American Abyss‘ by Yale historian of extremist violence Dr. Timothy Snyder, wrote a must-read article contextualizing the January putsch attempt by Trump and the white supremacists who led the seditious attack on Congress. This article was written in large part BEFORE January 6th, as Dr. Snyder clearly saw what was coming. You can and should read or listen to the entire article on the New York Times website.

Democracy Now! spent half their broadcast today, January 13th, 2021, speaking with Dr. Snyder about the January putsch, his article, and the historical context of the on-going political violence we are experiencing, starting about 22 minutes into the broadcast. The chilling take-away of the article and conversation are that this coup attempt has been on-going for months, if not years, and it’s not nearly over.


One key point to keep in mind through the coming violence is that white supremacists do not view Joe Biden’s election as legitimate because he won it with minority voters, therefore the election was stolen. They do not believe that the election was truly unfair or rigged, those claims are merely a coded dog-whistle for the racist proposition that black Americans and other minority voters are simply not legitimate voters.

It really is as simple and racist as this: Trump supporting racists feel justified in using violence to try to overturn the result of the election and resisting the legitimate and democratically elected government of Joe Biden because he did not win the majority of white votes. They believe the white race is losing control of the government and that justifies violence and terrorism to keep control.

Dr. Snyder warns us all that the violent subversion of our government didn’t start on, nor did it end on, January 6th. We must defend ourselves and our legitimate governments against these terrorists.

January 6th will be recorded in our history as the day the Republican Party died of the very disease it was created to fight. I am heart-broken that a great American political party that was born in idealistic opposition to slavery and fought against white supremacy should have died of the very cancers it sought to cut from the body politic.  It is a bitter and tragic irony that I do not savor, only mourn.