Sunday, June 7th, 2020



"Most everyone seemed to be carrying something: flags, baseball bats, hammers and axes. But mostly, they carried guns. They said they came with shotguns, rifles and pistols to protect their downtown businesses from outsiders. They had heard that antifa, paid by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, were being bused in from neighboring cities, hellbent on razing their idyllic town." In Klamath Falls, Oregon, victory declared over antifa, which never showed up. This is an important story about how far the lies have spread and how deeply the rot is embedded when it comes to the nonsensical conspiracy theories driving false realities for an increasingly large—and disturbingly well armed—group of Americans. Decked out in camouflage, they migrate from the internet to the streets, locked and loaded to fight an invisible, imaginary enemy when the real enemy is the combination of lies and paranoid fantasies that have been drilled into their heads in social media groups and amplified from the Oval Office, where dog whistles have morphed into full symphonies. The enemy isn't antifa, it's antifacts.


Send in the Crowds

The crowds are everywhere. Even where you'd least expect them. Texas Monthly: Black Lives Matter Comes to Vidor—Yes, Vidor. "When word started to circulate that a Black Lives Matter rally was being planned in Vidor, many people on social media thought it was a trap—and expressed skepticism the event's supposed planner, 23-year-old Maddy Malone, even existed. (She does.) To black folks with knowledge of the region, who had been told never to stop in Vidor, the idea seemed insane. 'A civil rights rally in Vidor' is the punchline to a joke, not a thing that could happen in this world. C'mon." From my friend who grew up in Texas: Vidor is notoriously (literally) the KKK HQ of Texas. It's so racist, we used to take a long-cut to avoid driving through on trips to visit family in Beaumont. A BLM rally there is really a sign of the revolution.

+ "We were becoming ever more atomised, and pushed further into our homes, and crowds were becoming more domesticated, enclosed, surveilled and expensive to be a part of. Our opportunities to gather freely, in both senses of the word, have greatly diminished since the 90s. And yet, throughout human history, there has always been something pleasingly resilient about the crowd: however many new ways are found to disperse it, it will always find a way to reconvene." Dan Hancox in The Guardian: The power of crowds.

+ And the crowds are getting bigger. Slate: These Images Show Just How Massive the Floyd Protests Were on Saturday. And those crowds are gathering around the world.

+ The Atlantic: The Enormous Scale of This Movement.

+ There is metaphor somewhere in the images of huge, nationwide crowds demanding justice contrasted with a White House that is now almost completely surrounded by more than a mile of fencing. (It's the one thing this administration is good at: Keeping toddlers in a cage.)


The Bill of Right

A brief editor's aside: I've been thinking... One of the first acts by the Trump administration was to delay the creation and issuance of the Harriet Tubman twenty dollar bill. A bill we expected in 2020 was pushed off by nearly a decade for reasons that don't make sense intended to mask the reason we all know the bill was delayed. Well, the bill has come due. What if people keep marching in the streets until the bill is fast-tracked? Yes, it's only a symbol. But symbols matter. That's why many Confederate statues are being removed. What if a movement started to demand that, in addition to symbols being torn down, others are built up? What if that movement started right here? Retweet this and share it on other socials if you agree.


Voices from the Crowd

"Even when the economy was booming, Dave and Sergine had lived in a state of near homelessness, shuttling between seedy motels that had become a shelter of last resort for thousands in the Orlando area. Last year, after six years of the motel life, they had saved enough to finally make it out. They bought an RV and rented a spot in a quiet and clean mobile home community. Sergine promised the kids they would never go back. Now all that was gone." Greg Jaffe in WaPo: The pandemic hit and this car became home for a family of four.

+ "I'd start thinking about how it had been just a few months before. We'd go rock climbing together or shoot off fireworks by Lake Ontario. We'd road trip to Canada because she wanted to try this certain kind of vegan food. She had this unstoppable energy. Her mother died in childbirth with her, so she had to fight and scrap from the very beginning. It was foster homes, abuse — she dealt with a lot. She knew how to soldier up and push through. There was no way she wasn't going to beat it." The latest in Eli Saslow's Voices of the Pandemic series. The fires were everywhere.

+ NPR: She's a Frontline Doctor. Her Husband Has Lung Cancer. Now, A Simple Hug Is Dangerous.

+ Renowned epidemiologist Larry Brilliant with a reminder that the virus is just beginning. And a reminder of the best way out (hint: masks).


The Uphill Both Ways Route to School

"At Hoyonomori Gakuen, a school in Tokyo's Shinagawa ward, the new rules, including temperature checks, are set down in a 28-point plan designed by the school to minimize risks." WaPo: In a Tokyo school, temperature checks and silent lunches as Japan restarts classes.


You Want Frey With That?

"She then handed the microphone to Mr. Frey, who said in a barely audible voice muffled by his face mask, 'I do not support the full abolition of the police.' With that, the protesters began their chants of 'Go home, Jacob, go home!' and 'Shame! Shame!'" Mayor Jacob Frey, 38-year-old civil rights lawyer, called for the offending officers to be arrested from the beginning. How big can a movement be if folks like Frey are getting booed out of it?


Wipe Out

"Home-bound Americans are seeking alternatives to bathroom tissue because of occasional shortages, while stepping up efforts to sanitize their dwellings and themselves." Epidemic of wipes and masks plagues sewers, storm drains.


Downward Spiral

"Nearly three-quarters of Democrats, 74%, said it may take the next year or even longer to curb Covid-19 and return to work as normal. By contrast, among President Trump's strongest supporters within the Republican Party, 32% said the coronavirus is already contained." Many interesting numbers in this poll: 80% of Americans Feel Country Is Spiraling Out of Control. (At least I feel a little less alienated...)


Colin Cleanse

Colin Powell has joined a growing chorus of voices of Republicans who are planning to vote against Trump. "We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the President has drifted away from it." Yeah, Trump has drifted away from the Constitution, much like a missile drifts away from its silo...


Feel Good Sunday

"Short and breezy videos that are funny or feature animals or cooking trends typically dominate TikTok, yet national upheaval over systemic racism has tapped into raw emotion that is also deeply resonating. All of a sudden, TikTok has become the go-to forum for burgeoning youth activism." In the small sample size of my own house, I find this to be accurate. My kids know what's going on. And they definitely don't read NextDraft.

+ Food, coffee, diapers: Amid pandemic, van delivers donations.

+ Between Two Ferns: The bloopers.