Not a Surprise
Really, can anyone say this all is a surprise, after all the garbage that Trump and his enablers have been spewing about a “stolen” election? Because if an election really is being stolen by those intent on destroying freedom, then an insurrection is totally justified.
Of course, there was only a very tiny amount of fraud, nowhere near enough to change the outcome. As is usual. (And yes, fraud is usual. This is Planet Reality, not Cloud Cuckoo Land. Some people will do crooked things.) So the whole thing is nothing but a gigantic exercise in gaslighting: those clamoring “Stop the steal!” are the ones actually advocating for a stolen election.
But still, if you get a bunch of people to believe the election was stolen, things like what happened at the Capitol today are pretty much to be expected.
In fact, independent journalist Robert Evans cataloged all the signs of the coming storm, being openly posted and talked about on the Internet.
The Obvious Discrepancy
I’ve been to lots of demonstrations, and witness lots of confrontations at police barricades. Typically, the cops will try at least five times as hard to defend a barricade that protects some windows at Niketown (just the windows, because Niketown had been closed) than I saw them try to defend the one protecting Congress (not just the Capitol, Congress which was in session at the time) today.
In fact, some cops have even been videoed posing for selfies with the fascists, inside the Capitol building.
But, but, they were understaffed, some say. They couldn’t defend those barricades; circumstances compelled them to make a strategic retreat. But, but, it’s just a few bad apples, some say.
That does not answer my point. Suppose they were understaffed. Why were they understaffed? Why was a right-wing mob threatening people automatically judged to be less of a threat than a left-wing one threatening mere property?
Individual cops to not get to decide whether or not to deploy at a protest. Those higher up in the command structure make those decisions. That they evidently did not points to the rot and bias in policing being structural and systematic. Far from being a defense of policing, any understaffing at the Capitol today serves as a further indictment of it.
Accountability is Critical
Will Trump be held to account for all he did to incite today’s attempted putsch?
Ideally, he should be impeached post-haste, then investigated for sedition and whatever other charges seem to have probable cause. Then, assuming convincing evidence is found, comes prosecution and finally conviction.
Not just for what happened today, but for every law he has broken while president.
Accountability is Unlikely
But this is the USA. I have not once in my adult life ever seen a person at or near the apex of the social hierarchy be held truly accountable for his or her misdeeds.
I do not expect this to change, because I can not reasonably expect it to change.
There is a hierarchy of authority in all class societies, and that hierarchy is particularly severe here. It is why, unique amongst the most affluent nations, the American political system has steadfastly refused to guarantee health care to all as a right. The property of those on top is held to be more important than the lives of those below, and the lack of universal health care is but an expression of this guiding principle.
The richer you are, the whiter you are, and the further to the poltical Right you are, the more your life matters. The poorer you are, the browner you are, and the more to the political Left you are, the less your life matters.
This is why the police posed for selfies with the brownshirts. This is why they did not defend their barricade, if they were not understaffed. If they were understaffed, this is why they were understaffed.
One Foot in the Grave
There is a message in all this. The message was sent when Nixon was pardoned. It was sent again when Oliver North got off scot-free, and nobody higher up was held to account for Iran Contra. It got sent again when nobody got seriously held to account for lying their way into the Iraq War, or for using torture as official state policy.
There is no rule of law for the political Right in the USA. If you are on the Right, and in power, you can do basically whatever you want, and get away with it.
The American Republic has one foot in the grave. Very few realize just how sick it really is.
Soon: A Corpse
Given all that, why not do whatever you want, if it looks politically profitable? Why leave money and power on the table?
If, as is likely, Trump is not impeached, and nobody suffers consequences for what happened today, what is the lesson in all of it? Simple: once again, the rule of law doesn’t matter. The Right gets to do whatever it wants.
At that point, the Republic becomes a corpse. It may take a while (as in: a few years) for the stench and the bloat to get to the point where nobody can ignore it any more, and the oblivious may pretend otherwise until then, but a corpse it will be. Its constitution and its laws might still technically exist, but their irrelevance will have been incontrovertibly demonstrated.
The next coup attempt — and there will be one, sooner rather than later — will, in all likelihood, be successful. The inevitability of it will be obvious to historians, who will wonder how those enmeshed in it all could have been blind to the signs.
Unless, that is, tradition is broken with and the USA starts holding the powerful to account.