If you were paying attention, none of this will surprise you. What looked like an unhinged madman with psychological pathologies pushed to the edge was an unhinged madman with psychological pathologies pushed to the edge. “I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this … You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.” That’s what Trump told Pence after Pence said he couldn’t stop the election from being certified (of course, Pence called everyone he could think of, including former VP Dan Quayle, in search of a way to do his master’s bidding). That’s one of the interesting details in ‘Peril,’ by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. But it’s the more serious aspects that we need to focus on. Just like you, every sane person in the chain of command was worried Trump would completely crack up and start a war or launch a nuke, including his own chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. WaPo (gift article for ND readers): Top general was so fearful Trump might spark war that he made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart.

+ What you thought you saw was what was happening. America teetered near the brink. And with the big lie still intact (and spreading to other elections) the danger hasn’t completely passed. 2020 was an earthquake and—from the failure to vaccinate America, to the diehard allegiance to the big lie, to the relentless falsehoods spread on Fox News and social media, to the sick hatred that oozes over every American issue—we’re still feeling the aftershocks. To understand and overcome the destruction of 2020, we have to reflect on what happened, and how technology, the media, and our relationship to fame played a role. This is why I wrote Please Scream Inside Your Heart: Breaking News and Nervous Breakdowns in the Year That Wouldn’t End. It’s also a celebration of the journalists who got this story right from the beginning. And, as Dahlia Lithwick pointed out in her blurb, “it’s also a love letter to my own father, and the ordinary people who refuse to accept democracy as something we observe, rather than fight for.”