The Daily Escape:
Yesterday, while driving home after the gym, Wrongo thought that it would be a good day for some champagne, given the Democrats’ double play in Georgia that had flipped control of the Senate.
By mid-afternoon, that idea was dead.
What we saw in the Capitol on Wednesday ranks near the top of a very short list of unimaginable and historic insults to the American system. Wrongo was in college when JFK was killed. He was in the US military when RFK and MLK were killed, but none of those events make his top three insults to our way of life, and our democracy.
Wrongo’s top three have all occurred since 2000. They are: the 9/11 attack, Katrina, and Wednesday’s attempted coup. All demonstrated how weak our government is when truly threatened. We were threatened from outside on 9/11 by al-Qaeda, threatened by Mother Nature in Katrina, and finally, we are currently threatened by fellow citizens seeking to install Trump as president, despite his losing the election.
It’s hard to overstate what happened yesterday. The Capitol was attacked. Guns were drawn. People died. Congressmen and senators had to hide. And the president’s allies in the mob and in Congress tried to overturn the election. Let’s give some perspective to the attack on the Capitol.
- Trump has organized an armed militia within the Republican Party. Our politicians and press watched him do it. In some cases, members of both groups facilitated the organizing!
- What happened yesterday was a national effort. Fox News reports that at the same time the takeover of the US Capitol was happening, like-minded protesters descended on state houses, prompting multiple evacuations. Fox reports that protesters entered state houses in 11 states.
- The Capitol invaders came disturbingly close to achieving their objective. Sen Jeff Merkley tweeted a photo of the boxes containing the Electoral College ballots that were rescued from the Senate floor just before the rioters broke in. The boxes were removed by Senate floor staff. Otherwise they could have been taken by the rioters and destroyed. Had that happened, Biden’s Inauguration would certainly have been delayed.
- The Capitol Police were utterly unprepared. Why? The likely attack was well known in advance. For weeks, Trump supporters openly discussed the idea of violent protest on the day Congress would meet to certify the result. Leaders of the Stop the Steal movement called their Wednesday demonstration the Wild Protest, a name taken from a tweet by Trump that encouraged his supporters to take their grievances to the streets of Washington. It “Will be wild,” he tweeted.
- Quite a few of the Capitol Police didn’t put up a real fight. Some took selfies with the rioters. Similarly, neither the DC cops, nor the Capitol Police, treated these White terrorists as terrorists. We need to recognize that in America today, police forces are filled with extremists who sympathize with people like the White terrorists who stormed the Capitol. There needs to be a cleansing of extremists from the police, or they will become a force multiplier for the Trump militia.
- How America handles White conservative protestors versus how America handles protestors of color is clear. The summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in DC had a very impressive show of National Guard support. For Wednesday’s White Right protests, the Guard wasn’t called in until after the Capitol had been breached. Many noted that DC cannot protect itself. It needed approval from the Commander-in-Chief, who in this case, was one of the enemy. This provides a compelling reason for DC to be granted statehood.
- Last night finally made it clear that unchecked authority is incompatible with the Constitution. Some Republican politicians (but too few) finally understood that their posturing has consequences. Some Trump appointees responded appropriately to the coup attempt, citing their oath to the Constitution. But others dawdled until Mike Pence took action. It will take some time until we understand why some decided to continue to protect the president rather than the Constitution.
What happened yesterday was unprecedented in the nation’s history, and we’re not out of the woods. It is 13 days until Trump most likely plunges the nation’s capital into havoc again by refusing to leave the White House. His destruction of our norms shouldn’t go unanswered, and the Constitution offers remedies. Now the Cabinet and the Congress must pursue them. There must be a cost for his coup attempt. Trump must pay.
Today, Trump stated that he will leave office, but he also promised to sustain his insurgency. On top of everything else Biden has to deal with, he now has to coup-proof the US government
Wrongo attended a few riots in the 1960s. Biden needs to figure out if this coup attempt represents the true feelings of a large segment of the population, or not. The danger is that tens of millions of armed Americans who won’t simply stand down are behind yesterday’s coup attempt.
But some riots can be simply sound and fury. They can peter out, either because they don’t represent a large enough segment, or it’s clear that they can’t change the thing they’re angry about.
We’re stuck with hoping that this battle will return to being waged on Twitter and Facebook, and not in the streets. It’s somewhat encouraging that the protestors were taking selfies and souvenirs, not setting up barricades.
It’s hopeful that every Republican of consequence has turned on Trump. Maybe, he’s finally disgraced.
Those Republicans who supported Trump now understand that they must uphold the Constitution, not Trump. Those that continue to support him will end their political careers.
Let’s hope it’s over.
Here’s a song for Trump to go out on: Let’s listen to “Commander-in-Chief” by Demi Lovato. It’s a powerful anti-Trump message:
Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do, I couldn’t sleep
Seriously, do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying
While you line your pockets deep