While the insurrection was happening in Washington D.C. with the trumpettes invading the Capitol building, Donald Trump, his family and assorted sycophants were ensconced in what looks like a marquee watching the proceedings on television1. Six months ago, after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations which began after the death of George Floyd2, Donald Trump signed an executive order. This executive order characterised the BLM protestors as ‘rioters, arsonists and left-wing extremists’ (which was true of only a small number of them; most demonstrations were non-violent), and asserted that they called for the “destruction of the United States system of government.”3
The executive order included:
“It is the policy of the United States to prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property. The desire of the Congress to protect Federal property is clearly reflected in section 1361 of title 18, United States Code, which authorizes a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for the willful [sic] injury of Federal property.”3
Presumably, when the insurrection failed to actually do anything except vandalise the Capitol building, Trump realised he was not going to be carried aloft to take what he sees as his rightful place as president-for-life of the United States. To be blunt, vandalism is the most that could be expected from a such a largely disorganised rabble as invaded the Capitol building. It may also have dawned on Trump that he had to change his tune when some of his legal team presumably whispered in his ear that he could be liable for incitement, given his incessant tweets of ‘I was robbed’. After this lightbulb moment, he released a video in which he said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” during the Capitol riots and that “America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order”. He went further and dumped on his own Capitol-invading supporters in saying: “The demonstrators who infiltrated the capital have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”4 Nowhere did he state that these rioters were trying to overthrow “the United States system of government”. That would have been a bit too close to the bone even for Trump, who in part of his speech maintained that his attempts to overthrow the election result were because his “only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy.”4 Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows this is a lie.
The funny thing about this insurrection was that the rioters were apparently depending on Trump to ‘look after them’ so they videoed themselves, took selfies, and posed for photographs. The news media was also there, interviewing people and filming what was going on; some apparently even got inside the Capitol building with their cameras. Some of those who posted their videos and selfies have either identified themselves or been identified by their neighbours, acquaintances or employers (some even wore their employer’s uniforms or insignias). As a consequence, many of them have lost their jobs5, have been outed as pariahs in their communities, or have had the FBI and police show up at their door to arrest them6. The reality is starting to dawn on them that nobody is going to help them, least of all Trump. Indeed, some of them have been whining online about how they have been thrown under a bus by Trump.
These fools, many of whom either carried flags or wore jackets emblazoned with the symbol of the slave-owning confederacy, may be dealt with more severely by the courts because of the executive order signed by Trump, which was designed to punish people in the BLM protests. If ever justice could be described as exquisite, that would be it.
Excellent point Mr. Blot, and not one the mainstream media seems to have realised yet. I really hope the authorities take full advantage of the powers that the executive order provides to them.
Marina Hyde in the Guardian has done so. In my defence, I only read her piece after I had posted mine. She writes very well and if I can, I always read her stuff.
Watching a couple of the endless re-castings of the “insurrection”, I can’t help but agree that it had little common purpose other than for the mob to trash the Capitol and wantonly, brainlessly run about, while bellowing abuse and dumb slogans. The irony of these rioters who supposedly stand for democracy and properly run elections, is that they don’t see that democratic governance only comes about via sane, civilised debate between parties and members of the legislature. If they understood that over-emotional, hate-fuelled ranting and violence are no way to gain political traction, they would have peacefully protested by a march through Washington. I wager they are mostly semi-literate, often poorer folk who bear grudges, not all of them linked to politics. No doubt there are among them the psychologically disturbed who get attracted to gun-toting militias and political ranters promoting wrong, brainless solutions. The Capitol rioters, in a way, represent a wide part of the U S population who, although many are not inclined to mayhem and brutality, bear serious grudges that propelled them to endorse Trumpism and believe extreme right media output. Unemployment, hopelessness and many forms of social exclusion explain much of their fury. Unless Joe Biden and the Democratic Party fully address unemployment, a perilous middle class income erosion and the dangers to democracy of of a huge underclass, sights as witnessed in the Capitol will be more frequent. Biden said in one television appearance, that he wants economic growth to return. If he means to stimulate the same trickle-up type false “growth” of the last forty years of neo-liberal corporate rule, he is on a path to doom. The Democrats must make an all-out effort to disengage from powerful donors and lobbyists touting Wall Street’s selfish priorities. Democratic representatives must work at the hard business of re-establishing a productive, educated middle and lower class….although that is now a truly monumental task, given the economic mess America is stuck in. Foremost, the government must cease pandering to far-right media like Fox News, and to the plutocrat backers of neoliberalism, because that ideology has failed. Worse still, it has white-anted and riven US society apart. If US senators and bureaucrats allow ongoing corporate bribery,, threats and heavy lobbying by the billionaire- millionaire five percent at the apex of the income pyramid, Biden’s presidency will confront ever-rising alienation and overt fury from deprived or excluded citizens over the coming years.
It is a huge task to manage in 4 years, but if it is not undertaken the US is finished. It will descend into chaos.
Good to see the three people primarily responsible for security all get the boot. Their incompetence deserves greater punishment, especially Capitol Police Chief Sund. There was no excuse for any of these men not to have known what was brewing and planned for it. Ignoring the fact that the unstable, “utterly immoral, serial philandering, narcissistic, pathological liar” (labels given to Trump by Ted Cruz and the spineless, backflipping Lindsey Graham 4 years ago) was certain to whip up hysteria at his rally, these people totally ignored the threats and plans which were publicly circulating on social media – even after being prompted by Pelosi. Sund actually lied to her about readiness of the National Guard. Perhaps he also lied to the respective Sergeants-at-Arms?
The debate around whether Democrats should impeach Trump shows just how compromised many in politics are. Excuses such as “we don’t want Biden’s first days in power to be swamped” etc are little different to the pathetic excuses offered by Republicans who supported and enabled Trump for four years. They ignore the enormity of what was done under the orchestration of and with the total support of America’s Chief Fascist. The ramifications are obvious. Trump and others have to be held to account simply because it’s the just thing to do. Justice for those who died demands it. American democracy demands it. Making Republicans in Congress declare their loyalties demands it.
Australians can breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have a system with presidential powers and that we have a moderately democratic voting system – at least in the Senate – unlike the UK.
I agree. They all need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Meanwhile back at the ranch….McCormack and Fraudenburg are “uncomfortable” with Twitter banning Trump. Typically (for conservatives) they can’t see the forest for the trees and have chosen to shoot the messenger – to mix a couple of appropriate metaphors. My guess is that most Australians would prefer that they were “uncomfortable” with blatant and consistent lying, racial slurs, nepotism, hate speech, incitement to break laws etc. I realise that’s asking a lot of this mob but one can dream.
Spot on. I had to laugh at the cretinous Member for Manila, George Christensen, who was whining about being fact-checked. I rest my case, your worship.