Trump finally got his ‘American carnage’
In his inaugural address in January 2017, Donald Trump promised to end “American carnage.” As his (thankfully single) term in office is about to end, he finally figured out a way to get his deranged followers to deliver that carnage.
As the world watched in horror, thousands of Trump supporters from such white supremacy and ultra-right-wing groups as the Proud Boys stormed the Capitol, the home of Congress, one of the three U.S. branches of government. The yahoos, many armed (illegally, as it’s unlawful to carry guns on such federal property in Washington) broke through four security fences, breached police barricades, scaled walls, and smashed windows to enter the Capitol. They roamed through all parts of the Capitol, some carrying treasonous Confederate flags and Trump paraphernalia — by this point, both of those racist “flags” represent the same thing. The Confederate flag had never been flown in the U.S. Capitol until this riot.
The mob rifled through congressional offices, leaving papers and files strewn on floors. They carried out furniture. One jerk put his feet on on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk and stole a piece of mail. As they took over the Senate chamber, another lowlife sat in the dais, where Senate leaders sit while presiding, and shouted that “Donald Trump won.” There was extensive damage throughout the building. All of this occurred as members of Congress lay on the floor in visitors’ galleries or were hurried out to shelter in secure locations.
“The pandemonium would seem to be a natural culmination of what Trump and compliant Republicans have wrought on the nation they swore an oath to protect,” said a story in The Washington Post. “Since his first presidential campaign, Trump has instigated his supporters to express their political views through physical demonstration and violence, and he has declined time and again to repudiate the actions of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other extremists.”
Not since the War of 1812 had Capitol security been breached like this.
At least two pipe bombs were found near the headquarters of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, as well as a truck full of weapons and ammunition. As predicted, mobs of these same traitorous groups attempted to breach statehouses across the country, including in Kansas, Ohio, Washington, and elsewhere.
Five people died, including one Capitol Police officer who died of injuries after MAGA domestic terrorists beat him on the head with a fire extinguisher. But some 60 other police officers were injured, some seriously and some who are still hospitalized. Yet many of those same squads of officers allowed the insurrectionists into the Capitol in the first place, some even holding doors open as the traitors left, not under arrest, and posing for selfies with the rioters. Speaker Pelosi has called for the Capitol Police chief to be fired. The House Sergeant at Arms already has submitted his resignation. Those officers who cooperated with the mob really should be tried as co-conspirators. UPDATES: The Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police chief are both out.
The carnage could have been much worse, of course. Imagine if those scaling the walls of the Capitol were Black or Muslim. There would have been a bloodbath. National guard troops arrived only after they were called in by Vice President Mike Pence (Trump refused to activate them). Capitol Police were much more efficient when removing protestors in wheelchairs who were calling for health care reform at representatives’ offices, or tear-gassing peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors to clear the streets so Trump could do a photo op in front of a church, initially holding a Bible upside down. This was an example of white privilege at its worst.
Before the attack, at an event egregiously called a “Save America” rally, the Trump thugs were egged on by Trump himself; his sons, Donnie Jr. and Eric (I can never remember which one is supposed to be Uday and which one is Qusay); and his “lawyers” (and we’re using that term loosely), including the disgraced Rudy Giuliani, who advised the gathered group of thugs that “trial by combat” would be needed to settle the election if the yahoos’ actions to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win wasn’t successful. And these same hypocrites later decried the violence.
Many pundits and members of Congress bemoaned that “America is so much better than this” and “this is not who we are.” Actually, under Trump, this is what too many in America have become. The obscenity that will still occupy the Oval Office for nearly two more weeks received 74 million votes in the 2020 election. Sure, Biden received more than 81 million, or 7 million more. But if 74 million people chose to ignore the incompetence Trump displayed and the hatred he spread over the last four years, then the actions of the Capitol rioters showed that, yes, that’s exactly what America is. As described in a story from TRT World:
Americans are perhaps waking up to the prospect that their country, like any other, rests on a fragile social contract that can’t be taken for granted.
And as Americans talk about “coups” and “insurrections” against their democratic order, they might spare a thought about so many other democratic orders that have been overthrown with US backing.
As one observer put it following the events in the US: “You are not more free, civilised or above other nations. Recognise your humanity, ability to err. That’s the first step to setting things right, rising up and doing better.”
How bad is it when the U.S. has to receive condolences on the Capitol riots from Turkey, a country not exactly known for adherence to democracy, with advice to “invite all parties in US to use moderation, common sense to overcome this domestic political crisis”?
America is no longer the gold standard of democracy. Under Donald Trump, it has grown far, far worse, as far-right white supremacists hold white grievance as their reason for being and consider the Second Amendment carte blanche to carry guns wherever and whenever they want. The Capitol Hill riot was ugly, and America will remain ugly as long as Donald Trump and his ilk have influence.
We can only hope and pray that a competent Biden administration steers the country back on a normal track. But it’s not going to be easy.