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Shocked Yet Unsurprised

January 6, 2021 is indeed a day that will live in infamy. It will forever be a bloody stain on the American story. What happened this day also represents a bullet dodged. It will not be the last one fired at our country’s beating heart.

I don’t know if it’s even possible to be shocked and unsurprised at the same time, but that’s the feeling I had as I watched events unfold. It was heartbreaking and sickening, but there also was an air of familiarity and inevitability about it all. It wasn’t that hard to see this kind of thing coming.

The morning after, I was asked by a radio show host what action Our Wisconsin Revolution might take in response to the armed insurrection on January 6. It’s not just one action that’s needed. A great many actions over an extended period of time are required. The presence of the word revolution in our group’s name makes some people squirm. But if what happened on the day Congress was to accept and confirm the results of the presidential election didn’t make it sufficiently clear how sick politics has become in our country and didn’t make it clear enough how badly we need to revolutionize our politics, nothing will.

The domestic terrorists who attacked the U.S. Capitol and our democracy are not revolutionaries. They are counter-revolutionaries. Their attempted coup sought to end the American experiment with self-government and usher in fascism. The failed coup attempt will not be the final assault. It will take nothing less than a rekindled revolutionary spirit to defend against ongoing insurrections aimed at snuffing out democracy in our country.

The threat will not subside because the president who incited the rioting will soon be made to leave. There are hundreds of co-conspirators in high places who remain in their positions of authority. Many thousands of unhinged extremists remain in our midst. Also among us are tens of millions of Americans who voted for that president and those members of Congress. They presumably did so because they feel unheard and angry and wanted to throw a Molotov cocktail at the political establishment, figuratively speaking.

Our country’s 45th president is nothing if not a very large Molotov cocktail, figuratively speaking. The figurative became literal on January 6. Along with two pipe bombs, among the instruments of destruction recovered by police were actual Molotov cocktails.

Elected officials and public figures and media pundits alike sought to assure themselves and the rest of us that this is not who we are, it’s not what America is. I beg to differ. This is where we’re at as a country right now. Nothing is gained by denying it. Our nation is in trouble. We face multiple national emergencies all at once. If we don’t revolutionize our thinking and these emergencies go unsolved, the anger and desperation that produced the nightmare of January 6, 2021 will only grow.

Mike McCabe


January 7, 2021