Image Description: The American flag. Public domain image.

I’m not a catastrophizer. I don’t expect or believe that doom or danger is around every corner, or even one big corner. I don’t believe that harm is inevitable or that we are powerless. I say these things, both because that’s true to who and how I am (and want to be) and also because I’m going to talk about something difficult today. It’s okay to skip this one if this is challenging topic for you.

With increasing regularity, I wonder if the United States is not long for this world as a nation, at least, in its present form. And without losing our minds in fear (if possible) I think we need to make some preparations in the direction of this possibility.

Why do I believe this is possible?

– We’ve already had an armed insurrection.

– We have people putting themselves in state electoral positions so they can be “a watchdog for voter fraud” — i.e. throw out votes or overturn an election outright.

– We have a Supreme Court, far out of step with the majority of the American public that is not only giving nods to rolling back additional rights, but taking up a case in the next cycle that will determine whether state legislatures can set their own election rules for federal elections without any limits from their state constitutions or state courts. Amidst these outcomes, legislatures could set up their rules so that they do not have to follow the popular vote in their states — rules outright to that effect, or perhaps a set of rules that will lead to that outcome inevitably in a systematically rigged way. The Supreme Court will release their ruling on this in the summer of 2023, one year from now and one year before the 2024 election.

– Militias with white supremacist ideology are training for armed combat. This may be the last thing in my list, but it is among the most dangerous. This is not alarmism. This is happening. It’s happening in my state, in fact. It is happening in a number of places around the country. Two of the groups most active in the January 6 insurrection were the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. They are still organizing. Others are likely doing the same. We need to know about these two groups and others.

About all of these things, I want to share an article I read last week in The Washington Post: ‘They Are Preparing for War’: An expert on civil wars discusses where political extremists are taking this country.

How do I think we need to prepare?

I think about this regularly, though without falling into it headlong or immersing myself in it constantly. (More about that in a moment). I don’t have a list here in the same way I made one above. But I think we need to have plans for these: What would you want to do, and how, if 1) an election were overturned outright, or 2) an insurgency suddenly emerged?

And then here is where I’m really going with all of this:

How would you want to care for yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors in those situations? What would that look like?


How can we start enacting those forms of care right now? Not only so we’re prepared, but so we have the best chance possible to turn this around and avoid these worst outcomes?

We have to enact care. We have to listen to one another and make sure that physical, emotional, social, and psychosocial needs are met. We can do this right now. It matters. We are not powerless. Apart from anything our government does or does not do, we can turn toward one another and take care of each other.

And that’s where my subject line comes from — Probable. It’s not my word for likely disaster. It’s my word for the fact that I think my community members would care for each other and me. It’s a word for the fact that we are fully capable of enacting that. And it’s my word for the realization that we can participate in connecting people with one another so that they have places to land with help.

I think about all of this regularly. As I shared, I’m not falling into it headlong or immersing myself in it constantly. I still enjoy my life. I find things to delight in. I share community space with others. I’m even sleeping well at night. And as someone who used to have chronic insomnia years ago, this is a big deal.

But I think we need to prepare. I think this is real, and I think we need to prepare.

That’s why I write this.

Renee Roederer

2 thoughts on “Probable

  1. Renee,

    Thank you for today’s post. Have you read Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson? If you haven’t, I will forward you her post from today. She is a scholarly historian on the faculty of Boston College. Her insights are remarkable. I too find myself like you, thinking about all of this significant, authoritarian change and direction we seem headed toward and it scares me. Frankly, there is no reason to own an AR15 unless you intend to militarize and overthrow the government.

    I am hopeful that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will pour out women and Democrats to the polls in November. If that doesn’t happen, and the Republicans win house and senate, I fear our slide into fascism is inevitable.

    Also like you, I continue to enjoy my life and be grateful for the blessings in it. Balancing a normal day with these abnormal elements underway in the country, is challenging.


  2. Thank you for writing this – cogently and clearly — the voices of people like you who are not “catastrophizers” are so important. I do tend to go to worst-case, but the list of things you mentioned are already true. The little book by Timothy Snyder On Tyranny, lays out the steps and our actions in 20 tiny chapters. Wonder if you have seen it?

    One of the comments he makes is that things will shift more quickly than we could imagine … and so it is.

    Thank you for your hopeful “probable” as well — you are here for such a time as this —


    Sent from my iPhone



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