It has been almost a week since the President of the United States called a mob to armed uprising against the US government’s legislature. And this week it became clear how fascist that crowd of Yahoo was and how Hitler was the ringmasters – Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and others – who lit the fuse for democracy and then sat back to watch their devil’s work play out out.
This week, the extremism of Trump’s supporters of the last redoubt has been fully flaunted and looped over as the media eventually grapples with the far-right culture that Trump emerged from and further empowered. Think about the person who was caught with his camera “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. Or the Excrement smearing nihilists who only seemed to want destruction and desecration. Think about the possible hostage takers, with their plastic straps, some of which thankfully are now investigated by counter-terrorism prosecutors.
The rats leave this sinking ship late. Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao and Mick Mulvaney resigned after the Trump-sparked uprising. Mike Pence and Steven Mnuchin haven’t resigned yet, but are reportedly considering keeping the 25th Amendment threat on Trump in order to contain their mad king in his devastating final days. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey have all expressed an interest in either indicting Trump or urging him to resign. Along with many of their colleagues, they no longer pretend to be in the slightest of deference and no longer feel the need to kiss the ring.
Companies are fleeing from Trumpland and the PGA announced that there would be no more prestigious golf tournament in a Trump resort in 2022. Other companies defuse Republican politicians who oppose the results of the electoral college.
Almost every major social media site has banned both Trump himself and his money-making systems. Twitter’s former Grifter king is now in a subdued demagogue. Trump has – as we British call it – been talking out of his ass all his adult life. Now at last the sphincter of this honorable organ has snapped it shut and left it trapped in its own filth with no way out.
I have two thoughts on how to react.
On the one hand, to be honest, there is something exciting about this overthrow of Shakespeare, this unprecedented decline in a truly bad man’s fortune. Words like “Schadenfreude” come to mind or “Comeuppance”.
Seeing Trump stripped of his dignity, of his communication platforms, of his ability to intimidate, harass and hurt; to see him face a rising tide of revulsion; When he sees that this monstrosity is close to a second impeachment – and this time with a greater likelihood of Senate conviction – he is faced with a potentially long list of federal and state criminal charges once he leaves, as well as a likely one Civil damage lawsuits parade that could rob him of his much-touted wealth; to know that this morally malformed sociopath has most likely self-destructed … well, it is infinitely gratifying to watch this demolition.
Trump’s fall from the top feels genuinely liberating – his breakup is as spectacular in its own way as Mussolini’s unworthy end, hung upside down by partisans more than three quarters of a century ago. “A fitting ending to a miserable life” The New York Times said about Mussolini’s death. Trump’s final as president wasn’t quite as visually dramatic – and certainly his most fanatical armed supporters still swear blind loyalty to him and long for a resurrection similar to Hitler’s in the beer hall in the years after the failed coup – but at least for now, Trump’s slip in shame and humiliation is just as significant in its own way.
Another part of me is appalled at the hypocrisy of so many of those who are now rushing to denounce this fallen, pathetic figure. Because in their actions they try to regain a share of a moral community that they have thoroughly renounced over the past four years.
Where was the courage of DeVos or Chao when immigrant children were put in cages at Trump’s insistence? Where were all the Republican senators – Mitt Romney was an honorable exception – who refused to convict Trump the last time he was indicted? Where was the outrage of all corporate groups that wanted to distance themselves from him when he held Nuremberg-style rallies at which journalists were denounced as “enemies of the people” and political opponents were threatened with physical violence?
Where were these role models of virtue when Trump coddled neo-Nazis after the infamous Charlottesville events? Where were these belated heroes of democracy when Trump attacked armed militias in Michigan and elsewhere, encouraged them to occupy state houses, came dangerously close to joining them as they planned to kidnap Michigan’s governor, and embraced vigilante groups like Kyle Rittenhouse? Where were these defenders of constitutional, democratic government when Trump tried to condemn the military against racial justice protesters? Where were these newly minted chaperones when Trump used his presidential powers to pardon war criminals?
Where were the social media CEOs when Trump and his fanatical supporters continued to go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric, trolling and Twitter bullying, and any politician, activist or commentator they disapproved of?
The failed January 6 uprising and the huge impact made it impossible for anyone but Trump’s most iconic political supporters to ignore the clear and present threat posed by Donald J. Trump. His people became a lynch mob that day. And given the Preparations for the boogaloos and other groups For armed marches on DC and on state capitals on the 17th, this lynch mob must now be deprived as the number one political priority of its arch supporter Trump himself. The legislators seem to have recognized this belatedly. That’s why, by the time you read this, he may already have been charged.
But none of this should come as a surprise. Trump has been incubating a lynching mob for almost 2,000 days. Every action on that terrible day of January 6th has been extensively telegraphed for the past five and a half years. Since Trump announced his candidacy in mid-2015, he’s been a time bomb, a wrecking ball, a robbery drone heading for a fateful collision with America’s democratic systems of government.
Trump has repeatedly said that he would never accept an election result that he didn’t win, and he sure did not. On national television, he urged the Proud Boys to stand by, and they did. He said he could shoot someone in broad daylight and his die-hard supporters would stay with him – and on Jan. 6, he activated the police in broad daylight while not literally beating a Capitol cop to death with a fire extinguisher himself, Stormtroopers, who then committed this murder themselves.
Those who, until last week, chose to ignore this escalating danger in order to serve their short-term political interests no doubt share the moral guilt with Trump for what went on in the Capitol. Unfortunately, most of them will not face direct political criticism – although some, like Senator Josh Hawley, may; Many others are likely to be sacked by disappointed voters the next time they run for re-election. But regardless of whether others punish them politically for their actions, I really hope that these men and women, just like Macbeth, have been tormented by hallucinatory images of the blood-soaked dagger that King Duncan was dispatched with, daily and for the rest of their lives plagued by guilt for the Faustian, democracy-destroying deal they made with this most hideous man.