Seditionist. Insurrectionist. Inciter in Chief.
These are all words that don’t truly capture the gravitas of what happened last week on the Capitol. The President of the United States incited, encouraged, and aided his followers to violently invade the seat of Government.
As more detail is revealed about the attack, we know that the President did not immediately deploy the National Guard to protect legislators or staff at the Capitol. So far, 5 people have died as a result of the attack. AOC recently talked about the traumatic experience and the fear she wouldn’t survive the encounter. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said panic buttons installed in her office had been removed prior to the attack and explosive devices were found in buildings near the Capitol.
Let’s call this what it was – a domestic terrorist attack.
Sure, Donald Trump was not present at the scene of the attack but in any other context, we would consider someone who incites a group of people to co-ordinate an attack of this nature to be a terrorist.
Since losing the election, Trump’s tweets have been incendiary. In a significant opportunity to unequivocally condemn the attack, he said to the rioters,
“We love you. You’re very special.”
When asked to denounce White Nationalist groups in a pre-election debate the President said, “Stand back and stand by.”
In 2017 following the Charlottesville protest, the President defended White Nationalists when he said, “There are some very fine people on both sides.”
Over the past four years, Donald Trump has cultivated a breeding ground for domestic terrorists. He has emboldened his followers to believe in a world without accountability, precisely because he has been held accountable for so little during his presidency.
But the responsibility for the cataclysmic shift we saw on Wednesday doesn’t just rest on Donald Trump, it also rests on the shoulder of the Republican Party. For decades, America has successfully stoked fear of the other. Demonising minority communities (the Black Lives Matter movement, immigrants, Muslims) as the enemy of America and as people who hate American freedom and the American way of life. What are we to say about lawmakers who in the face of glaring evidence still voted to overturn President Elect Biden’s victory? In a bid to grab power and position themselves to Trump followers, these Senators voted to overturn the election results. I want to ingrain the point that these are lawmakers – supposed defenders of democracy and freedom – and they voted to overturn a free election after the invasion.
I am not optimistic that history will not be kind to Donald Trump and his enablers. We’ve already seen how easy whiteness sanitises. It leaves doors open for redemption without accountability even in the face of horrific crimes. Kelley Anne Conway will soon write a book. Kayleigh McEnany may even appear on Dancing With The Stars. Stephen Miller may be rewarded with a slot on Fox News to spew more propaganda. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham will position themselves as Patriots. In a couple of years, we will hear stories of their courage and lesson learned. People will call for unification and not accountability.
America isn’t sleep walking into fascism. It has already walked eyes open, all guns blazing into fascism. 70 million people voted for Trump. And at the risk of painting them all with a wide brush, 70 million people voted for a leader with a record of misogyny, racism and violent immigration policies to name a few. (Imprisoning children can never be justified as a sensible immigration policy to me).
Twitter and other social media platforms may have banned Trump but that doesn’t erase the opinion and thinking of his followers. In a segment on the View, Joy Behar in response to Meghan McCain’s comment about Trump followers, mentioned a sentence that has stuck with me.
“It’s not about education, it’s about ideology.”
Lawmakers are implicated in this attack, police officers, a former navy SEAL and an AirForce veteran. The people that participated in this terrorist attack cut across all spectrums of society. The Republican Party has created a monster that has now mutated beyond its control. And they will have to take responsibility for quenching this fire.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Is impeachment useful in Trump’s final days?
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