Jan. 6, 2022: the cupboard is bare

There is not a lot I can add, a year after the January 6, 2021 Capitol putsch, aside from perhaps the sense that everyone who does not want fascism to win seems at a loss for what to do.

As I posted on Twitter a few days ago, I give points to the investigators in the US House and the Department of Justice for surpassing that dismal average. Despite all the people screaming at them, they’re doing their part and doing better than I expected against the thicket of lying, stalling and obstruction.

That, by itself, is not going to preserve democracy, though. I repeat this phrase again and again, but on January 6, 2021, a horde of Republicans decked out in the defeated Republican president’s flags and banners invaded the US Capitol to break shit and attempt a violent insurrection. What’s more, one year on, the Republican Party is even more allied to the insurrectionists than it was then. For all that Republicans scurry and squirm to keep details of January 6, 2021 secret, there is logically no hidden link or smoking gun more damning than what has been right in front of us for a year.

Politics is not entirely logical, granted. But no matter what the investigators come up with, I don’t think they can transform all of American politics by themselves, and to all appearances they’re on their own.

Everyone who does not want fascism to win seems to be waiting for someone to provide leadership which isn’t there. Journalists write openly about their profession’s, even their own, total failure to report the in-progress toppling of American democracy. The elderly leadership of the Democratic Party may as well be cardboard cutouts. Activist organizations shout to do this or that, but since it’s all the same things we have been doing already, it doesn’t really count.

I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure that anything can be done in the sense of “solving the problem.” I’m attempting to write a book which, I hope, offers something of a deeper and different look at exactly why and how we are in a no-win situation, but I can’t really work out a convincing utility for it besides just trying to find and speak the truth.

Someone might as well—I guess?—because goodness knows that all variety of expedient fibs and fairy tales have been tried and failed. I’m not sure what there is left. In many ways, at this point, it feels like there is not much left for the non-fascist team besides playing for pride.

Marcy Wheeler, a longtime admirer of the bureaucratic martial-artistry of the Cheneys, writes often that Rep. Liz Cheney’s whole career is now bound up with the House investigation’s success or failure at making the Republican Party regret becoming the party of the Capitol putsch. (Wheeler doesn’t quite express it that way, but I don’t see anything else which would redeem Cheney’s apostasy in a career-saving way.) Personally, I can’t call Cheney anything besides a villain, I can believe that she is applying her dynasty’s villainy secrets toward a very narrow creditable goal here, and I kind of hope that she will be able to achieve some degree of playing-for-pride satisfaction.

Because to all appearances Cheney has tethered herself to the losing side.

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