Point of View Columns

The Trump Insurrection – A Clear and Present Danger

The January 6th Committee hearings have not produced a lot of “new” news. But it has been revealed that Trump and his minions were trying to implement a conspiracy that was a lot worse than anyone could have imagined.

To be clear, taking cues from the playbook written by the likes of Trujillo, Idi Amin, Francois Duvalier, Saddam Hussein and so many others, Trump attempted to overturn over two centuries of peaceful transfers of power in America so that he could remain as president even though he did not win the popular vote or the Electoral College results.  

To be clear, there were scores of government officials, beginning with Trump and pinballing through federal, state and local officeholders all of whom, so it seems, knew from the start that the whole effort was based on the Big Lie and Trump’s naked grab for power even though he lost.

And while Trump did not succeed, one gets the impression that the entire episode involved the Keystone Cops version of political co-conspirators. Still, the Trump and his Keystone Cops might get some better collaborators before November 2024 comes around this time with the support of co-conspirators seeded throughout local, state and federal governments as well as all of 200+ Trump appointed judges who are seeded throughout the federal judiciary for the rest of their lives.

As the January 6th Committee hearings there are a few more things to keep in mind as you watch with a combination of horror, terror, disbelief and fear:

  • It is doubtful that anyone who believes that the election was stolen from Trump is even watching, much less willing to consider the possibility that the Big Hoax is actually the Big Lie.
  • We can be hopeful that there are enough members of Congress who are willing to understand that the demolition of the American democracy – as flawed as it might be – is simply not a good idea.
  • We should be very concerned regarding the election results in 2024 – the seeds have been sown and America may end up reaping the whirlwind.

In closing we should wonder at why there is not a greater sense of danger pervading the political discourse in this country. Too many Americans seem to believe that the political traditions and governmental institutions are too strong to be overthrown no matter how much they may be abused. But belief does not make it true and history does not lie.

Consider that at one point in Germany there was something called the National Socialist Party which, while espousing a certain amount of racist vitriol, also spoke to the real and imagined grievances of many German people.

This National Socialist Party also had a loosely organized paramilitary arm called Storm Troopers who participated in occasional violence and made a big show of marching around and scaring people – even to the extent of trying to overthrow an election in Munich which led to the arrest and conviction of their leader, one Adolph Hitler.

But there was a great deal of public sympathy for Hitler and he escaped a death sentence, served a short time in prison and within a few years he was Chancellor of Germany and the National Socialist Party became known as the Nazis and the Storm Troopers begat the Gestapo.

We should be concerned as to whether the Republican Party and the Proud Boys/Oath Keepers and Donald Trump become the 21st century version of what was inflicted on Germany and the world less than one hundred years ago.

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Point of View Columns

Midnight in America

The sun may be shining but let’s be clear. It is midnight in America.

The concatenation of malign intent, purposeful stupidity and the toxic mixture of hate and nihilism have combined to make this country the victim of events and forces that should not be the danger that they clearly have become.

Let us count the ways –

First – the continued denial of the validity of the 2020 election has had a possibly irreversible effect on the democracy of this country. It is one thing not to agree with anything/everything about a president (remember “Not My President” posters referring to Trump?). It is quite another thing to consider the president to be illegally elected.

Because if that is the basic premise, there are no limits to the damage and violence that can be perpetrated in an effort to correct this imagined wrong.

Second – Since the Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013, this column has had numerous comments on the malicious and delirious attacks on Black voting rights empowered by this decision. The erosion of Black voting rights has been obscured by the voter turnout in 2020, but there should be no illusion that this erosion has been going on for almost a decade.

Now, thoroughly emboldened by Trump’s Big Lie, states are gerrymandering, restricting, eliminating and disabling various strategies that have been used to get Black people to be able to exercise the franchise.

This is only getting worse, and the 2022 election will bring to light the most egregious aspects of the New Jim Crow.

Third – The Trump Supreme Court (3 of the 6 right wing faction of the Court are Trump appointees) are providing a lasting legacy of The Man Who Should Never Have Been President. Voting rights, abortion rights, environmental protections – even mask mandates in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century – have all been on the chopping block. And these justices are just getting warmed up.

Unlike electoral results, we will be living with the impact of this right wing of the right wing Supreme Court for decades to come.

Fourth – Like the frog in warm water who doesn’t realize that it is being cooked slowly, Democrats and particularly the progressive wing, are acting as if they conduct politics as usual rather that fully comprehending that this is an existential moment in American history.

If the Trump-infused Republicans take control of the House and the Senate in 2022 and the presidency in 2024, the conversion of this nation into its race-based and anti-egalitarian past will happen with lightning speed.

Why the Democrats don’t fully understand this existential threat brings to mind the farmer who smells some smoke in the barn but does not think that it is important enough to call neighbors and starting priming the pump.

Historians in the future – if they are allowed to write and publish such things – will look back on the steadfast refusal of Democrats and Progressives to see the coming tsunami of proto-fascist and racist policies when the signs were perfectly clear and wonder why.

In closing, it is always important to be positive and stay positive and believe in better days. But it is also important to keep eyes and ears open and when the other side is telling you what they are going to do to disenfranchise and disempower you – believe them.

It may not be midnight in America but the dawn seems further and further away with every passing hour.

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