“Anyone who voted for this tragic shitty narcissist mess of a president bears responsibility for this debacle today. He has shown you exactly who he was all along. You still supported him. You are complicit in the attempted destruction of the country. You are not a patriot.”
– John Legend, Tweet, 1/6/21
The quotation above caught my eye, not because of the author, but because of the content. I don’t think that celebrities’ utterances are any more intrinsically valuable than those of the billions of anonymous inhabitants of the planet, but the [sometimes unfortunate] reality is that famous people do have bully pulpits. In this case, Mr. Legend has hit the nail on the head, in my estimation, and I’d be glad to see his words repeated far and wide. Everyone who has supported the outgoing incumbent at any level is culpable for both the violence at the Capitol and the simmering violence throughout the country.
At this writing, here we are, Capitol invasion plus two. In terms of media coverage, the atmosphere is a somewhat scaled-down version of the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Pundits make pronouncements, every detail is endlessly dissected.
And while the eyes of the world were trained on Washington, D.C., two days ago, a similar travesty was unfolding at the Georgia state capitol. Assault rifle-brandishing thugs surrounded the building and threatened the Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who had refused to back down when extorted by the soon-to-be-former White House resident to manufacture votes in his favor. Raffensperger had to be escorted out of the building to safety. According to reports, during the day, other packs of sometimes aggressive protesters formed at government buildings in Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio, and elsewhere. The extreme actions of the D.C. rioters didn’t extend to the assemblies at statehouses, but the threat was there, and will continue to be there.
It seems there is plenty of blame to go around. Many questions have arisen as to why security was so lax during the march to and invasion of the People’s House; police bias is in the spotlight. Likewise, there’s no answer forthcoming as to why the invaders were not detained.
As I watched the proceedings in both the House and the Senate on Wednesday night, I was impressed despite myself at some of the remarks. Though I disagree with a number of his views, I found Mitt Romney credible because he’s been unwaveringly anti-Orange for the last five years. Others….not so much. Mike Pence certainly sounded magisterial in his high dais chair, but given his statement as recently as last week that he welcomed challenges to the Electoral College votes, his protestations of being appalled at the mob’s violation of the Capitol pegged the hypocrisy meter. Ditto the equally self-serving declarations of minority leader Kevin McCarthy, Oklahoma senator James Lankford, and now-former Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler. Missouri’s Josh Hawley and Texas’ Ted Cruz, however, didn’t hesitate to show their true colors and should be damned forever by rational, responsible people for doubling down on minimizing Wednesday’s events and continuing to obstruct the Electoral vote certification. At the farthest end of the official Orange spectrum lurks newly seated West Virginia state representative Derrick Evans, who actively took part in the prologue to the storming of the Capitol. He taped himself, and is heard to say, “Bring the tear gas. We don’t care. We’re taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today is a test run. We’re taking this country back.” Evans has since been charged, but the very fact that he was able to reach elected office is frightening.
In literal terms, Wednesday’s violence didn’t accomplish much; the vote certification was completed, anyway, and the Orange One was finally, irrevocably defeated. Damage to the Capitol and grounds is already being repaired. Threatened and frightened legislators remained safe. Loss of life among the invaders is certainly regrettable, but the incursion was their choice, and many traveled across the country, looking for trouble. The Capitol police officer who gave his life in service is the hero to emerge from all the mayhem. His murder is on the hands of all the violators and those who encouraged and enabled them. That is, Mitch, Ted, Josh, Lindsey, and their Senate compadres and House counterparts. They have all bowed to their Dear Leader for the last four years. Most of all, the blame for the immediate debacle lies squarely on the head of the Orange Maniac at the White House, along with his appointees, servitors (Rudy Giuliani heads that list), and lesser toadies. The 74 million voters who have abandoned all critical thinking capacity and have instead embraced irrational conspiracy theories and tall tales bear their share of responsibility, as well. Without them, the genuinely militant crazies would have no support. The rightwing media has played its Orange-devil’s advocate role, as well, with its endless, relentless dissemination of and disinformation, but a discussion of their contribution to the state of disunion is better left for another time.
Lest we forget, though, there are other enablers, though they’d never admit as much. Nancy Pelosi is perhaps the most insidious, having delayed the process of impeachment for several years past its rightful, logical onset. Even then, her hand had to be forced, and she stood firm about limiting the charges. She has, over and over, kowtowed to big DNC donors, thus aiding the Orange Menace’s agenda. As just one example, she could have held up approval of the Defense budget to force a better relief bill two weeks ago, but she never so much as mentioned the possibility. Madame Speaker looked shaken on Wednesday night. Perhaps she has realized that her dealings with the incumbent are not just a political chess match from which she seeks to gain every potential advantage for herself and her owners. Maybe she finally realizes that our country is at stake.
For in symbolic terms, the breaching of the Capitol WAS our storming of the Bastille. Hundreds of protestors, backed by an assembly of upwards of 25,000 massed Orange supporters, broke into arguably the most important U.S. government building, ransacked it, defaced it, assaulted guards, threatened legislators, and proclaimed their Master’s will to the world. These were not wayward, misguided “tourists,” as some have suggested. They were organized, their intent was violent, their methods lawless. They meant to turn the country over to a man who had lost a legal, certified election. They meant to impose his, and their, will upon Congress and the rest of the country. And they are satisfied with their work so far, per a QAnon leader prominently photographed during the invasion. We will disregard the importance of what happened on Wednesday at our peril.