Wednesday, January 06, 2021

The Beard and Overalls Putsch

We should be talking about Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff's historic victories today, ensuring that incoming President Joe Biden has a Democratic House and Senate that can implement his priorities.

But we can't. Because a mob of pro-Trump extremists has stormed our seat of government, an attempted insurrection aimed at the violent overthrow of our democratic system.

This is the final fruit of Trumpian authoritarianism, eagerly abetted by the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party. Even now, Trump can barely murmur a peep against the "protesters", limply calling for peace while insisting that their paranoid fantastical grievances are in fact wholly justified and salutary. In this, he has been backed by huge swaths of his own Party, who own this blot on our national heritage almost as much as he does. Figures such as Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz deserve permanent disgrace. They cheered this on. They helped make today happen.

And of course, the limp response of the Capitol Police to these acts of White Supremacist sedition stands in such striking contrast to the heavy hand taken against Black Lives Matter protesters. We can't even fathom a similar display to this emanating from the left, because if it had come from the left the streets would run with blood. Yet even here the right plays victim, comparing a few instances of vandalism against  a violent anti-democratic putsch and suggesting that it's the left which comes out with explaining to do. If you think they've learned anything, they haven't.

The Beard and Overalls Putsch will not succeed. It will not stop our democracy. This will not be the day that the American dream dies. But make no mistake. There has to be accounting, and there has to be reckoning. The men and women responsible for allowing this to happen cannot be permitted to escape without consequence. Yes we need to heal. But part of healing means finally expunging the toxic, authoritarian, anti-democratic poison that has been allowed to course through the body politic for far too long.

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