Still Think They’ll “See the Light”?
As someone who has spent the vast majority of my life writing, and documenting my thoughts onto paper, every so often something happens that leaves me wondering where I should even begin. Today was certainly one of those days.
Considering that congress was set to certify the results of the election and Trump’s supporters had organized in advance, I knew January 6th was going to be ugly. Even putting aside the past four years, the fact that Donald Trump has spent the past two months carefully laying the groundwork for the certification of his defeat to be ugly was enough to warn virtually anyone who follows politics that the protests on his behalf would not be a quiet, calm affair.
That said, I genuinely did not expect it to escalate to the point that it did.
After two years of campaigning as the candidate who would bring about a sense of unity, and calm in a chaotic, divided nation, perhaps the images of Donald Trump’s armed supporters walking the halls of the capital, the evacuation of congress, standoffs that lasted for hours, and the death of a woman will perhaps be the wakeup call that Joe Biden, his team, and his supporters need to understand that they are not dealing with people who are looking for calm.
As Ruth Ben-Ghiat said on Twitter:
“Historian of coups and right-wing authoritarians here. If there are not severe consequences for every lawmaker & Trump govt official who backed this, every member of the Capitol Police who collaborated with them, this ‘strategy of disruption’ will escalate in 2021"
This is not entirely about the results of one particular election. This is the culmination of years and years of frustration and anger, lawmakers exploiting it to their advantage in order to preserve the power they know is slipping away from them as the country changes, and a significant portion of the country who is rapidly learning that the ‘strategy of disruption’ is one they can easily resort to when the electoral process does not get them the results they want.
Donald Trump’s exit from the White House is not the end, but instead looks like just the beginning. He may have successfully fractured the current Republican party beyond repair, but I can’t find a single reason to believe that anything emerging out of that void will be good, especially after today. This coup attempt failed, but that certainly does not mean it can’t be followed by a successful one. Are our lawmakers prepared for that? Is Joe Biden, the man who is ready to embrace all lawmakers who intended to call his election into question with open arms, prepared to acknowledge the reality of the circumstances this nation currently finds itself in?
If nothing else, I hope that at least today was a much-needed reminder there is no “unity” with fascists who are looking for a civil war.