Time Capsule: 196 Hours to Inauguration

A note on our moment, for future reference:

At this writing, on a Tuesday morning, there are 196 hours till the Inauguration of Joe Biden and the end of the presidency of Donald Trump. That’s 8 days and 4 hours. While some allies of Trump resist calls for his removal, the entire nation is seriously discussing whether he should resign, be removed as unfit for office under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, or face his second impeachment, this time for Incitement of Insurrection.

The reason the debate is serious is that no one, not even his own staff, can be sure he is not a clear and present danger to the republic. He has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. An entire pro-Trump social media platform has been shut down by service providers, for helping to incite insurrection, yet Trump still tries to fan the flames of sedition with conspiracy theories.

Today, he will visit the border region of Texas, known to be rife with paramilitary extremist groups, to celebrate his deliberate torture of families seeking asylum from violence and deprivation. He is doing this, while the FBI reports paramilitary extremists are planning “armed protests” in all 50 states and will again seek to target the Capitol, in a siege planned for January 16-20.

We have, in fact, a rogue president, who appears unable or unwilling to honor his oath of office. There is, at this moment, real, widespread, even global, concern that the sitting President of the United States could engage in actual atrocities if allowed to remain in charge of the US government.

A minority of members of Congress are, today, deciding whether they will cast a vote to provide him with aid and comfort after he incited and set on foot a seditious mob, with instructions to attack the Capitol. It should be noted: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits them from providing him with that aid and comfort.

We must honor the sacred spaces of self-government

The Democracy Witness project began as an affirmation of the rights of all people, everywhere, to enjoy self-determination and open government. The foundation for this publication’s work is the requirement that any government derive its just powers from the voluntary and informed consent of the governed.

Last week’s attack on the US Capitol by paramilitary insurrectionists, incited to violence by a rogue president and his corrupt allies, have caused us to refocus on the importance of treating as sacred the spaces where self-government plays out. The US Capitol is one such place—arguably the most open legislative body in the world, where any person can freely engage in good-faith policy discussion with elected officials and their staff.

Some legislators have full time staff devoted to answering correspondence from those they represent. Some offices will answer millions of pieces of correspondence per year. It is possible, in the United States, for ordinary people to fill the calendar of meetings and to contribute substantively to discussions on racial discrimination, police reform, taxation, economic development, education policy, healthcare access rights, environmental protection and climate action, and on matters of peace and security.

American democracy is not perfect, but it does allow everyone to play a role, if they wish to. The attack on the Capitol was an attempt to subvert the right of hundreds of millions of people to enjoy the fruits of open government. Nothing the attackers or their sympathizers say can change that fact.

We will be using the United States Capitol as a symbol for Democracy Witness, for the indefinite future, as a sign of respect for that highest of all principles of democratic process—that people working in good faith for the betterment of their communities and their fellow citizens have an absolute right to meet with and constructively inform those who represent them in the halls of government.

Democracy is about the demilitarization of the civic space. We call on all political actors everywhere to work peacefully, and constructively, for a society in which force can never displace reason, participatory process, or the full and equal protection of the laws.

This is why we have always loved sharing images of citizens gathering to meet with government in good faith, to talk policy, to build political will for a better future. There is joy, and real empowerment, in living your democracy that way. May it again be the norm in the weeks and months ahead, and when we overcome the scourge of COVID-19 that has kept so many so far from others.

Terrifying Details About the Capitol Hill Riots Keep Coming Out

By Claire Lampen, for New York Magazine’s The Cut

As chaos broke out at the Capitol, lawmakers and reporters alike found themselves directly in harm’s way. For members of the press, whom the president has spent the past four years maligning, an armed mob of his disciples felt particularly terrifying.

… “Much of what we saw — silly costumes, people taking selfies and grabbing the Speaker’s lectern — looked kind of like a group that might even attend a Trump boat parade,” Hayes said. “But there was something way, way darker, more violent, more sinister, and more organized happening in that Capitol on Wednesday, and it’s time we see it clearly.”

Read the full article here.

‘We must save the soul of America’

Last night, as he welcomed the audience to a Democratic Party Presidential Primary debate, on the same day the United States Ambassador to the EU testified under oath that President Trump directed an interconinental extortion plot, Rep. John Lewis told the nation “We must save the soul of America.”

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