They told us not just on Twitter, TikTok, and TheDonald in the weeks leading up to the attack. They’ve been telling us for years from the racists who showed up in Charlotteville in 2017 to the armed “protesters” who took over the Michigan Capitol last year. Experts listening sounded the alarm, and yet when the wave crashed into the Capitol, there was still a sense of shell shock and now, a scramble for justice.
This scramble is not victory, it’s the luxury allowed by this particular crisis. The comforting self-righteousness of those who warned that Trump would lead us to disaster is the sour reward of waiting too long. But if we continue this opulent pattern of collective inaction, it will one day destroy not the windows of the Capitol building but life on Earth as we know it.
The climate crisis has followed a seemingly similar path. Just as the evidence of the past four years made clear the ugly culmination of Trump’s presidency, more than 100 years of scientific research has made clear that carbon emissions are warming our planet, resulting in rising seas, widespread wildfires, catastrophic weather events, mass extinction, human suffering, and death. Just like today, opportunistic politics and craven corporate greed have grease-stained the truth, creating a shimmering illusion that there is more than one side to reality.