The chattering classes in the United States are still shell shocked by the attack on the Capitol, an assault apparently procured, prepared and directed by their very own head of state bent on overturning the results of an election he lost badly last November.
That Donald Trump has always accused all and sundry of plotting to cheat him out of a huge electoral victory that he saw before the first ballot was cast, is common knowledge. That everyone within the ‘deep state’ is conducting a huge witch-hunt against him is yesteryear’s news. That this man is an unredeemable cry-baby has been put beyond dispute. That he is a pathological liar unable to tell the truth to save his own life, has been proven.
But that he would actually countenance and abet the defilement of the altar at which the many liturgies sanctifying American democracy have been solemnly repeated for more than two centuries, is beyond many people’s ken. ‘Lost for words’ is an oft used expression, but this one time it may have found its proper place.
Yes, Trump called on his supporters to attack the houses of Congress, to ‘show strength, to ‘fight like hell’ while his entourage was calling for ‘trial by combat’, baying, ‘We are coming for you!’ They stormed the Capitol looking to hang vice-president Mike Pence and speaker Nancy Pelosi
But, notwithstanding the sense of outrage felt by many ‘right-thinking’ members of the American public, most Trump supporters remain loyal to him, and will kill anyone believed to ‘betray’ their man.
The veneer of American civility has been stripped to its bare bones and the Americans are stranded with the skeletal remains of a governance system groping in the dark for solutions to an existential reckoning. As I write, three times more American troops are reported on Capitol than are in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria!
Despite the enormity of the transgression he is accused of having committed he still has apologists who are warning his accusers of going too far, of making the situation worse than it already is, of further dividing the country. I even heard one mention, apparently in mitigation, that George Washington had kept slaves (he might have added that he also had killed ‘Redskins’ for their scalps) and yet he was a national hero!
It is hardly credible that some of these kneejerk defenders of Trump are the same ones who on that particular Wednesday were hiding under their desks as the mobs were calling for them to be lynched.
Would anyone expect these same people to have second thoughts about impeaching the main mover of those riots?
It’s hardly credible, but it is called political expediency. They still want to be active politically, and the man whose project put their lives in jeopardy is the man who holds the key to their political success going forward. A bit crazy, isn’t it? but that is the way the cookie crumbles with those who have entered into this Faustian compact. Trump is calling the shots.
These are the convulsions attending the forceful imploding of a system that has been creaking under its own weight and age (in no way associated with the biological ages of the two main protagonists in this episode). The frontier West; the rape of a country via the extermination of the aboriginal owners of the land; the importation of human chattels from Africa and the continued dehumanisation of the offspring of the ‘negro’ imports; the ‘macho’ jingoism of successive administrations in colonising and looting Latin America, East Asia and the world under the imperial yoke of capital… all these have not been atoned for, and the spilt blood over generations is still wailing for delayed justice while the perpetrators’ inheritors feel it was good while it lasted .
The expiation will not be anywhere near complete simply because a Kenyan boy occupied the White House for eight years, or that an Indian woman is moving into the Executive Wing. On the contrary, even these symbolic marks of ‘progress’ may have infuriated the ‘Make America Great Again’ thugs further, because Obama’s and Harris’s forebears did not come on the Mayflower. Also, ‘Black Lives Matter’ rankles in some quarters, because uppity Blacks are refusing to accept their station in life and they are demanding what is not theirs to demand, or expect.
There is thus another civil rights movement struggling to be born but hampered by rear-guard fascists determined to turn back the clock. It will take time for it to come out, take root and bear flowers. While it struggles to come into its own, it will have to deal with the ‘Trumplicans’ and their allies
These latter are arming themselves, ready to reverse the march of history as some of us would like to think is irreversibly trending toward the world’s downtrodden staking their claim and securing it. It is just so exciting to watch Ilhan Omar, the Somali origin woman taking on Trump after the Capitol attack, but to Trump’s supporters that is just what he is talking about: ‘They are taking over our country!’
In all that hullaballoo, I wonder what the Navahos, Sioux, Apaches, and Dakotas are saying about all these people fighting over THEIR ancestral lands.
Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jeneralionline tv. E-mail: [email protected]
This article was first published in The EastAfrican newspaper on January 16, 2021.