It seems America owes a debt to the ‘patriots’ who gate-crashed Congress on Wednesday after all; the universal condemnation of their actions finally provoked the Donald into belatedly acknowledging his lingering grip on the Presidency has indeed slipped from his tiny hands. 24 hours after the dramatic events at the Capitol Building, Trump grudgingly conceded he was committed to an orderly transition of power in a fortnight’s time, even if his announcement exuded all the sincerity of a chastised child being forced to apologise to the neighbour whose window he broke. To be fair, he had nowhere left to run; short of barricading himself in the Oval Office and turning it into his own panic room-cum-fallout shelter, perhaps one last defiant gesture his disciples could undertake by proxy was his way of bowing out disgracefully. Once the shock-horror MSM and social media reaction to the incident subsided, however, it seems evident that there are many beneficiaries – from Beijing to Moscow, and not forgetting Washington itself.
Trump’s most unhinged supporters served up precisely what the President and his enemies goaded them into and gifted the incoming administration with confirmation that the deplorables are indeed deplorable; four years they’ve been craving just such a moment and they finally got it. This presents them with the ideal excuse to press ahead with greater policing and censoring of opinions that the incursion of a certain virus had already laid the ground for; and a bunch of hicks in fancy dress costume handed it to them on a plate. Just as the actions of extremists on both Leave and Remain sides tarred moderates of either with the same damning brush, any American resistant to Identity Politics can now be bracketed along with every Confederate flag-waving yahoo that stormed the Capitol, every blinkered redneck that highlighted just how strangely inadequate security at one of Washington’s most politically sacred citadels is. A sceptic might even come to believe security was deliberately lax in order to allow such a stunt to happen, thus justifying the inevitable clampdown to come. That four people apparently died in the melee is, I guess, the price you pay for playing the pawns in someone else’s cynical chess game.
The Democrats devoted all their energies before last November’s Election to overturning a result they didn’t like, four whole years spent trying to oust Trump by foul means, desperate to find a way to remove a man from office they never once considered would contribute towards his own downfall in the end without any help from the opposition; four years which the Democrats could have spent weeding out the Woke cancer from their own party and presenting a non-divisive alternative to Trump. Anyone watching the chaos taking place on Wednesday would have been shocked, but it does stick in the throat a little that those who have voiced their outrage over the anarchy and the desecration of a government building weren’t so vocal when Antifa and BLM mobs were burning down Portland or taking over an entire district of Seattle, destroying ordinary people’s homes, livelihoods and neighbourhoods in the undemocratic process – y’know, those ‘mostly peaceful protests’.
Democracy wasn’t viewed as so precious then, nor when the Democrats scrabbled around for proof that Trump’s 2016 victory could be negated. Indeed, when the likes of Caroline Lucas, who did everything within her pitiful powerful to prevent the enactment of one particular democratic process, gets on her moral high horse yet again and condemns America’s ‘attack on democracy’, you know you’re in hypocrite heaven. That the mob intervened as Congress was going through the lumbering motions of verifying the result of the Presidential Election gave their protest additional potency; it appeared they, in their own clumsy way, were attempting in a couple of hours exactly what Remoaners here and Democrats there have exhausted their energies on for four years, and that is the real reason why their actions are worthy of condemnation. Lest we forget, what they disrupted was the last act of a democratic process that their man claimed was corrupted to guarantee his defeat. For all the Democratic Party’s hard work of ensuring this state of affairs would eventually come about, Trump himself has to take a great deal of credit for events; not only did he criticise his Vice President for refusing to countenance the President’s delusions, but his increasingly ridiculous conviction he was cheated out of a second term when the evidence simply isn’t there was destined to provoke civil disorder sooner rather than later. He effectively issued a call to arms, inviting his most diehard devotees to descend on the capital and disrupt confirmation of a result he’ll probably never accept. He no doubt had an inkling of what would happen, but so did anyone with the half-a-brain absent from the Presidential cranium.
Whereas the invasion of the Capitol Building occurred in the blink of an eye when compared to the sustained assault on Portland, the symbolism of the location undoubtedly elevates its significance. However, what struck me when the initial images unfolded was the way in which the gate-crashers appeared almost as amazed at the ease with which they’d managed it as the viewer; posing for selfies and wandering around like giddy, unsupervised kids on a school trip to a stately home, they seemed too gobsmacked to indulge in any overt vandalism; I suspect had Antifa got inside they’d have slashed the paintings, toppled the sculptures and started fires. Then again, whereas one side claims to love America, the other claims to hate it. The USA’s problem with condemning any physical manifestation of ‘revolutionary’ ideas is that it was forged from the flames of just such a move, so the Trump extremists fond of referring to themselves as ‘patriots’ can cite 1776 as a tradition they’re merely following in. Indeed, what could be more traditionally American than insurrection?
With the Democrats now controlling Congress as well as the Presidency, it is the Republicans’ turn to be enveloped in the kind of existential crisis that the Democrats were confronted by whilst Republicans took their eye off the ball during the distracting Trump circus. Having let the Donald in, they now can’t get rid of him; he has hinted more than once he intends to run again in 2024; and how do the Republicans reinvent themselves as a credible political party with him still representing them? On the surface, it may seem the Democrats have no such dilemma, though they’re just as rotten to the corrupt core as the opposition. Joe Biden in the White House is seen by many as a resumption of where we were before November 2016, as though the last four years can be erased from the record books and therefore never happened. However, they did happen, and the Democrats turning back the clock in their own ‘great reset’ feels a bit like the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in the wake of Napoleon’s abdication. They’re just papering over the cracks.
Of course, had the Donald won the Election anywhere other than in his head, it would have been Antifa and BLM storming the Capitol; but what’s the bloody difference, anyway – bar the reaction on media both mainstream and social? ‘Just think of the carnage had they not been white’ was an archetypal Twitter comment at the height of events on Wednesday, underlining the Identitarian thought processes behind giving the moral thumbs-up to one form of protest and the moral thumbs-down to another. The problem is if leniency is shown to one side, the gains they make serve as a gauntlet thrown down to the other; on and on the pissing contest goes and where it stops everyone knows. Mob rule by one begets mob rule by the other, and it’s never a good thing, whether in Portland, Seattle, Washington…or Bristol. A little love wouldn’t go amiss right now.
© The Editor