The Weekly Digest

Like most everyone, I’ve been glued to the news this week: first, watching the results come in from the Georgia Senate runoffs with great excitement, and then watching insurgents rush into the Capitol (with the hopes of stopping the certification of Joe Biden as president… to do disgusting damage and possibly take hostages or kill elected officials?) with great horror. It’s most horrifying, perhaps, because of how unsurprising it was. How many times did Trump warn us all that he was not going to create the conditions for a peaceful transfer of power? How many times did he praise and align himself with white supremacists and conspiracy theorists? Wasn’t this all, as much as it somehow still played out as a shock, exactly what we were promised? Isn’t this exactly what we knew was being enabled by the Republican legislators who backed him? It is both appropriate and nauseating that we are at this moment.

I really appreciated Ezra Klein’s opinion piece for the New York Times: “For years, there has been a mantra that Republicans have recited to comfort themselves about President Trump — both about the things he says and the support they offer him. Trump, they’d say, should be taken seriously, not literally. ” Klein takes up this disconnect, between taking someone seriously versus literally, to explain how so many of his supporters who do not trust the result of the election are in the latter camp. “If their actions looked like lunacy to you, imagine it from their perspective, from within the epistemic structure in which they live. The president of the United States told them the election had been stolen by the Democratic Party, that they were being denied power and representation they had rightfully won. ‘I know your pain,’ he said, in his video from the White house lawn later on Wednesday. ‘I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it.’ More than a dozen Republican senators, more than 100 Republican House members, and countless conservative media figures had backed Trump’s claims.”

I worry where we go from here. As Klein writes ” there is no real refuge from the movement they fed. Trump’s legions are still out there, and now they are mourning a death and feeling yet more deceived by many of their supposed allies in Washington, who turned on them as soon as they did what they thought they had been asked to do. The problem isn’t those who took Trump at his word from the start. It’s the many, many elected Republicans who took him neither seriously nor literally, but cynically. They have brought this upon themselves — and us.”

There have been too few arrests, there has been too little accountability for any of this so far. Today we are replaying videos of the white mob being ushered through the gates, of police posing with insurgents who had broken through and into the Capitol and comparing those images with the treatment of protesters at Black Lives Matter movements this summer. No one can feign disbelief at these double standards any more, can they?

Today, as I write this, it is said that articles of impeachment are being prepared but, as Benjamin Wallace-Well writes in a New Yorker article calling for accountability, “Impunity has been the defining feature of Trump’s Presidency. During the 2016 campaign, he said, ‘I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, O.K.?'” ‘ He quotes David Blight, a Civil War Historian, who describes the relevance of looking at how confederates were viewed post-civil-war and concludes: “Congress should impeach Trump, even—and maybe especially—if the act is only symbolic.” Perhaps, today, that is where we are headed. Will it be enough?

Selfishly, having been looking forward to a sense of reset here, and to some some benign rehashing of holiday highlights today, I was dismayed by needing to once again shift my focus to Washington. I saw many memes on Instagram that made remarks like “there goes dry January,” or some other humorous reference to the disruption to someone’s New Year goals or intents—and I really do feel that. It’s exhausting. It is as if every footing is unstable of late. Just as we think we’ve lept to a new one, the ground shifts again: the virus mutates, a new lockdown starts, fires break out and make for unbreathable air… our president attempts a coup. The loss of constants, like work and school, at home are already so disorienting. It feels overwhelming to look beyond the threshold. There’s privilege in being able to isolate oneself, of course, but also some degree of self-preservation—which is to say, I do think we all need to be easy on ourselves when it comes to finding comfort right now. Here’s hoping you are able to this weekend.

It reminds me: We changed the words on our Minted holiday card from “Merry & Bright” to “Cautiously Optimistic” this year. (See below.)

I do remain so, ultimately. And so today I still wish you and yours a happy New Year.

Some links of note… 

Reasons to celebrate: Warnock and Ossoff win their Senate runoff races in Georgia! via AP News

And we have an increased focus on how voter disenfranchisement can be combatted: Democrat Stacey Abrams, who launched an unprecedented voter registration effort and groups like New Georgia Project and Fair Fight had been working for years to register new voters, laying a foundation for the 2020 election. via Politico

But this is staggering: “Once Warnock and Ossoff take their seats, the Democratic half of the Senate will represent 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.” Forty-one-and-a-half-million! via Vox

Some more notes on the events of January 6: The insurrection was being planned online, in the open. There was plenty of warning. Via BuzzFeed News. From there, The Morning News has a list of links with the day’s news headlines which give a good idea of how the day played out.

“Even after the storming of the Capitol, a group of senators, including Josh Hawley, of Missouri, still voted to disenfranchise millions of their fellow-Americans.” via The New Yorker

Via Mother Mag, a list of sources for how to talk to children about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol: Common Sense MediaNPRChildren & ScreensNational GeographicThe New York TimesLAist

NY Times reporter Neil Sheehan died yesterday at the age of 84. In an interview to be published after his death, he reveals how he obtained the classified report on the Vietnam War for the first time. Via The New York Times

As U.S. tops 4,000 deaths in a day, a record, Fauci discusses what lies ahead. Via NPR.

And, fact-check: have we seen some of the deadliest days in American history this month?

I appreciated this encouragement to use frozen vegetables on A Cup of Jo

Enjoy! A half-century of music mixed into a single clip, via Kottke. How many do you recognize? How many can you name?

Ordered myself a lightbox to try, after many years of feeling sluggish or blue on grey days.

Encouragement: “Embracing it all, because we have to.” via SwissMiss

Cailou is leaving PBS after 20 years. I know many friends who couldn’t stand the toddler cartoon voice, but my kids loved him and I didn’t mind him. Via CNN.

Aron got me heated socks for Christmas (love) and now I’ve been thinking about other cozy upgrades. Like wool tights. Any favorite gear?

Revisiting this post on eyebrow upkeep and re-ordered the Revitalash gel. I still love it.

I’ve been binging Smartless podcast episodes and I’m a huge fan. I’m excited for them to update every Monday.

We just finished watching The Great. Huzzah! Aron and I both really enjoyed this Hulu show and he even went as far as to say it might be his favorite thing he has watched this year. It has inspired us to watch the newer Emma and now Bridgerton, but we’re only an episode in and the jury is still out. What are you watching?

[Top Photo via The Evening Standard]

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