Mugging democracy, the unhinged party’s core “platform” remains treacherous sedition
The Jan. 6 insurrection, laughably distorted as heroic protest, was not the exception but the rule, the blueprint for a continuing, explosive, party-wide, right-wing takeover. The early tip offs of an atavistic, GOP insurgency (really, dictator for a day?!) are not only Trump’s election but the notable party refusal to pass a new a 2020 Convention platform. I wonder if there will be one this year, aside from glorifying the dictator-for-a-day. As the Wash Post editorial confirmed at the time, “The Republican Party announces that it stands for nothing.” Standing for nothing means that Trumpism can stand for anything, as long as the top dog profits and the media condones mass deception.
On the other hand, that’s an unkind, misleading way of depicting the “nothingness” orchestrating the Cult of Donald (or COD, Corruption on Delivery). Thanks to indiscreet transparency, now we know that a vindictive, self-serving wannabe, white nationalist czar stands for something—the displacement of democracy for fascism. True, consistency (and memory lapses, if not degenerate ganglia) are not Trump’s forte—and criminal desperation to stay out of jail hardly qualifies as nothing, however despicable. Don’t serial convictions—as in business fraud and as defaming rapist—stand for something, verified by multiple convictions. Penalties in the millions of dollars not nothing.
Then, as now, the party “stands for” cultist compliance, even as the spinning top at the top wobbles. Certainly, the demolition of people’s sovereignty is a blatant agenda – and Trump could stand with pride next to the other tyrants (or dynasties) for life. This conflict was inevitable, between fixated, inflexible, self-entitled partisans, who defy whatever legitimate authority gets in their way, vs. tested law, courts, even the Supreme Court and common sense Constitutional readings. So every election the right loses must be demonically “rigged,” justifying violent protests that snivel at certification. Ditto, every indictment that offends the chief violator, every judge that doesn’t roll over (like that lackey in FL), any offensive, majoritarian Congressional legislation, and any judicial decision that doesn’t endorse vested insularity. In this regard, knee-jerk Trumpism fits Emerson’s wisdom that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
A mania of endless time-outs
Though it shocks pundits, a myriad of fully justified trials, definitive convictions and sentences simply boosts Trump’s last stands among the other hobgoblins of other little minds. With Trumpist permission, the right scoffs in the end at the idea of earthly justice, automatically declaring itself the battle-scarred victim of unjust practices. For spoiled losers, here’s the ploy: just stop the game clock so there can’t be a confirmed outcome. If the game never ends, forever “on appeal,” alternative universe types can bury their loser-dom. The Trump anti-justice brigade doesn’t even try to disprove 91 indictments but is tireless at fending off any resolution. Waiting for “rigged” indictments to go to trial is like waiting for Godot.
Lacking the clout to change the rules, the grievous grievance gang incites disorder by negating what elections used to call certification. Thus a few fanatics can destroy equilibrium, then, contradictions aside, claim the moral high ground. Imagine a thrashed Super Bowl team walking off the field midway through the fourth quarter, objecting that the game was never legitimate and thus the score shouldn’t count. Or imagine then assaulting the referees (and furious protesters) because tantrum throwers can’t stand even the perception of losing, let alone losing itself. Not just language and logic are thus corrupted, but a committed minority can huff and puff, then blast rules that, in any fair-minded democracy, must be somewhat open-ended and flexible.
Trump, along with rabid Confederates like Texas Gov. Abbott, sets the stage not so much for a civil war (too many cowards on the right) but for a conspicuous confederacy dedicated to sabotage and forever testing the winners endurance (and failing). Ex-Watergate prosecutor, Jill Wine Banks, sounds the emergency bell, that “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s actions at the southern border and his reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the federal government make me fear for the continued existence of the United States of America. . . Abbott issued a statement threatening to stonewall, much as then-President Richard Nixon did when he was subpoenaed for White House tape recordings.”
The inhumane issue, anti-immigrant razor wire in the Rio Grande, is wholly under federal control, not a states right at all. Along with DeSantis’ outrageous and endless unconstitutional violations (on abortion, gay rights, access to public library books) and the demolition of the state’s (former) 21st C educational institutions, the Abbott way is a F-Y that disrespects both federal statutes and legitimate authority. The Supreme Court, if it dares challenge Trumpist audacity, has no more standing than any other “woke” menace.
We are no longer surprised by the unfeeling and gratuitous surge in violent rhetoric, threats and criminal action by either suckered or demented followers. Whether talking about mauling rally critics, shooting peaceful protesters, gunning down alleged shoplifters, even dropping undocumented migrants from helicopters (the “Pinochet Air” murder tactic invoked by GA Rep. Mike Collins), the ultra right embraces nothing less than cult terrorism. We’re not talking scattered lawlessness but vigilante mayhem.
Self-declared Superman from Queens
Overall, the staggering audacity of Trumpism asserts that its self-entitled status gets to decide legitimacy, whatever the issue. Since this presumptive Nietzschean Superman cannot justifiably lose, all Trump defeats become phony platforms to declare victory, a triumph of willful thinking over reality. Right-wing politics spouts off so much flatulent bluff and lying bluster, seasoned with calculated hysteria, it’s getting impossible to divide media shenanigans from earth-shaking sedition. Thus, the endless right-wing defiance of basic democratic institutions must be taken both literally and seriously. As with school desegregation, the civil rights movement and criminalizing racial and gender discrimination, even blasts of violent noise doesn’t yet presage looming civil war. But it certainly keeps prosecutors, juries and judges working long hours.
An insurrection against a corrupt state expresses revolutionary fervor. But an insurrection against legally elected officials, by any standards after clean elections, exposes the treachery of an outvoted torrent of cry babies who refuse to accept defeat. That resistance mandates majority rule to enforce its sovereignty, punishing renegades, or forgo its declared authority to be the first and last resort. How can America be “First” at anything if it no longer can separate winning from losing, opening the floodgate that anything goes. Bad faith losers thrive if never made social pariahs whose nullification must be nullified. Solipsism, like being talked to death, is a terrible way to die.
Not all belief systems are created equal
Concepts, consensus and belief systems matter. No complex society runs without rules, and no democratic nation operates without agreement on collective values of rights, opportunity, and justice. Any social contract that values safety, support or the good of the whole requires individuals to curb selfish, greedy appetites—and enforced laws must honor basic values. To allay disorder and injustice, law must function to punish disruptive agents. Notably, fascist dictatorships are rife with strict limits and regulations, though hardly “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” nor free speech, assembly, rights to protest and judicial independence.
Bitter conflicts, like merciless union-busting and Jim Crow statutes, stalk American history but not since the Civil War has a totalitarian leader headed a movement that talks up invented Americanism while betraying the letter and spirit that makes America special. We are only a marginally successful “melting pot”—still struggling with the immense diversity of immigrants who chose to come or Africans enslaved and held by force. More’s the pity.