America is binging on righteous indignation. Many of us have been hoping for a national catharsis for some time; in the past ten days the process has accelerated from zero to sixty. And, it’s a bi-partisan effort — sort of… Democrats are all in with plenty of targets for the unconscionable shame they heap on anyone involved in the one-six-one event in Washington. Especially, and deservedly, it’s a dump on Trump fest of the most serious and “patriotic” kind, a chance for the former party of the downtrodden to trod a little while they wave the flag high.
Republicans in Congress are less united but are starting to sense a sinking ship and thus reserving spots on the lifeboat… for the moment. The opportunity to lift the weight of Trump’s base-driven primary power from their future campaigns is an all but irresistible temptation. The flight from Trump is now approaching a stampede and all it took for the change was a little protest march that no one saw coming or knew how or when (or if they wanted) to stop.
Riot, insurrection, anarchy, chaos, attack on democracy, desecration of our sacred shrines, these are the words and phrases mainstream monopoly media chose to describe the events of one-six-one. As corporations, bankers, celebrities and even golfers break with everything and anything Trump the blame game begins to ramp up into full castigation mode. Blame bolstered by righteous indignation is a curious fate for the man who was more successful with the use of blame than anyone possibly in recorded history.
It’s a convenient time for the outrage to converge for both Democrats and Republicans. Both groups want to move forward in partnership with the monied interests who support them, but without the embarrassment of Trump. But there is a problem. This loose coalition of privileged influencers just experienced a collective, definitive heart murmur. They got a glimpse of the raw power of the people they have been ignoring for decades and it scared the crap out of them.
The people who marched on the Capitol and braved a freezing winter day away from their homes, family and totally out of their comfort zone thought they were doing the right thing. No one who didn’t support Trump wants to think outside their confirmation bias to believe so many people could be so blind and gullible, but their behavior speaks for itself. And it speaks to a larger truth. If you hate Trump. ask yourself how desperate people must be to gravitate toward an incompetent self-serving, hypocritical liar at all? The answer is simple: He was the only anti-establishment choice available to almost half the country in its struggle to send a message of mistrust and alienation to Washington. This brief moment of instability when replicated in the future will make the public yearn for another lying bully. What if the next one is competent?
If we, the comfortable Democrats and Independents who opposed Trump found it relatively easy to accept the legitimate outcome of the election as determined by government officials, for just one moment imagine how difficult it was for people who had no trust whatsoever in those government officials to accept that the one person they imagined to be on their side had lost. Yes, we must condemn and punish the cowardly leaders who tried to advance mistrust of the system in spite of the total lack of evidence for their claims. Yes, we must protect the country from the threats of the radical fringe who would cause chaos and violence but let’s not confuse them with the vast majority of people who showed up on one-six-one.
The people who marched were not the spearhead of an attempted coup, they were the voice of the part of America that has been left behind intentionally by those who would profit and maintain power at all costs. Now this establishment of wealth is trying to have us believe it is prudent to disempower them even more. The trouble is the establishment seems determined to play this crisis of government as if the rabble are irrational, and therefore irrelevant. They are not. Their anger and distrust if ignored will simmer, fester and grow until it boils over.
No one can predict when this will happen, but it will probably happen without much warning, just like the recent one, but it will be more violent, more desperate and more consequential. Stability will suffer until order is restored at the expense of freedom and the Constitution. It has been easy for those of us who have not been affected by government corruption (legal and illegal) to ignore, or worse dismiss, those who have. The lesson of the “most grievous attack on the nation’s Capitol since 1814” is that we risk our own health, wealth and prosperity if we fail to see it as a clear signal to move in a new and more equitable direction.
Structural Political Reform has the potential to return some of the power lost by all Americans to its rightful place. It is the only way to guarantee the balance and stability that will help regain the trust that has been squandered by the powerful anti-democratic forces who run the government, the media and the economy. Closed primaries and gerrymandering gave us Andy Harris. We can do better.
Peter Taillie writes from Greensboro. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.