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It's not too late


Every person living in DC right now fully anticipates a second, more violent insurrection on or around January 20th. It’s not pleasant to think about because it seems that there is very little we can do about it. So, we try to distract ourselves with everyday life instead.

But it’s not too late.

Around the country, many people have been shocked awake by the assault on the Capitol Building that occurred last Wednesday. It has become apparent that Trump really is dangerous. He really was trying to undermine our Democracy and install himself as a dictator. It’s not pleasant to think about because it seems that there is very little we can do about it. So, we try to distract ourselves with thoughts and prayers instead.

But it’s not too late.

We want to distance ourselves from this because it is terrible, and we are afraid. “I only voted for him because Republicans have better economic policies!” we tell ourselves. “The only thing we can do now is pray to God,” we lament. We wring our hands and hope that the bad thing does not happen.

But it’s not too late.

The Miracle we are all yearning for is within our grasp. We collectively have the power to avoid the bad thing. But, we need to take some quick actions that will briefly make us uncomfortable.

The people who have been shocked awake are the ones that will have the greatest influence over the ultimate outcome. The reason for this is simple: they aren’t “Never-Trumpers”, “Crazy Liberals”, or any other group that has been written off as “Liars”. No, they are merely trusted friends and family members. But, this is what makes their words so powerful. They can breach the barriers of distrust and help others come to terms with the reality of the current situation.

So, if you have recently been shocked awake, then I implore you to let others know that you do not condone the insurrection or the dysfunctional ideas that led to it. You don’t need to broadcast this message on social media unless you are comfortable doing so. But, please at least communicate it in your private conversations. If you are feeling up to it, then I also encourage you to reach out to 2-3 people who are still in denial. Your words might not immediately convince them, but they will at least cause them to reexamine their assumptions.

I understand that these conversations will sometimes be difficult and heartbreaking. People really wanted to believe in Trump because he gave them hope. They want to believe that the election has been stolen, and that they can become American Heroes by preventing the alleged theft.

They want to live on in glory in the history books.

Sometimes, you will be tempted to allow these people to continue believing the fantasies. But no: Trump did not have the election stolen from him. There was only a negligible amount of voter fraud, and it was not sufficient to overturn the results of the election. Biden is our next president.

Remember: Trump does not have a monopoly on Hope. Hope is not a resource that must be parceled out to us by a demagogue. Hope is something we create for ourselves by coming together to build the world we want to live in.

For those of us who have been awake for a while now: congratulations. Someday, we can try to figure out why we recognized the dangers of Trumpism so quickly. In the meantime, there is still more work for us to do.

Most importantly, we need to stop screaming at the people who have recently woken up and changed their course. I get it: we’re all frustrated, and we all wish that things had not escalated to this level. It takes a lot of strength and courage for someone to change a fundamental belief. We should openly applaud and praise them for taking this step.

Likewise, we need to stop vilifying the members of Trump’s cabinet who eventually resigned and spoke out against Trump’s corruption. We all pretend that we would have been a hero if we were in their shoes. We pretend that we would have spoken out much sooner, or we would have steered Trump onto a better course. As someone who has faced corruption before, I can tell you that most people are not the hero. When you are in that situation, it becomes apparent that speaking out will most likely end your career, and you will be vilified for doing the right thing. If you are very lucky (as I once was), you will eventually be vindicated. But, there is no guarantee that will ever happen. More than likely, you will remain a villain forever, hated by everyone.

So please: acknowledge the heroism of the cabinet members and politicians who spoke out over the last few years. They did not deserve to have their political careers shattered or their legacies tarnished.

Finally, please consider sharing this blog post. The near-term strategies I outlined will only be effective if everybody adopts them quickly.

It might seem like the calamity is directly ahead of us, and there is nothing we can personally do to avoid it. So, we wring our hands and pray that our leaders will somehow save us.

But it’s not too late.

It’s not too late for us to take control of the situation now that we know how.