You’ve got to admire the left. Granted, they own the internet, the media, the courts (apparently) and now the government, so it’s not like they’re working against insurmountable odds. But still, it’s remarkable that they’ve managed to achieve the seemingly impossible: uniting America.
I beg your pardon? Oh yes, they’ve united America — or the America that counts, anyway: the ruling class — and in the cleverest way imaginable. Instead of issuing boring platitudes like ‘we must unite for the sake of our nation’ and ‘this is not a time for stoking divisions’, they’ve found a scapegoat we can all come together in condemning. No, not Donald Trump; a good half of the country still likes him and clearly isn’t about to change its mind. No: the enemy we can all, left and right, join in deploring with equal contempt, that fearsome manifestation of unwashed humanity, the Trump supporter. At best, he’s an enabler; at worst, a domestic terrorist. (Speaking of which, who put those pipe bombs in the two parties’ headquarters? And why is there more excitement about a guy in a fur hat in the Speaker’s chair than about the fact that someone planted two bombs in government buildings?)
But we digress. The inspired thing about condemning the Trump supporter is that it forces the 99.99 percent of Trump supporters who didn’t break the law to distance themselves from their political beliefs — or share in the label of ‘domestic terrorist’ and ‘insurrectionist’. Trump supporters went to Washington on January 6 planning nothing more than to make some noise and express their displeasure with the government’s refusal to take their concerns about election integrity seriously. A few hotheads got out of hand; the police were oddly unprepared, and tragically, people died: three accidentally, due to medical emergencies caused by crowd conditions, two others because of poor decisions made in the heat of the moment. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a well-orchestrated plot to overthrow the United States government. Except maybe the pipe-bomb planter, who remains unidentified.
Yes, there was trespassing on the hallowed ground of government. But it’s ironic that people who have spent the last four years attacking the formerly sacrosanct office of the president of the United States with a virulence and a hatred that passes anything seen before in the history of America, literally calling for his death, disgrace, silencing and imprisonment on multiple platforms all day, every day, as the international community looked on and rejoiced at America’s weakness — these people are now getting uptight about the holy ground of government. I have heard of exactly one (1) lectern and two (2) computers reported missing from the Capitol. You’d get more stuff stolen during a fire drill at your college library.
But all that doesn’t matter. Those who like to consider themselves the ‘adults’ of America are now united in agreeing that this was a planned act of insurrection. Anyone who doesn’t agree to identify events as not the impulsive behavior of a few hotheads but a deliberate fomentation of the entire Trump movement is himself a traitor, a supporter of mob rule. The message is plain: if you don’t agree Donald Trump is responsible for this not-terribly-earthshaking act of violence, then you have no future in the leadership of America.
This is insane on so many levels. But it’s mostly insane because it is entirely without thought for the consequences. A huge percentage of America — we could call them Middle America, but it’s bigger than that — still loves Donald Trump and thinks he and they have been treated unfairly. Does today’s leadership seriously want to alienate a huge percentage of a population that already feels disenfranchised? The question is no longer — and never really has been — whether Donald Trump believes the election was fair. The question is, does America believe it was fair? And is it really a good idea to keep telling Middle America, in particular, to sit down and shut up?
The condescending and divisive language, the over-wrought name-calling, the stifling of alternate points of view — all this has to stop. 99.99 percent of Trump supporters do not support breaking the law. Their concerns need to be heard in a transparent, orderly, public fashion. But if they think they won’t be? What then? And once Donald Trump is gone, the leader they trusted, the one who gave the disenfranchised deplorables a voice and a chance to be heard — then who will deescalate, who will convince angry Middle America to walk out of the Capitol and go home? Not Joe Biden, who is now claiming that police were too gentle to the rioters because of racism — as if racism had anything to do with anything that happened on January 6.
You’ve seen on nature channels how a pack of wolves hunts caribou. In a coordinated effort, they cut off a single target animal from the herd and bring him down. Once they’re done with that one, they move on to the next. The left pretends that once the herd gives up Donald Trump, lets him be cut off and lets them devour him, they’ll be satisfied. They’re holding all of America hostage, promising that things will get better if we just hand over President Trump to their slavering jaws. Give us Trump, they imply, and life can go back to normal; the masses will sink back into their customary disengagement, and the smart people, Republican and Democrat alike, can get back to running the country. Trump is the problem! Under extreme pressure, most conservatives seem willing to agree.
But they’re listening to their emotions, not their brains. First of all, Donald Trump’s election to the presidency was the consequence of a change in American thinking, not its cause. Impeach Trump, take him down, destroy him, and all you’ve done is turn what is currently a mostly orderly, if unhappy, movement of massive proportions, into a disenfranchised and resentful mess. That’s not a problem we want to create.
Secondly, Donald Trump is not the left’s real target. We — anyone who holds conservative principles — are the target. What is there about accusations of ‘systemic’ racism, ‘systemic’ problems in America that the Republicans don’t understand? America’s system is the problem. America’s way of life is the problem. That’s what they’re after. The destruction of Donald Trump won’t satisfy them for long. The wolves will be back. And now they know that given the right pressure, we’ll throw them whoever they want.
Anyone on the right who supports the total de-platforming of the President by unelected oligarchs, anyone who expressed support for the idea of his removal via the 25th Amendment, and anyone planning to support the Democrats’ plan for impeachment this week, needs to think very, very carefully about what happens next. Because if our elected officials impeach President Trump, they will be to all intents and purposes impeaching the legitimate aspirations and the legitimate questions of millions of Americans. This is not a recipe for restoring order and unity; it’s a recipe for disaster.
Don’t blame Donald Trump for the situation we’re in. Blame the institutions that refused to hear America out. Blame the media that joined in a blanket refusal to cover the rising swell of discontent. Blame the Supreme Court who refused to hear what Middle America had to say. Blame every scribbler who indulged in some variety of the condescending and ubiquitous tautology ‘baseless allegations’. Blame social media censors who only fueled — and continue to fuel — conspiracy theories by blocking, deleting, and stifling free speech. And blame every conservative who was too foolish to see what was happening before we got to where we are.
In an interview — now removed from YouTube — with an eyewitness to Ashli Babbitt’s shooting, a journalist addresses one of the rioters outside of the Capitol, a young man from New Jersey who was standing so close to Ashli Babbitt that he got blood on his hand. Why did you enter the building, the journalist asks? I can’t quote the visibly horrified young man’s exact words, because the video has been censored. But he responds, calmly enough, that he and his fellows wanted to demand that Congress make an investigation of the election. We just wanted to be taken seriously, he says. They’re laughing at the people who voted for Trump, he says, they laugh at us on TV, they laughed at us as we marched along the street. He saw a man standing inside a window, laughing and filming as they walked by. They just wanted a fair investigation ‘…and now somebody’s shot’, he says, as if he still can’t quite believe it.
You can condemn rioting and illegal entry into the Capitol without blinding yourself to reality. It’s time to stop laughing at Middle America. It’s time to start listening, and most importantly, to start deescalating.