Content warning: Stuff about the insurrection etc. Skip this post if you didn’t come here to read about that stuff.
On January 6, I won a bet.
In the early months of 2020 before the pandemic really hit, I bet a friend at work $100 that if Donald Trump lost the election, he wouldn’t accept the result. Around 1:15PM on January 6th, 2021 — coincidentally right about the time Ashli Babbit was shot and killed while trying to break through a barricaded door inside the Capitol — my friend messaged me to say that I’d clearly won. I asked her to send the money to Colorado Freedom Fund.
While I got the overall story correct, I would never have been able to predict all the details. I assumed that Trump would lean harder on the Department of Homeland Security, specifically CPB and ICE, as his personal guard (and he yet might: he’s scheduled to speak at the border wall in Alamo, TX today). I hoped that the military would stand firm even if DHS and police supported Trump. I didn’t understand that QAnon would successfully radicalize millions of people, including the mayor and many others in my old hometown of Parker.
Aside: this article, A Game Designer’s Analysis of QAnon is the best thing I have read about Q and I recommend it even if you don’t care about game design.
I spent the summer watching the uprisings on livestreams online. That’s how I watched the Capitol assault as well. This summer I was rooting against the cops and for the protesters. I wanted to see people fight back against the police. Last Wednesday I was rooting against the rioters, but couldn’t manage to root for the cops. I got to see people fight the cops in real time, throwing punches and spraying chemical irritants right back in the police’s face. On video we can all watch the fascists drag an officer down the Capitol stairs, pin and crush an officer between the door and the mob, or throw a fire extinguisher into a crowd of police.
I feel ashamed of my voyeurism, of treating this all like a sport or a spectacle. As if my watching is somehow helpful, as if clicking the little heart on the Twitter posts is actually doing antifascist work instead of just doomscrolling.
I’m finding it hard to have a coherent, consistent thought about police. This summer introduced me to police and prison abolition, and I feel like I’m most of the way there. But if not police or military, who will stop the insurrectionists? But that’s not a rational thought because the police substantially failed to stop the insurrectionists anyway, and it’s clear that the police also assisted and also were the insurrectionists.
I’m not planning to make any bets on the events of 2021. I expect things to get considerably worse in terms of white supremacist / fascist violence. Maybe we won’t have anything as spectacular as 1/6, but I expect inauguration day at least to be quite violent. Then there’s the more distributed violence aimed at statehouses across the country; I wouldn’t be surprised if we had multiple assassinations of politicians, judges, sheriffs this year. And I see no reason why the everyday violence of police and capital wouldn’t continue against Black and Indigenous people and other people of color. So I’m not super hopeful right now.
On the other hand, we just adopted a puppy. L named him “Rickert.” (This means I call him Ricky, Rickroll, Rocket, Riker, Rickert Ricardo, ad infinitum. Shanon says I’m not allowed to sing “Ricky Don’t Lose that Number” anymore.) He’s about two months old and weighs four pounds.