How Do You Make Sense of This?
Writing a draft for history
Well, Steady community, perhaps the question at the top of the newsletter and the picture above have given you a clue as to what we will be discussing today.
Oftentimes, we try to pose questions in this newsletter as a way to share our perspectives and encourage community engagement. Today, however, we are mixing it up and trying something a bit different. Actually it’s a first at Steady: a contest (of sorts).
Hopefully you will find this exercise interesting, or even fun (by some tenuous definition of the word). Ultimately, however, this contest is about something deadly serious: the future of our democracy.
Naturally, we have written a lot in Steady about the events of January 6, what led to that day, and how it continues to inflect, inflame, and undermine the health, steadiness, and security of our political system.
When we talk about “January 6,” we are really using shorthand for a movement that was months, if not years, in the making. It’s similar to how “Watergate” became a stand-in for a vast criminal conspiracy run out of the Oval Office.
The events of 1/6, and all that led up to them and have transpired since, involve a president, his family, allies in Congress, and even the wife of a Supreme Court justice. They involve a vice president, the role of the press, and the judicial system. Books have already been written about that day, and likely countless pages will follow in the years ahead.
This is all important. We need to root out the details, wherever and whatever they may be. We need to be complete and thorough in telling the story of what happened and hopefully in holding those responsible accountable.
But there is another challenge with a story this sweeping, especially one that continues to unfold. The final chapters cannot be written until we know what happens next, including in upcoming elections.
Consequently, the voting public needs to have a clear and succinct sense of what the story of 1/6 is to help them weigh their ballot choices. Messaging is of vital importance. This is not to say that most or even many who support Trump and his enablers will be swayed. But some might, perhaps enough to make the difference between who gets elected and what happens to American democracy.
So with all of this as prelude, here’s the challenge:
Using no more than 75 words (succinctness is key), explain what happened on 1/6. You can paint as broad or as narrow a picture as you want. You can mention individuals by name or keep it general. The goal is to express as much of the story in as compelling and clear a way as possible. This is about clarity, urgency, and a fidelity to the facts. It should be about explaining to a fair-minded person what happened and why it is important.
For those who want to submit an entry (and we encourage all of you to do so), please add it to the comments section. And for everyone else, we encourage you to click on the little heart button to like your favorite submissions. Feel free to share this post with others outside the Steady community so we can hear their perspectives, too.
We are not sure what our next steps will be for this challenge; we just thought we would try something new. We have been so impressed whenever we hear from you. We may be biased, but we think the Steady community is among the most thoughtful, caring, and wise online. We’re eager to read your ideas.
(And if you haven’t subscribed to Steady, please consider doing so)