This day, a year ago, the Insurrection tore apart parts of the US Capitol building. Many Republicans are still insisting that it was no big deal, that most attendees were respectful and kind. Maybe the majority were, but they were eagerly charging behind the guys with Confederate flags and beating and macing police officers. They were cheering on the people who were screaming “Hang Mike Pence!” (the Vice President of the United States). They were part of the mob trying to crush security personnel to death. When one can lie to themselves so deeply that the truth simply hardens their heart even more, there is no more hope for them.
As I prepare for another year of teaching, I pray that I have the clarity and creativity to encourage critical thinking about American history and democracy. It is imperative that educators, parents, citizens not shut out people with whom we disagree politically, BUT it is important that we call out nonsense and outright untruths. Vaccines don’t control our DNA, Biden is not a communist, racism is not gone in America, all police officers are not noble, all police officers are not bad, there is not one way to God, etc. These are simple, basic generalizations that a lot of Americans are making these days, but the real trouble lies somewhere in between.
Most people who believe the Insurrection was grossly overblown, also believe racism still exists and that vaccines offer some support against diseases. But they still believe the election was stolen, even though it has been proven, time and again by bipartisan officials, that is was not. It was fair, but if one doesn’t agree with the results they can simply deny them. That has been happening in America since 2000. In that contested election, many Democrats said Bush had stolen the election. They screamed it from the rooftops, on every cable news show, on talk shows. They gave the Republicans some guidance for their claim of a stolen election in 2020. Of course, the Democrats didn’t storm the Capitol Building. That’s how Republicans took the whole process of tearing apart democracy to the next step. What happens next?
Where will we end up in 2024? Where will be on January 6, 2023? Can we be civilized still? Will we believe in actual science and teach real history, or do we have to twist and whitewash our past so that everything is rosey and just as we wished it had been? I don’t want this to be my first blog post of 2022, but it has to be.