The unbelievable yet entirely believable events of January 6th will exist as a divergent point. Either the moment the United States truly came apart at the seams after years of persistent tugging at threads by the most cynical and powerful or the final straw that snapped a modicum of clear-headed sobriety back into place.
It is far too premature to know which path we'll wander down for the next 13 days, yet there's a certainty we'll be uncertain, holding our breath until the nuclear codes do not reside in the hands of a strongman who has just learned he can cheerlead an act of domestic terrorism without repercussions.
The arresting footage of violence at the U.S. Capitol trickled out at first, then became an avalanche as, instructively and terrifyingly, the actors involved gleefully shared their exploits on social media. Real power in this battle for the soul resides online, not in the halls of Congress.
Perhaps the most comprehensive and breathtaking work of journalism conducted on-scene came courtesy of Robert Moore, a correspondent for ITV, who calmly reported from the chaos with steely reserve.
Any lingering disillusion about American exceptionalism is quickly erased by watching the events in real speed, voiced by the same soundtrack to the BBC-ish reporters describing the civil unrest in far-flung countries. To see a WASHINGTON, D.C. dateline affirms that there's nothing magical about it that makes it immune from serving as at epicenter of broken government and broken people converging.
And there is some hope in that realization, as one understands that other places have worked things out. That they've come through these times of insurrection and found whatever level of peace that allows people to sleep at night. Or simply found the correct coping mechanism as the shock wore off.