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The Nation

The Nation February 08/15, 2021

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The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

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United States
The Nation, LP
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36 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
arsonists, not firefighters

THE CHAOTIC AND CRIMINAL FINAL WEEKS OF DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY GAVE many of his accomplices a chance to recast themselves as heroes. A spate of last-minute resignations allowed administration officials like former attorney general Bill Barr to whitewash their long history of complicity and present themselves as brave truth-speakers. Senator Mitch McConnell, who spent four years shielding Trump from congressional oversight, basked in positive press for finally voicing some criticism when the outgoing president incited his followers to storm the US Capitol. These newly minted anti-Trumpers are all, to borrow a phrase from the writer Anand Giridharadas, arsonists trying to rebrand themselves as firefighters. Among these fake heroes are the social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and Twitch, which have all banned Trump and his campaign from…

4 min.
no new terror laws

AFTER THE STORMING OF THE US CAPITOL BY A right-wing mob on January 6, lawmakers and pundits are pushing again to expand the War on Terrorism. The day after the siege, The Wall Street Journal reported that, as president, Joe Biden would “make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism,” noting that “he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists.” In the Senate, Dick Durbin plans to reintroduce a version of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act that he put forward in 2019. With deadly right-wing violence looming ever larger, new domestic terrorism statutes are likely just around the corner. But this is a terrible idea. To understand why, we must first contend with the reasons this issue exists in the…

4 min.
georgia goes blue

THE WHITE SUPREMACIST ATTACK ON THE US Capitol on January 6 temporarily obscured the titanic achievement of Georgia Democrats the night before: defeating right-wing Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the state’s runoff elections, electing the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and giving Democrats control of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris poised to break any 50-50 tie. (Take that, racists.) Progressives had no time to celebrate, though, and it was almost as if that were the point. Of course, the hard-won result in Georgia did not inspire the deadly and seditious riot; we know the violence had been planned in plain sight for weeks, if not months, on social media and elsewhere. But certainly the victories, by a Black preacher and a Jewish documentary filmmaker, helped drive…

5 min.
passion will be our enemy

THEY ARE STILL DECIDING WHAT TO CALL THE events of January 6. Riot? Insurrection? Coup? From the Wilkes mob and the Gordon mob in 18th century London to our own Seattle and Portland mobs, hyperbole and euphemism have fought a close contest in this area. Consider two stock phrases that look synonymous but have come to mean very different things. “Law and order” may convey the preconditions of a free society, but the use of that slogan—by Richard Nixon’s campaign in 1968 and its successors in 1988 and 2016—gave the words a dubious odor. Repression of speech and assembly and ordinary freedom of action could be hidden under the seemingly harmless phrase. Yet no such opprobrium has ever attached to the instruction to abide by “the rule of law.” Why…

5 min.
time for accountability

NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN TREATED WITH more unearned grace and deference over these past four years than Donald Trump’s supporters. Their anger is always justified, their failures someone else’s, and their accountability for their own actions nonexistent. However horrific the crimes and cruelties they commit, it’s the rest of us who are guilty—of not offering them enough empathy and compassion. And even as their conspiracy-fueled paranoia and racial fascism have festered, they’ve been coddled via narratives that paint them as good, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth patriots. But patriotism, to modify a phrase, is the first refuge of white supremacist terrorists. And the portrayal of Trump supporters as a monolith of uneducated, small-town rubes duped into “voting against their interests,” as the saying goes, is a classist projection of those…

5 min.
security blanket

IN THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11, PRESIDENT George W. Bush established the Department of Homeland Security, the largest federal law enforcement organization and the third-largest federal employer in the country. The DHS boasts more than 200,000 employees—in addition to over 60,000 law enforcement officers—and encompasses agencies like the Secret Service and the Federal Protective Service. How did this sprawling national security apparatus fail to prevent a crisis that represents the closest we’ve come to a violent occupation of the Capitol since the War of 1812? Law enforcement documents obtained exclusively by The Nation through open-records requests provide some clues. Last year, I undertook a tortuous back-and-forth with law enforcement agencies all over the country. (In one case, I even had to file suit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a…