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.

Standard
Point of View Columns

Playing with Fire Will Burn Down America

Enemies of America must be absolutely joyful at the way that this country is being torn apart – by Americans. It should be patently clear by now that anyone with malign intent against the United States could not have come up with a better strategic plan than what we see being played out by the protoconservative right wing of the right wing of the Republican party.

In its efforts to stand against the tides of righteous change and justice, change and justice that has made this imperfect country a potentially better country, the neoconservative forces have managed to mangle many progressive initiatives and are trying to obliterate even the gossamer thin efforts to correct the countless wrongs committed in the name of the United States of America.

It appears that at some place along the path to true justice and reconciliation there are millions of Americans who are not interested in either. To millions of Americans rights and justice and equity of anyone who is not white somehow endangers their very existence. To millions of Americans – men and women – the idea of a woman having full and complete control over her body is not only a crime against nature, it is a crime against the foundation of America itself.

Someplace along the line millions of Americans have come to believe that civil rights, gender equity, women’s rights and a truly participatory and fair democracy are evil and must not only be curbed, they must be ground into the dust and tossed into the trash heap of history. These millions of Americans do not believe that American children should be told that the land on which they live was stolen or that the foundation of the wealth that many Americans enjoy was based on race-based slavery.

Somehow gender equity has become a mortal danger to American manhood. Somehow respect and care for the environment in which we will all live – or will all die – is seen as effete and against the American Way even as Environmental Armageddon is literally looming over the horizon.

For these millions of Americans, holding on to the broken and dusty shards of a misbegotten past is better that aspiring for a better and more inclusive tomorrow. And they will literally do anything and everything to hold on to those broken and dusty shards.

They will mangle interpretations of the singularly non-majoritarian Constitution to skew the voting process as well as declare fealty to rights that don’t exist (like the so-called right to bear arms) and to strip away rights that have barely taken root in Black and Latino and Asian communities.

They have gerrymandered themselves into the majority that they are not. They have packed the federal courts from the District level to the Supreme Court with young right-wing judges who will keep a stranglehold on any rights movement for a generation. And they have sanctioned the violent overthrow of the United States government if they don’t get their way.

As the January 6th Committee presents the results of a one-year investigation into the events of 1.6.21 we will learn the depths to which the right wing will lie, cheat, and kill in order to maintain their minority rule.

There was once a country with a race-based regiment of minority rule that ultimately faded away – but not without a fight. Indeed, the minority white regime in the Republic of South Africa laid out the blueprint for how white minority rule can work in the short term.

But it should be clear, America is not South Africa and it may be that the Afrikaner blueprint may just lead to a dystopian whirlpool of grievances from which it will be difficult for this country to survive.

Standard
Point of View Columns

When Too Many Deaths is Enough

While it would seem to be true that nobody ever lost money underestimating the attention span of the American public, it would seem that in this age of media overload and digital vertigo, the news in the morning can be forgotten by the time that dinner is served.

We certainly see that with respect to The Travesty Called Trump where even as his most outrageous – and undoubtedly unlawful – behavior is being chronicled by the January 6th Committee (while the somnolent U.S. Department of Justice continues to hibernate) more and more Americans seem to have forgotten the pure and absolute horror of an insurrection that came thisclose to succeeding.

And it is this combination of willful ignorance, intentional amnesia and digitally dulled sensitivity that helps to explain the behavior of the American public as we go into the third year of the COVID pandemic. We see masks being discarding, vaccinations being less compulsory and a general feeling that America is “tired of COVID”.

But of course, COVID is not “tired of America” just yet. The latest data show that during the first two years of COVID over 998,727 Americans have died from this disease. During this past week there has been a daily average of over 300 Americans dying. And yet these gruesome statistics have brought about a sense of caution fatigue and a willful embrace of inescapable inevitability when it comes to COVID.

Consider that over the past two years approximately 92,000 Americans died in automobile accidents. A sad statistic to be sure. But if one million Americans had died in car accidents it would be considered a national emergency – an outrage and rightfully so – because measures can be taken to save lives – seat belts, airbags, speed limits, etc.

Yet somehow, someway, the American public is okay with one million COVID deaths, with the promise of more deaths to come in the case of best results. Consider the level of denial that must be spreading across this land for over 300 COVID deaths a day to be acceptable. Again, using the automobile analogy – currently an average of 102 Americans die in automobile accidents every day. If that number somehow tripled to 300 Americans a day, there would a national emergency given all of the safety measures that are already in place and observed by Americans voluntarily – seatbelts, for example – and involuntarily – airbags for example.

There are safety measures that Americans can take regarding COVID voluntarily – vaccinations, masks, for example – and involuntarily – lockdowns, for example. Yet the resistance to low impact, low effort safety measures like vaccinations and masks are still resisted by so many Americans, and prematurely discarded that the risk of another wave seems almost inevitable.

Nevertheless, it comes down to the fact that Americans have become so numb to death during this pandemic that COVID no longer inspires sufficient fear or caution.

We can hope that COVID is fading away, but it is sad that we can do so much more than hope – but as a collective nation we do not.

Standard