by Roxanne Tellier
“You wouldn’t know a diamond if you held it in your hand.” Truer words never spake, Messrs Becker and Fagen. Ah, the things Americans have thrown away in fits of pique.
The domestic terrorists that sacked the Capitol on January 6th did a gross disservice to themselves, and every other American citizen or visitor to America, that will have impact for the next many decades. If they thought wearing a mask, or being ‘cancelled’ for their QAnon views impinged upon their ‘freedumbs’ before, they’re about to find out the very hard way how much more they lost with that day’s sedition.
Remember way back in 2001, when al Qaeda-trained terrorist Richard Reid hid an explosive device concealed inside the heel and sole of a shoe? I’ll bet you do, because it was after that attack that the TSA started requiring all passengers to remove their shoes for screening before getting on a flight. And twenty years later, we still have to do that.
Americans don’t like terrorism and they really don’t like terrorists. But they also know that they’re dealing with a population that contains large amounts of unstable individuals. Some people just can’t be reasoned with; because of that, the only weapon the US has against terrorism is the imposition of laws that restrict previously enjoyed freedoms. And the loss of freedoms for all, based on the actions of one, will be the upshot of the attempted coup of January 6th.
In the days leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, all the defence and security offices have acted in tandem to offer what they hope will be the protection necessary for the ceremonies to go forward. There are 21,000 National Guardsman stationed in the nation’s capital today, more US troops than are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
At the Inauguration on Wednesday, there’ll be no parades, no mass gathering on the National Mall, no formal balls that evening. America has given in to the terrorists that stormed the Capitol – Biden’s inauguration will be low key and fear based, rather than the joyous event every other president elect has enjoyed.
And the terrorist army that caused this fear were led by Donald Trump, who has been feverishly planning his own leaving ceremonies, determined that Biden and Harris and their families enjoy not a single moment of happiness, if he can have a hand in stopping it. Right to the end, trump is proving to be a craven, selfish, utterly self-centred and sadistic narcissist who can only find joy in causing pain to others.
As the wonderful pastor John Pavlovitz said in his column today,
“We should be celebrating—but we can’t do that.
We can’t, because the violence generated by an outgoing president and his complicit party, (who have for the first time in our history refused a peaceful transition of power) is so pervasive and threatening, that our nation’s Capitol is a literal war zone, that state capitols around the nation are boarded up and closing down, that there is razor wire around surrounding the Inauguration, that members of our government are wearing bullet-proof vests.
We can’t revel in the results of a free and fair election, in the Democratic process working, in our shared efforts in this sacred American experiment—because we’re too busy attending to the PTSD of watching a less-than-two-week-old mass assassination attempt by a political party and wondering what horror is coming next. We’ve endured pre-emptive election sabotage and post-election recounts and lawsuits and a failed bloody coup—and still, we aren’t allowed to rest in those many victories.
We can’t enjoy these moments with our friends and our families and our children, because we’re still trying to process a group of politicians helping their rabid base plan and execute a murderous terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol in an effort to kidnap and kill members of Congress—all because they’re unhappy that their gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright corruption didn’t overcome the votes of the people.
Our arriving joy is tempered by seeing a party still inexplicably doubling down in the wake of unfathomable violence, by perpetuating their defeated president’s big lie—knowing it will surely incite more brutality; that it is directly placing public servants, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens in harm’s way.
We will not get to have the cathartic, public, unfettered happiness that his supporters had after the 2016 election and on the day of the 2017 Inauguration, because they are not able to consent to that; because they are a people so collectively afflicted with enmity that they cannot allow it.
Denying other people’s joy and causing them pain is all they understand and all their president has nurtured in them, and the sole cause they are truly devoted to.“ (from The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy, January 17, 2021)
The rioters went to the Capitol because trump, Josh Hawley, Mo Brooks, Ted Cruz, Trump Jr, and Rudy Giuliani told them to. Trump, aided by GOP allies in Congress and the media, had so often told them the Big Lie, that the November presidential elections had been “rigged,” “stolen” by Joe Biden and the Democrats, that they were in effect, hypnotized. Gaslit. Wound up like little treason robots, and sent off to sack the Capitol.
Where, almost to a man/woman, they announced to the world that their president had sent them, and invited them in.
The upshot of the insurrection will be a devastating loss of freedoms within American societies, stringent new laws on guns, gatherings, social media, and more. And the people will have trump’s cult followers to blame for that clamp-down, although they’ll tell themselves, victims that they think they are, that it’s not their fault, that it’s all the evil Democrats fault, and say, “see? Told you! This is what happens when Democrats win elections!”
I will never understand why this segment of society can so easily fall into authoritarianism and fascism, so easily believe that there are Democratic ‘global elites’ running a massive ring dedicated to the abduction, sexual abuse, torture, trafficking and cannibalization of children, in the aid of Satanic rituals, even after Pizzagate blew up in their faces years ago. And even as they see actual video of real live children crying and sick in cages in camps on the border for years, a sick remembrance of the horrific racist AG, Jeff Sessions, who insisted that it was only by torturing these families through separation that they could maintain border security.
I guess reality is the one concept they just can’t envision.
“The most significant terror attack on our country since 9-11 happened because Republican radicals believe Democrats are Satan worshipping pedophiles who stole their country. And they’d rather die than lose the protection of their leader. Defending truth and democracy and equality for all people against any tyranny, foreign or domestic, is the only thing that unites us and protects our freedoms.
For the former Republican party, who call themselves patriots, this is your wake-up call. Your nightmare of a brainwashed, radical, anti-American movement, trying to destroy the country, was you. ” Matthew Cooke
I’ve thought a lot recently about how lawmakers and those in power talk. There’s a presumption that those with money and power are better at every thing they want to turn their hand to, and that they will always have the purest of motives in their dealings with the public. In truth, that’s almost never the case, and amongst ourselves – those of us without significant power or wealth – we know that Big Business rarely has our best interests in mind. We know it’s all about Big Profits. We talk to each other about the unfairness in our systems, but we lack the wealth and power to be equals.
Most of us have unconscious biases, which comes from what we’ve seen, heard, felt and been told over our lifetimes. We are told that those with money and power are our betters. We tend to assume that those who look like us cannot be sinful, since we know that we are not. And for many, there’s an inherent belief that those who don’t look like us, of a different skin colour, are suspicious simply because they are not ‘our kind.’
But these are tales told to us by those who profit in some way by training us to believe what they say. It’s how they keep themselves our superiors, even when they are in many ways, inferior.
The Republican party doesn’t want trump to be impeached, in the name of unity. But, while in power for the last four years, no thought was ever given to unifying with the Democratic party. In fact, while claiming victimhood every minute of the day, the GOP shoved their incompetent judges and corrupt administrators into every facet of the United States government, without heeding any pleas from the Dems.
And even at the deathbed request of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that her seat not be filled until there was a new president in power, they simply laughed at any suggestions to stop a precipitous, fast-tracked confirmation during a lame duck presidency period, and rammed the flawed Amy Coney Barrett into place and a lifetime appointment, laughing all the way.
There will be some who think that maybe it’s ‘kicking a man when he’s down’ to impeach trump days before he would leave office anyway. Those people need to be reminded of two things.
One, history has shown us, time and again, that any constraints on justice around seditious lawlessness, whether it was Lincoln refusing to punish the traitorous officers of the Civil War; Clive Bundy and his family defying state and federal laws with claims of being a ‘sovereign citizen’ untethered by law and order; the right wing domestic terrorists who’ve been ramping up into seditious militias under trump; or trump himself defying his first impeachment and gleefully committing yet more impeachable crimes — is that these scofflaws DO NOT learn a lesson. They DO NOT stop their reigns of terror unless they are legally prevented from doing so. All they do is learn from their mistakes, re-arm, and come back hundreds of times more powerful, with more supporters behind them to gain their ends.
And two – trump has to be impeached in the House and the Senate, even if the Senate vote is taken after he’s left office, because justice must be seen to be done. To not impeach and remove this ability to run again would be to definitively declare a president ‘above the law.’ If that were to happen, you might as well tear out those pages in the Constitution that give that ability to the lawfully elected representatives. And that would be so unconstitutional as to be a further criminal act.
Trump has to be impeached for inciting insurrection. His and his party’s commitment to the Big Lie that the election was stolen from his supporters, and that only the disenfranchisement of over 80 million citizens who voted for Biden will save them from imminent chaos, must be seen for what it is: seditious falsehoods, meant to overthrow democracy in America, and install a trump autocracy. He must suffer fully the loss of any privileges an ex-president would normally receive, and his name must be blackened as the traitor to his nation that he became.
Impeachment isn’t subject to the constitutional protections of criminal law. Trump can be impeached for ‘inciting’ insurrection. The investigation does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he actually hoped his supporters would hang Pence, attack Pelosi, or harm those they were told were their enemies. It only needs to prove the flagrant abuse of his office, in the pursuit of power over and above the limits of a constitutional republic. The very people that gathered that day are the witnesses to the seditious crime that was committed.
And because of his incitement to insurrection, the nation that once swore that it did not negotiate with terrorists is on its knees, attempting to protect its lawfully elected representatives across all 50 states. National Guardsman are sleeping in the halls of the Capitol in order to prevent another incursion, and to protect the men and women inside. This is what trump wrought, this is how he made America ‘great’ again.
And I think pretty much everyone is ready to say – we ARE sick of this kind of winning.