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From behind Medium.com's paywall: What Is the Ex-President Thinking?

I was reading the Harry Potter series when I was struck down by the flu in late January. I had a cough, minor temperature swings, dream sweats, and I couldn't leave my bed for anything but the toilet or the easiest meals. Gumbo soup, pre-cooked chicken in bottled vindaloo sauce, hot and sour soup; the nursing skills of my normally destructive dog; Harry Potter, and watching ballet documentaries on my phone entertained me between long naps.


I got tested earlier this week. I didn't have COVID-19. Only the cough and sweats fit. I could taste spicy food (it helped me cough), I had no energy to stand up in the shower. It was a run-of-the-mill flu but oh, my, I was bored in that gray space of illness.


The impeachment trial of Donald Trump made me human. I watched it on my phone in real-time, read everything I could, watched documentaries about Q, read Twitter like it was the Heathers planning college visits. I knew, as I imagine most of us did, what the outcome of the trial would be.


I also lay sweating and watching what I didn't know, hadn't seen or heard, before. Watching the January 6 riot was like every child's first night alone when the parents were out: The banging on the Capitol door, the shouts hurled at a lone officer, "You're outnumbered. There's a f*ckin' million of us out there and we are listening to Trump — your boss!"


Reading Harry Potter was a good comparison, easy and sometimes useful.


"Our historic, patriotic, and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!


"We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future."


Vs. "Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together." (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)


Now. I'm about as liberal as they come so bear with me as I make a proposal.


I think Donald Trump should have his Twitter and Facebook accounts reinstated.


"I do not forget. Thirteen long years … I want thirteen years' repayment before I forgive you," Voldemort tells the gathering of his coven in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.


Similarly, with the ex-president being a man who wants to be president for life, no matter what it takes, we need to know what he is thinking.


Yes, we'd have to listen again to the argle-bargle of his hatred of Muggles, his insults, conspiracies, disbelief in science, isolationism, obsessions, grandiosity, blame; the social media platforms would have to monitor and censure him. The pay-off, however — this is crucial and worth repeating — is that we'd know what he was thinking.


We should have known the riot would happen. "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on January 6th but this time with a twist," Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, the group's president, wrote in a late-December post on Parler. They were ready and prepared to stand forth and stand up. Tarrio was arrested before the riot, but the signs of the catastrophe were there and ignored because Parler is not mainstream. We need these statements out in the open.


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the time comes when it is important for Harry to actively seek what Voldemort is thinking, a reversal on the occlumency lessons Snape tried to give Harry.


Hermione urges: "You need to find out where Voldemort is, because he'll have the snake with him, won't he? Do it, Harry — look inside him. Why was it so easy? Because his scar has been burning for hours, yearning to show him Voldemort's thoughts?


Unknowingly, Voldemort's thoughts have revealed two of his greatest weaknesses: the Elder Wand is giving him concern, and the last inanimate Horcrux is hidden in the Room of Requirement. If only Harry had paid better attention to that room, he could have saved time and lives. (For the two of you who aren't Potter Heads, there are seven containers — or Horcruxes — into which Voldemort, seeking immortality, has split his soul.)


What did we miss on Twitter and Facebook before the insurrection? What are we missing now of planned endeavors?

We're on the cusp of an event that is probably a hot topic on Parler. Today, Q and other conspiracists believe that Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States.


The threat is finally getting some serious attention: "The United States Capitol Police Department [ha] obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." March 4 was, until 1933, Inauguration Day. Lawmakers have been leaving town and business as usual is taking place by video conferencing.


In the Potter series, magically (OK, pun intended), all of the Death Eaters were caught, the Dementors, inferi, giant spiders, and giants seemed to melt away when Voldemort died.


This is not true of Donald Trump and his lost election. In reading threads reacting to Senator Steve Daines' posts on Facebook, I was foolishly surprised that people really do believe the election of Joe Biden is a hoax. Trump is not vanquished. He's still touting MAGA and threatening "to continuing our incredible journey together."


Prices at Trump International Hotel have tripled around the March 6 date, signifying that the ex-president believes the Q prediction will, at the very least, bring people to Washington, D.C. And it demonstrates the Second Coming will happen in the capital rather than, say, Roy, Montana.


We know what, when, where, and why; after arrests of a number of group leaders we now don't know who, and that makes the difference between any old Rapture and another attack on the country's highest institutions. We need to know what Trump is thinking.


More than a dozen insurrectionists of January 6 say that it was Trump's personal leadership that led them to the Capitol steps. "I believed I was following the instructions of former President Trump," said Garret Miller in a statement released through his lawyer.


Steven Hassan warns that we can't talk MAGA supporters out of thinking what they think. "Get into a strategic and interactive mode by building a good rapport with them, asking good questions, and giving them time to answer before following up. Tell them, 'Share with me what you think is a really reputable article. I'll read it and get back to you on it, if you agree to read something I share with you. But the deal is we both listen respectfully to each other.'"


Colin Dickey tells believers: "'I don't know if you're right or wrong, but if you were right, I would expect the following to happen…' My goal is usually to press the believer's own recognition of internal contradictions so that the belief itself gets harder to sustain… When comparing conspiracy theories to their real-world counterparts, what becomes clear is how conspiracists tend to see the world on a fairly abstract level. There is a purposeful lack of detail and specificity since such detail will reveal inherent problems and contradictions with the theory."


Let's push the Parler-users back onto mainstream media, let's monitor what is happening, and then throw a rope down the Rabbit Hole and let them find different explanations for what they believe. This is a civic duty. Turn them away from Donald Trump, who, like Voldemort, can be disappointed and defeated in his hope "'…[to] recall the banished giants … I shall have all my devoted servants returned to me, and an army of creature whom all shall share.'"


Our work is ahead of us. No one — including our ex-president — can be silent.

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