Dear Future Generations....
(Excerpts from the Prologue of “Sorry Guys, We Stormed the Capitol.”)
. . . so, I guess now I owe you some answers. Why would anyone be wandering around a besieged Capitol Balcony with an audio recorder, gathering material under a haze of tear gas? Well, I think of this as a time capsule. In these pages are historical artifacts that I collected for you, the people reading this book in the future; while I’m stuck writing it here, in your past. I think about you a lot, future generations. I want you to understand what it felt like to live through the bizarre events of my era.
The happiest time of my life was when I was a high school history teacher (either that or when I was hitchhiking across Europe, with the equivalent of $28,000 in Saudi Arabian cash . . . but let’s not get into that right now). The point is, the history teacher in me wanted to pass on a lesson to you, about my troubled times. So, I traveled all around my country, trying to place myself in situations that seemed historically relevant, to create a record of my era. I called this project “Chasing History,” and it’s the reason I ended up conducting interviews while the Capitol was still being stormed behind me.
Everything in here is real. Everything I wrote about in the Chasing History Project was witnessed first-hand and every picture I took myself, unless otherwise noted. Every transcript features the exact words I recorded, and although some of the longer interviews had to be cut for time, editing was minimal and all interviews can be read in full on my website.
. . .
This time period I live in is hyper-partisan, so I’m sure both sides will accuse me of unfairly attacking them in this book. However, I tried to be, if not “fair” to my subjects, then at least “accurate.” It’s not my job to make anyone look good, but I never told any lies and I never omitted any key details to deliberately change how something was perceived. I just walked you through all the events that I witnessed, heard about, and thought about. That’s it. I tried to ask questions that I imagined that some skeptical history student would want to ask years later if given the chance. I’m not “neutral” and if I describe myself that way in interviews, I’m wrong.
If you’ve been wondering about my own politics: I didn’t vote for Trump or Biden. I worked for a couple of big-name internships for the Democrats, back when I was an idealistic college student; but that was almost 20 years ago. Today I’m just another cynical smart aleck with no party affiliation. I’ve got degrees in Political Science and Teaching that landed me a few gigs teaching high school history and government, as well as a stint trying to work as a full-time campaign manager. In short, I’m a frustrated citizen with an above-average understanding of the system, who disagrees with Republicans but is exhausted by the impotent hypocrisy of the Democrats. Besides which . . . both sides are controlled by corrupt bureaucrats who take bribes from billionaires. They report the money on their tax returns, it’s not even a secret! They just call them “speaking fees,” or “campaign contributions,” or “awarding government contracts to your brother’s company!” (gasps for air) . . . and now you know how I feel about politics.
So anyways, that should be everything you need to get started. You know who I am and why I did this, you know what we’re about to dive into. Now it falls to you, future generations, to learn from my era’s mistakes and use them to build a better future. So, let’s rewind back to the morning of January 6th, 2021, and run through the whole day, from start to finish.
C’mon. Let’s go storm the Capitol.
–Ben Hamilton 2/4/21
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got chapters that I already wrote, but which I cut from my final published book. Chapters from new, unpublished books, unpublished
interviews, photos and videos of controversial events that that didn’t fit easily into any book.