The More We Know…
…the worse it gets. That’s been the commentary from media pundits and members of Congress since the Trumpers’ assault on the US capitol on January 6th. We now know that members of Congress phoned good-bye messages to loved ones as they lay huddled on the floor of the House chamber before Security was able to whisk them away to safety. The marauders came within minutes of confronting Vice President Pence, accusing him of treason for failing to stop the certification of the November election and vowing to string him up. (One of them was carrying a noose). A security briefing by the acting Capitol police chief – described by members as” horrific and chilling” – told them their purchase of bullet-proof vests would be compensated. Members of the National Guard are now sleeping on the floors inside the Capitol – somewhat reassuring the lawmakers.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC, D, NY) revealed she doesn’t feel safe around some pro-Trump Republican lawmakers. Some of the Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump are also facing death threats. State capitols around the nation are fortifying government buildings after the FBI warned that armed right wing groups are planning more assaults this weekend leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden as president.
If this weren’t enough, Americans were reminded that January 6th marked the most Covid-19 deaths in a day: 3,964 reported on Wednesday, with a total of 361,383 Americans having died in the pandemic.
What, you may wonder, does all this mean? Not only for Americans, but for the world?
Comparisons are being made between 6/1 and 9/11 due to the alleged failure by national security forces to prevent the attacks. Only this time questions have been immediately raised as to whether members of the Capitol Police and some Republican Congressmen were complicit and provided information –including maps of the Capitol and its labyrinth of hallways– to the protesters. 9/11 had huge ramifications for US domestic and foreign policy, not the least of which was the US military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and decades of endless wars on the pretext of the “war on terror.” Will 1/6 do the same, starting with social media censoring Trump because he was deemed a “clear and present danger”—a move that could also be used against progressive forces, as is happening in the Middle East as authoritarian regimes like Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia try to close down dissent.
TF Newsletters Have Become Chronicles of Seismic Changes
When I took over as Guest Editor and wrote the first newsletter (Nov. 1), I admitted to feeling a sense of humility because “we are living through a very pivotal time in world history.” With the November elections fast approaching, “every day comes as a new example of President Trump’s increasing desperation to stay in power.” His continued harangues against a “rigged election” further inflamed his followers. Following the Biden-Harris victory, I wrote on November 11 that “Trump is trying every tactic imaginable to cast doubt on the Biden Harris victory.” It was becoming increasingly clear that Trump might try to use force to keep Biden from assuming power and on December 14, the words “attempted coup” appeared for the first time in our newsletter. Trump subsequently asked advisors if he could rely on the military to carry out his coup. His scheme was rejected. Recently, ten former Defense chiefs — including Dick Cheney — warned against using the military to try to overturn the election of Biden. But Trump persisted. He knew what he was facing once he left office: multiple criminal prosecutions against him.
There is great irony to the fact that Toward Freedom, during these past three months of tension in the US , has been celebrating electoral victories against US-sponsored dictatorships in Latin America— in Bolivia, in Chile, and in Venezuela. The Biden-Harris victory over Trump’s authoritarian rule was another huge game-changer, although various commentators, including President-elect Joe Biden, feel strongly that our democracy in the US is still under assault, and that the US is looking like a Third World country. The heavily fortified Capitol has been drawing comparisons to Iraq under US occupation. That realization invites further analysis in Toward Freedom — that the evils of the American empire, and all its racist abuses toward Black and Brown people abroad, has now come home to roost. Malcolm X, once derided for making this point, has since been exonerated. The Black Lives Matter uprisings, along with Covid 19’s scourge of minority communities, have stripped away the veneer of “all men are equal under the law” in the US. The pandemic exposed the long festering sores of massive inequality created by elites who care more about holding on to power and protecting profit margins than the 99 % struggles for survival. In that sense, we in the US feel even more “cojoined” with the peoples of the world who live under the yoke of imperialism.
Toward Freedom will continue to reflect and analyze these tumultuous times. What makes us unique is our connection to progressive freelance journalists from around the world. At a time when corporate propaganda is constantly trying to shift public opinion at home and abroad, we strive to publish stories that have been carefully documented, offering evidence in the name of fairness and accuracy in reporting. As Senate Democrat minority leader Chuck Schumer said recently in reference to Trump’s continued lies to his base about the 2020 elections, “Facts matter, the truth matters.” And that applies to the coming months. We remain committed to the notion that “the more we know,” the more we can stand up to authoritarian abuses and chart a new course for the world’s humanity, in its struggle toward freedom.