There’s a useful phrase in Spanish that we lack in English: “auto golpe”. Literally it means self-coup. An auto golpe occurs when a president instigates an attack by the military or by mobs against the legislature. The purpose is to extend the president’s term in office.
What occurred on January 6 was an auto golpe. A huge crowd of people went to Washington to protest Congress certifying the electoral vote. A smaller group of radical extremists, egged on by lies and demagoguery, invaded the Capitol to stop the formal tally of the Electoral College vote. Make no mistake. This was not an attack against a building, but against the Congress of the United States. It was an attack instigated by the Chief Executive against a co-equal branch of the United States government. The goal was to overturn the results of the November 3 election and to take away the votes cast by my fellow Georgians. That some members of Congress promoted the Big Lie of widespread electoral fraud is astounding.
I am furious about the mayhem in the Capitol: people in tactical gear intending to hang the Vice President of the United States and bind members of Congress with zip ties; others beating Capitol police officers with flagpoles while chanting “USA, USA” as if it were the Olympics. And their targets were not just our elected representatives. The Confederate flags waving inside the rotunda signaled loud and clear that, to these invaders, Black lives do not matter, while their t-shirts emblazoned with “6MWE” (Six Million Weren’t Enough) and “Camp Auschwitz” represent an obscene glorification of the Holocaust. This rabble and their actions are appalling to all of us and antithetical to the values of American democracy.
When I asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to speak to the World Affairs Council in July, I had no idea that he would become a national hero five months later by defending the rule of law against inordinate pressure from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and President Trump. He was a bit wonky last summer talking about voting machines and procedures. I told a friend afterwards that Raffensperger is “the straightest of straight shooters.” Thank goodness. And thank goodness for Gov. Brian Kemp, who supported Raffensperger at considerable political risk.
As a 34-year career diplomat, sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, it pains me that Georgia’s Secretary of State demonstrated more political courage than the U.S. Secretary of State, who said not one word about the auto golpe. Raffensperger is a statesman in the truest sense of the word. In contrast, Secretary Pompeo spent his last week in office setting political traps for his successor.
The next few months will be precarious. In World Affairs Council programs about COVID-19, speakers invariably stressed that companies must be resilient. It never occurred to me that we would need democratic resilience after a mob attack on our democracy.
The task we face now is to ensure that January 6 was the high-water mark of these golpistas -- domestic terrorists and insurrectionists. The World Affairs Council will do our part to promote global, democratic and inclusive analysis by providing experts to cut through distortion and outright lies. As poet Amanda Gorman challenged us at the Inauguration, we must be brave enough to be it.
Paige is currently a Junior at American University in DC where she is majoring in International Studies with a focus on global development & inequality and US foreign policy, as well as minoring in Arabic language. In addition to her interest in improving our global development and aid systems, Paige is also particularly passionate about the environment and global sustainability.
Allison is a current senior at Bradley University, majoring in International Studies and Spanish with minors in Political Science and Business Studies. She is passionate about global cultures and foreign relations. Allison helped to create opportunities for students to learn about various topics in foreign relations and she also worked in partnership with the Peoria Area World Affairs Council.
AWQ 2020-2021 National Competition Updates
It is confirmed the 2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition in Washington, DC will be held virtually. Additional announcements will be forthcoming.
The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020-2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition is scheduled to be held virtually on April 16-17, 2021.
The AWQ local competition questions packet has been sent! Details about the National Competition platform and format will be announced by the end of this week. If you have not received the local competition questions or you have questions of your own, please email Laura Duncan at email@example.com.
2021 New Guideline!
Due to the AWQ National Competition being virtual in 2021 and endeavoring to be as inclusive as possible, each Council may bring up to three teams to the National Competition - whether you have a local competition or not. Even if your Council joins another Council's competition remotely, each Council may bring up to three teams to WACA's virtual National Competition in April. We look forward to your participation! If you have questions about this, please email Laura Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts Jennifer Huang Bouey, Senior Policy Researcher at RAND Corporation, and Thomas Bollyky, Director of Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, for “Vaccine Nationalism.”
WorldBoston hosts Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, and Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for “Business & Tourism in the Post-Covid World.”
World Affairs Council of Charlotte hosts Jay Bryson, Managing Director and Chief Economist at Wells Fargo Corporate and Investment Bank, for their “The 2021 Global Economic Outlook.”