A president incites an act of domestic terror. Here, in America | Editorial

Posted Jan 06, 2021

Donald Trump’s final attempt to cling to power was a failed coup, and the US Capitol, a symbol of democracy throughout the planet, was turned into a cauldron of knuckle-dragging misfits and rioters.

This is not an ironic twist to the American story. It is a tragic realization of what this malevolent man-child had promised all along, in thought, word, and tweet: This was the professional liar who encouraged violence against peaceful protesters, who called opponents traitors, who belittled dissenters, who galvanized white supremacists, and who has spent five long years trying to divide the nation.

Too many of us ignored the warnings, which is our great failure.

And while we turned Trump out of office, we continued to tolerate the sycophants who helped agitate this insurrection, who until yesterday ignored the dangers of attacking representative democracy by throwing out an election result — echoing his message, inciting anger and violence, and emboldening Trump at a time when he should be clearing out his desk after getting routed by 8 million votes in a country that is clearly sick of his version of winning.

His screed in Georgia Monday was a harbinger: He used the rhetoric of a despot, saying that those who opposed the Republican candidates for the Senate “hate our country and they despise Georgia values. I think a lot of you despise them, as you know there’s nothing the radical Democrats will not do to get power that they so desperately crave. Even the outright stealing of elections, like they’re trying to do with us. We’re not going to let it happen.”

Then, after his usual warnings that we’ll all have to live without religion, guns, safe borders, police departments, and bank accounts, he concluded ominously: “We will not bend, we will not break, we will not yield. We will never give in, we will never give up, we will never back down. We will never, ever surrender.”

The Democrats won both runoff elections anyway: Georgia added two people who want to fix the COVID crisis — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — and subtracted two people who used the crisis to boost their own stock portfolios.

Most of us would have heeded the political message from that. Instead, Trump’s admirers laid siege to the American seat of power in the middle of a joint session of Congress as it performed a sacred ritual — the certification of the electoral college — leading to an explosion of violence, gunfire, and tear gas. A woman died by gunshot.

Then, to no one’s surprise, Trump released a tape that fanned grievances and mixed messages: He told his mob to “go home,” but also that “we love you” because they are “special” and referred to “bad and evil” opponents and continued to lie about a “fraudulent” election.

Stand down, but stand by.

We are supposed to be engaged in a peaceful transfer of power, a glide path toward civil government handover that has worked for centuries.

The Capitol coup has changed all that, an astonishing reminder that some people will always have fond memories of the leadership that has exacerbated the worst public health calamity and economic meltdown in a century.

What do they do now, particularly the demagogues who warned that the country would descend into anarchy under President Joe Biden two weeks hence? Most of them will run for cover and run for reelection.

But we need to remember them and mark this as their legacy — Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and the others who will live in infamy — because they helped foment this humiliating chapter of American history. As for the author of this chapter, we no longer want to type his name.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-01-07 03:55:24 -0800