Jan 6 th 2020 will be remembered as a day of farce and tragedy in close proximity. Right now, passions are high, tensions are high. Right now, is the time when scientist and academics must hew to our basic principles and the principles embodied in the constitution. Even as leaders, especially but not exclusively Trump, not exclusively Republican fail to do so. We are voices of reason who the general public greatly respect even when they disagree. The very rancor of the anti-science people left and right comes from the fact the value what we say. Their anger comes from the fact that people whose training they understand the value of, and respect the difficulty of, disagree with them. Scientists see this when we advocate for mask, or for vaccine. Often with people in different parties favoring or opposing, one or the other, for political reasons.
This is the time for every academic, especially in the sciences to stand up and say STOP THE MANDESS.
If we do not do this now, if anyone in the academe thinks they can surf this wave they are sorely mistaken. History shows far more stories of publicly intellectual people being the victims of any grown authoritarian regime. It can happen here. It can happen here even if you are a loyal Democrat. That is the lesson of Jan 6 2020.
We needed to stop Trump. Trump was a person dangerously unprepared to be president who did not know how to “hire the best” and listen to them. He will leave office at noon on the 20th of January no matter what. He ceases to be president even if he is sitting behind the resolute desk at that moment. Joe Biden will be president even if he is having lunch with Nancy Pelosi at a restaurant the rest of us Peons can’t go to due to COVID at that moment. It is done. Trump is done. The excuse to be extra extra hardline against anyone who is not also that way is done. It is time to return to the grounding principles of freedom, free speech, academic freedom, political freedom, liberty and justice.
The people who stormed the capitol should face justice, not retribution. They should face trial, not execution. We started this year from AOC Tweeting, rightly, that protest should make the powerful uncomfortable. We proceeded to righteous protest over the killing of George Floyd. I protested the killing myself. We then got “autonomous zones” capitols and city halls stormed, anti-mask and pro mask. Then a president who is a sore loser cannot accept the outcome of an election, whose supporters stopped the one day when their reps get to speak on congress. A day provided for by law which Democrats did not help by calling “sedition” and “treason”. This death spiral we are in has been due to the failure of leaders both Democrat and Republican to remember they are there to support, protect and defend the constitution.
Thank god the active leaders of the US military have resisted calls from Trump, and as the New York Times today reports from Nany Pelosi to break the law. God bless the US military.
Can those of us who claim to be superiorly intelligent step up too? Do not lie we do think that. If you have a PhD and/or faculty at any college, you probably are. The average person knows this and the wise respect it. Our words matter in a way that only politicians and judges exceed.
It has been asked how we should incorporate Jan 6 into syllabi. Might I suggest that social studies teachers start with a reading of the constitution. Not a deconstruction from some perspective. Not a break down of who wrote it owned slaves. Not a lesson on how Lincoln was racist. Not a lesson about the ERA not passing was patriarchy. Just bloody read it! Just read it. Then incorporate the principles you find which every generation of Americans as strove to uphold into your syllabus.
Teach what the constitution is then you can criticize and deconstruct all you want.
Meanwhile us physical science teachers can teach people critical thinking, and logic. The skills to make up their own minds with or without any AI fact checking.
We will need to stop Biden too. He’s not an angel. Along with the rest of the gerotocrats at the top of power in the US, Biden was the architect of all our policy failures since 9/11 until at least 2017. The most toxic thing is how the left tends to rest once corporate centrist authoritarian Democrats come to power. Fully ok with that kind of nonsense when it’s their guy often doing the same things or worse.
I have come to think that people from Illinois have more common sense than those from other states. Just now I realize we are different here, Democrat and Republican and Libertarian alike. In IL we have to learn the constitution in high school or we don’t graduate. Instead of swearing an oath anyone running for federal office should have to pass that test and swear too!