance. Good conscience is not always prevailing. Greed and power can easily trump the sacredness of the Constitution as well as the law through rationalization and cleverness. The 2nd amendment and other parts of the Bill of Rights are used and abused. People can drive right through them for legitimacy. The Declaration of Independence is often mistaken for the Constitution "when in the course of human events it becomes necessary...." (that's a big one!). And then the President of the US- the supreme legitimator- tells them what to do as DJT did. When the adrenalin gets flowing, patriotism defines itself- i.e. what one must do to be a patriot. You go to insurrection with the brain you have from Harvard/Yale so sure.

Harvard and Yale and other elite universities have turned out some pretty unsavory characters. A very fine school does not necessary turn out very fine people, nor ones saturated with the kind of education in history, philosophy, and civics one would expect. People are so much the product of their upbringing in the first place.

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The short answer is that we must, as a country of laws, go through the process of prosecution legally, not around or above the law for legitimacy or we are in the same illegality as the perpetrators. The battle is to maintain our legal structure lest we have anarchy and a battle for who is the more powerful. The problems we have are, at bottom, structural increasingly. As well as in this case, there is the hesitancy to prosecute an exPresident and too much fear of partisanship on the part of those who must do this.

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Articles of impeachment were brought against him within days by the US House of Representatives, leading to his (second) impeachment trial in the US Senate. 57 Senators voted to impeach, which was more than half but less than the 2/3 majority required. The burden for prosecution falls to the Department of Justice; we await.

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"Lock him up!"

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Thank you for your concise distillation of the January 6 report. It’s stark telling is more disturbing in its simplicity.

Your book, On Tyranny, was a book I bought by the dozen. I carried them with me and gave them to friends, neighbors, family, elected leaders, then buying more, and repeating. I have begged for accountability from elected leaders, and ran for office myself and was elected, thinking i could make a difference.

I was at work watching the coup happen. I listened to a client cheer the insurrectionists efforts. I had recently been to DC and spent time in the Capitol and was sickened listening and watching the violence.

All of this has happened in plain sight. Prosecuting the ring leaders must happen. Accountability.

I’ll buy more copies of On Tyranny. People have short attention spans and need reminding.

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Tim, anybody with a sense of history could have seen this coup coming from miles away. Anybody with a knowledge of Trump and his ways of conducting business and ties to Russia and the mafia here and being trained by Roy Cohn could have seen this coming.

As you noted, Americans dismiss threats to democracy and have a strong sense of “It can’t happen here” as if we have a predestined place in history. During 2020 I was accused of being alarmist, a drama king, and that I did not know what I was talking about. My work colleagues in Canada could see it with alarm. Ironically, my wife who is a Spanish citizen and was born under Franco and has heard all the stories from first hand accounts thought I was blowing it out of proportion. You see, it is the US, and not Europe.

As I see it, in the words of Tom Nichols, we are not a serious country. We have become our own worst enemy. How? Education about history, politics, sociology, psychology and liberal arts in general have been demeaned and denigrated in favor of STEM. STEM graduates and professionals are in silos and know nothing about other areas. I see this in my work with engineers in the power and gas industry everyday.

Then there are the large numbers in our population who look down on education in general, whether out of resentment or lack of exposure, and insecurity. My grandparents looked at it as “long haired book learning” that has not practical application. That persists among a large share of the population to this day.

In short, as long as so many in this country do not value knowledge and education outside of their silos our democracy will remain in peril.

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I wholeheartedly agree that our education system is a miserable failure, with its ever deceasing emphasis on civics, literature, history and philosophy. What is generally not appreciated is that a narrowly focused education is not only harmful to society as a whole, but also to the individual. In my work life I have encountered innumerable examples of engineers and scientists who fail to receive funding, promotion or credit for their contributions simply because of their utter incompetence in communicating, topped off by a lack of social skills.

The American (indeed western) reaction to the evolving Ukraine tragedy serves as a marvelous example of the narrowness of our educational system, where even the so-called elites are stupefyingly ignorant of Eastern European history. (I count myself among them, BTW). I hate using buzzwords, but we need a holistic education system,. which produces graduates capable of critical thinking, ethical behavior, and effective participation in a democracy. Maybe a 4-year college degree should be restricted to "Liberal Arts" plus a smattering of STEM courses. Wanna be a physicist or a hedge fund manager? Get a Masters.

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I also see this work in the opposite direction. Lawyers especially, but business majors who are put in positions to make call on STEM related issues they have little understanding of or any clue about with awful consequences. Anybody who liberal arts needs a good foundation in math and science as much as STEM professions need a solid foundation in liberal arts. It is about training well rounded people.

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Concur completely. As a physicist I've noticed to my dismay that many of my fellow climate activists lack a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms leading to climate change, and that many of the proposed solutions to the problem are motivated by the same thing that has led to the crisis in the first place. ($) And it is especially appalling that the US Supreme Court is now dominated by science-denying fundamentalists, at the very moment that we need to embrace the concept that humanity is part of nature, not apart from and above it.

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“Capable of critical thinking “! The key !

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That pretty much sums it up. Maslow’s higher levels of thinking pop in mind: synthesis, analysis, and evaluation. Hate it when quant jocks build me a model and give me an answer and when questioned whether the answer makes sense, can only reply that is the answer the model gives them. They cannot even tell me the mechanisms by which the answer they gets make sense at all.

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The Duke of Wellington, after the Allied victory at Waterloo, described it as a "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life." The coup attempt began months before January 6, and could also be described as the nearest-run thing. We need to remember that such an event can happen here, and could again since a sizeable minority of the population reject facts and a major party is willing to encourage and promote lies in order to preserve power.

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founding

I remember when I was in a favorite used bookstore (that also sells new books) with my kids, and was SO relieved to find, "On Tyranny". I bought it but it was set aside. I didn't really make a connection to Timothy Snyder for some reason until the Yale course on Ukrainian History was posted. I wish I had seen the other Timothy Snyder lectures all along Trump's presidency. I have double majors in German and Russian Studies and a minor, one credit short of a major, in history emphasizing Modern European History. From twenty years ago. I live in a rural area, and could see Timothy Snyder's predictions as accurately paralleling Hitler's rise to power so closely. For some reason I still wasn't connecting the name and face to, On Tyranny, and the predictions. I was scared of what was happening, and had no good way to convey what I too saw happening. Thank you so much Dr.Snyder for being a PUBLISHED voice standing up for a problem so many of us are witnessing, but can't publish or express ourselves. You are a HUGE psychological relief that there is someone out there saying something, and we are not alone. Your Ukrainian History class is much appreciated. I feel your pain about not taking your class outside on nice days. But, that class has filled in so many missing history points and has explained a lot. I was able to finally connect your face to your publications. And it has been a RELIEF. What I learned from Holocaust Literature classes was a warning from survivors to stand up and speak out as soon as we see authoritarianism rising. So many survivors stated their main regret was to NOT start saying something immediately. You have done this. And like we owe Ukraine, and like we owe Zelensky, we also owe you. ❤

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Very well said! Timothy Snyder is an American hero, and a model for us all.

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Thank you !

How could the United States allow such a serious gesture of affront and contempt to go unpunished?

From 🇨🇦

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This a a copy of my note to my family, forwarding the Snyder piece: The summary of 15 principal facts Prof. Snyder has pulled from the January 6 Report are stunning in their simplicity and meaning. I don't see how the AG can fail to indict Trump. If our laws don't compel prosecution for this treasonous behavior, what use are they to deter wrong-doing of the most evil kind? To say, as politicians have said over and over, "we can't allow this to happen again," and then take no prosecutorial steps to punish the wrong-doer and deter others is, to this citizen, incomprehensible. I hope the 15 points become mandatory subjects of instruction in grade and high schools. Bevis Longstreth

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I could not be more grateful for you, Prof Snyder. I have been listening to you carefully since ~2019. I work at MIT & am very interested in American higher ed (esp our prestigious institutions, because they have the resource & microphone) to do more to harden American democracy against this ongoing threat. If you know of collective efforts underway in that regard, can you let me / us know? I feel like I’m whistling in the wind, would like to join forces with others.

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You are good at this -- seeing and articulating what is really going on, especially when the "what" is mistaken for being less important than other, more stunning aspects of events or the spin given to them. Go you (and Hannah:) )

"There is a temptation to act as if something is not shocking if we have heard part of it before, as though this were a mark of political sophistication. "

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"I love the uneducated". There is a clip of Trump saying this on Youtube. The GOP loves the uneducated. This is who they, the current GOP and Trumpists on Fox and in social media circles, cater to. This is not how we keep a democracy. The "Big Lie" was a brilliant epithet from the beginning, coined ( I read) by Hitler. But there has been a lack of messaging to correct the mis and disinformation, a lack of appeal, the ability to break the attachment people have to lies, to their tribal instincts and too easily to our lower natures. But we do have, maybe mainly, structural problems that may cause us to lose our country to this evil. (It is evil.) It seems to me that appealing to people's higher natures would work, at least for most. But it's work and a battle that must be engaged across the divide. Thank you for your work.

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As your excellent series on the history of Ukraine teaches us, history repeats itself in ways that are utterly devastating. Why can’t we break this cycle? Why can we not convince our neighbours of the horrors of this cycle? Is there anything we can do to break this well known cycle? I guess we have to try harder, and not give up, for our children’s sake. I hope you continue to have the strength and patience to continue to kept trying to educate us. 

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Thanks. This was a great breakdown of the report. On Tyranny was a game changer. I reread it regularly. Your insights are greatly appreciated.

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I made a comment on another Substack the other day. Trying to suggest one understanding of how it is possible that so many are attracted by someone who is totally defying to acknowledge losing, even when he has done so:

"As I explained in an earlier reply I refer to my experience of children comparing themselves with the others. I have been doing projects in schools where the children have been doing painting, masonry, carpentry, and theater in their environment outside of curriculum, without being graded. Sadly, it is my experience that all too many go to school to learn: 'I am not very good at this'. We need all teachers and grown ups, like you, to counter this, but we don't always control how we make others feel. My experience is from Sweden, but I think there is something similar in the US, and I would not say it is healthy that 70 million vote for Trump. His message never to accept being a loser is attractive for a reason."

This was in response to someone who thought I was pointing finger to "losers"; the sad thing is that so many are ascribing themselves to be "losers", in an environment of competition and lost or non existing opportunities.

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The Remnick edition of the Committee report is due to arrive at my house on Friday. Usually I read in e-format these days, but this time I need to hold the real book in my hands and keep it safely on the shelves with my most valued books (On Tyrrany, text and graphic, among them).

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As everyone else has said, thank you for this powerful, concise summary of the January 6 report. I am sharing it widely, so that the facts don't so easily get lost among people (like me) who may not easily find time to read the entire report soon.

Democracy in America has felt precarious for quite some time. January 6 was yet another shocking tipping point. As a nation, we certainly cannot afford to gloss over the importance of what occurred.

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I watched the entire procession of events, January 6, because I had an ominous feeling about what was going to happen. I don’t have a TV or patience, normally, to watch any such public event, but did so, minute by minute. I saw the attack transpire and the hours before there was the military came in to restore order. I watched in agony the brave but feeble defense feeblest put up by a few, overwhelmed Capitol Police.

It was completely obvious to me and to anyone else still attached to reality what was going on, including that the Guard had to have been called off. And that order could have come from only one source. I was horrified by the whole thing--then and afterwards, deeply morally disgusted.

We have witnessed and endured such profound dishonesty and sickening collusion by those trying to gain power by the lowest means. This spectacle of January 6, and all its groundwork before and defense afterwards, has been allowed to happen, covered up and rationalized, with all blame redirected to critics, innocents and outsiders.

The visibly obvious perpetrators that day should have been hauled off to jail, to be followed, after quick and efficient investigation, by the leaders and colluders. But instead the American public has had to watch helplessly, and to pay and pay with our taxes, our energy and possibly our future, for what has been an unending display of deceitful and vicious childishness--venality, self aggrandizement and retaliation. This was the display of “power” laid out for all to see.

Cowardice is at the bottom of all this, the cardinal failing, I think. Americans accepted a put-up, fake leader--a pasteboard prop and model gliding down a golden elevator to the ground where the rest of us lived. But we were the ones debasing ourselves as we tried to try to make him and our contractual relationship with him be what it was not. All we had was an image, a cartoon form of American Royalty, a mouth full of poisonous manipulations and shameless lies. For all the sentient people who went along, debasement followed debasement in their desperate fervor to compel what was false to be true--which can never happen. Only the psychopaths, like Roger Stone, could laugh and jump with joy, possessing for that time what seemed to them like real freedom and happiness.

Was this whole exercise just a means to release the psychopaths in our midst, so they have their could run of elated lawlessness? Was this the “liberty and pursuit of happiness” so seriously laid down in our country’s founding documents, or rather its ugly, fand deformed imitation?

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I also watched the event minute by minute. First, defenders of Trump attempted to blame the insurrection on Antifa when it was obvious that organization had nothing to do with the uprising. Yet, many people believed the propaganda. After that, Trump told the rebels how wonderful they were, which should have been enough to have him removed using the 25th Amendment. Instead, both Trump and the rebels have been hailed as heroes and persecuted victims. I can't relate to people who support Trump no matter how unethical he behaves.

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I share your thoughts and feelings here and could add more of my own along the same lines!

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