I have a deep sense of foreboding around the events that unfolded last week in the US Capitol. Part putsch, part pantomime; it was certainly a show of force by those who have deeply held beliefs that we the sheeple just don’t get.
One thing that shocked me about the attack on the Capitol was how few people were killed. The deaths were totally unnecessary and regrettable – dying or killing for this cause makes a mockery of all sacrifice that other protestors have gone through. But, remember that there were thousands of people carrying firearms at the march and if you listen to their own speech, they are not afraid to use them. So the imminent danger is gone but the forces of grievance, fear and hatred are unextinguished and they’ll smoulder on, underground like a peat bog fire just waiting for the next person to breathe life into them and fan the flames. Trumpism is like Hydra of Learna, cut off one head and another two will take its place – removing the man doesn’t kill off the movement.
It Can’t Happen Here
I read a book called, It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis about how a Hitleresque leader, Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip rises up in the US. and becomes President. It’s a gripping read and not talked about more but it was both very prescient to our times and current to what was going on in the 30s with Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. The problem is that it can happen here and it has – Donald Trump was a master at getting into power, (un?)luckily he was incompetent with the power that came with it. Nigel Farage is odious to maybe 60% of the population and can only disrupt. Putin has Russia in his pocket. We’ve not learnt anything from the past and Trump supporters aren’t renowned for critical thinking or perhaps literacy skills.
A Sad Comparison
I’m in my late 30s and was born at the same sort of age as many who grew up watching Indiana Jones at Christmas and marvelling at the Flight of the Navigator or loving the adventure of the Goonies. My music tastes and fashion sense will probably remain stuck in the 90s until I’m in my 90s – there’s not much do about it. However, many of the people who broke into the Capitol building were the same age as me. How come I’m not whipped up into a frenzy about much and these guys have been radicalized to the point of leading an insurrection? I might indulge in a bit of schadenfreude over at Leopards Ate My Face but I’m not into feeling like I’m a victim in life.
“To understand the man you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty” is what Napoleon said and thinking like that, these guys (and it’s always mostly guys) have had 20 or so years of life post-9/11. That’s one of the events that after which, everything changes. For the younger generation it’ll be Covid, for older it’ll be the 3-day week/Bowie on TOTPs/Cuban Missile Crisis/The Beatles/The War (take your pick which).
Defining moments in your county’s history and with 9/11 it’s lead to the notion that being an American Patriot is good and anything else bad. So much for the End of History, the US slipped from liberal democracy into Autocratic Oligarchy in the blink of an eye – aided and abetted by the downtrodden, white former middle classes who’ve been trickled down on by something (and it’s not money). They love their country but feel betrayed and let down and they need someone to tll them who to blame.
The same people protesting now are those set-up by Borat so well when he hitched a lift with “young scholars”. These guys are probably either in power or armed to their teeth and blaming everyone else for the fact that they still live at home.
The UK has a similar problem. Supporters of both Brexit and Scottish Independence are fuelled a sense of injustice at a foreign enemy and are embarrassed by their own impotence. If only we could have it our own way, then things would be better they think, and all their media input tells them the same thing – from the Daily Wail to The National.
How can you hold two beliefs that are simultaneously contradictory.
- 1) that the USA is the greatest country ever in the history of the world and everything from Bud Light to NASCAR are superlative and
- 2) the world has gone to shit, foreigners are taking over, there’s a deep state conspiracy and damn Liberals are talking the country down.
So long as they have their guns, god and guts they can withstand the onslaught of BLM, Anitfa, liberal metropolitan elites and Mexicans. I don’t get it – but it’s a troubling mindset to be stuck in. So strong yet simultaneously so weak.
Diffusing the Tump Bomb
The fall of Trump won’t stop his supporters, true Patriots that they are and we’ll see more attacks made by the mentally unhinged. That’s what 20 years of Fox News will do to you. And these Patriots are armed to the teeth and like the cult members that they are, in face of Great Disappointment and the undeniable proof of their own folly in following a maniac, some will dig in deeper. So, what about the American Republican Army? They haven’t gone away you know.