Author Archives: wendywelch

12:53

The Monday Book will return next week.

I’ve watched it multiple times, the video of 12:53 Wednesday Jan. 6, when a group trying to get into the capitol heaved broken security fencing at five officers trying to keep them out.

You can find it everywhere online. Since FOX, CNN, Politico, and NY Post all have it, one can safely believe it actually happened.

Watch the right-hand corner. As the people trying to get in shake the fence to break it, and as enough of them get their hands on it to be able to literally pick it up and hurl it at the officers, one officer falls down. And he stays down. The only word that accurately describes his body language is “cowers.” (No judgement here.) He curls on the steps, covering his face. His shoulders are heaving. Based on body language, the officer on the stairs seems to be a young man. Can’t tell for sure.

The bulk of the guys trying to get in continue toward the other four officers, and their efforts seem to divide into two parts. Some want to crush the officers under the fence, push them against the steps with the metal until they… what? Leave it there. Others are done with the fencing and the police the instant they can get through; they rush up the stairs into the building.

But in the right-hand corner, as the camera (iPhone?) swings left to see the violence, a guy in a red ball cap (one assumes it is a MAGA hat) reaches his hand toward the cowering officer. It is a “here let me help you up” hand.

Everybody was making decisions in that moment. None of us can know what MAGA said to Officer as he extended that hand, but his offer of help signals one thing: for that guy, not all his decency was lost yet, because he recognized the moment when “protester” turned into “terrorist.” In that moment, he was not so caught up that he could not see through anger to reality. He had participated in trying to hurt people, and now he chose not to.

Where did integrity enter his decisions? Did he know ahead of time, and think that violence was merited because it was for a good cause, then back out when he saw the actual person curled against the concrete? Did he believe that he and his fellow patriots could never devolve to a level of violence reserved for inferior countries (put quotes around several of those words, please)? Did he not think about it too hard; he had time off work, bus tickets were cheap, his friends were going and yeah, he had some vague unease about the sanctity of the election? Was it supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a steam valve for anger, or a coup?

We’re all making decisions. They will get harder to parse in the coming months. And believe me, they are coming from both sides. That hand will be characterized by his friends as “aiding the enemy.” It will be characterized by the left as “too little, too late. You shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

We are all making individual decisions. They add up to our collective future.

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Elites

I broke my own self-rule about arguing Facebook the other day. A bunch of Alphas were saying if the electoral college were abolished, we wouldn’t have had an insurrection.

Even while suggesting that this was in error for two reasons, and that DC urbanites do not understand rural mindsets—immediate personal anger reactions to that were intriguing—I knew this was on their turf, inside a pack of people who need each other in their careers. It was the kind of place where you’re talking to one person, and 12 others jump in from the sidelines, like the drunk guest behind the couch who suddenly rises mid-heartfelt speech on social justice and says, “Shut up, I gotta piss!”

My friend calls Internet research “academic trolling;” lobbing a post and watching reactions to see how long it takes to turn to an inevitable conclusion: blame the victim, or hit a conspiracy theory (and that these exist on the Liberal side is REALLLLLLY hard to explain to lefties). We co-authors of the conspiracy theory book are madly capturing screen shots and threads from false flaggers, slow-waking evangelicals realizing they’ve been had, and elitists.

In that vein, several Alphas couldn’t believe that rural and urban voters have different motivations. It will be easier to reproduce one comment here than paraphrase: When my team drafted the Maryland Democratic Party 2020 Platform, we engaged people on the Shore and Western Maryland to find out what’s important in their communities: healthcare, infrastructure improvements, jobs, schools, and protecting the environment. They also want us to protect family farms from encroachment by agribusiness. Putting it simply, their real wants and needs are pretty nearly the same as everyone’s. The methods to meet their needs differ from urban areas, but not their needs. So thinking they need also to have disproportionate political power through a Byzantine electoral college is in error.

Yeah…. How can we put this? What are the different ways in which those words would be defined in a rural versus urban environment—leaving aside the charm of being engaged, rather than represented on the team in the first place? Especially when “everyone’s” is casually used to mean “people like us.”

Ethnocentrism (the assumption that others want to be like us because we are the best way to be) is rampant in many places in America these days. The domestic terrorists and rioters are inexcusable. Equally inexcusable is to dismiss the people who did not riot, who still want what they were lied to about getting with the dangerous madman we elected: to be heard. They backed the wrong horse, but to call them names and dismiss them as morally (and intellectually) inferior is dangerous.

Class is the last place in America where we don’t have to examine our condescension. That is also dangerous. We got a lot of good info from the conversation. (Permit me one personal indulgence comment? Some real Alpha gem mansplainers live in brownstones.)

Wealthy, educated Alphas living large online must by our very existence be part of the solution, not the problem; it is unfortunate that we dismiss opportunities to examine ourselves as otherwise. We will keep telling ourselves we’re right, right up to the moment that people ignored and denigrated by this dismissal set our world ablaze. There’s a reason the false conspiracy theory Q astroturfers keep using the word “Elites.” They know their audience. They listened to them, the better to manipulate them, sadly. But they listened to them.

I wish we knew ourselves half so well. And I wish we were better listeners. This is going to go badly.

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