This article concerns current events, US politics, and political violence in the wake of the insurrection attempt on January 6, 2021. The opinions within are entirely my own, and not necessarily those of my employer or any of their clients.
When I first got an email at work on 1/6 warning employees in Washington, DC to leave home early because of protests, I figured it was just something to help people stuck going to the office during a pandemic avoid getting stuck in traffic. I later found out that I was wrong, and that a mob of right-wingers had stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to take members of the United States Senate hostage and force them to overturn results from the Electoral College that confirmed the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 Presidential election.
I had expected right-wingers to protest, and would have had no problem with them doing so as long as they did not engage in the sort of violence so many of them accused BLM protesters of engaging in during the summer of 2020 or repeat the events of Charlottesville in 2017. But to storm the US Capitol as thousands of right-wingers did on the 6th? This is unacceptable.
Understand this: I never supported Trump. As a kid growing up in New York I knew him as the sort of opportunist who makes con artists look honest. I certainly didn’t watch him on TV. Hell, I didn’t think the Republican Party had any business even letting him participate in the 2016 presidential primary (but nobody at the RNC asked my opinion). Instead, as a lifelong Democratic voter I voted for Bernie Sanders in that party’s primary, and then held my nose and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. I didn’t do it because I like the Democratic Party, but because I loathe the Republican Party—which hasn’t had a platform I could support since 1956.
My wife and I were certainly shocked and dismayed to learn that we’d be stuck with Donald Trump—a washed up reality TV host—as President, but did we participate in an attempt to take the US Senate hostage and overturn an election by force? Of course not. I had my vote, and it didn’t go the way I had hoped. These things happen, and it wasn’t the first time; I didn’t vote for George W. Bush—that dude-ranch reject—in 2000 or 2004, either.
Instead, I mostly got over it. As long as Uncle Sam didn’t try to yank my wife’s green card and send her back to Australia I didn’t care much. Hell, I even opposed the first attempt to impeach him, not because I had changed my mind about Trump, but because I did not want Mike Pence taking over as the Ford to Trump’s Nixon. Though if Trump and Pence had both gotten COVID-19 and died, my only objection would have been to the prospect of Nancy Pelosi as President; she’s already had too many terms as Speaker of the House and should have been primaried out of office years ago.
I had to be an adult and get over it because my day job is at a corporation that does a lot of business with the government and I like getting paid on the regular, so that’s what I did. I might have talked smack about Trump and Pence on social media when some trash mob decided to try trolling me, but I don’t recall ever publically calling for political violence. That’s a line not to be crossed except under the most dire of circumstances, and a sitting President having to accept that he’s a one-term wonder is not that dire, especially since even one term as President of the United States is more than most of us will ever get. George H. W. Bush didn’t try to have Bill Clinton’s electoral victory overturned. Instead, he stepped down and let the next President take over.
I suppose it’s unreasonable to expect Trump to have had enough class to emulate Bush Sr.’s example, but I have zero sympathy for his fans and hope everybody responsible for this insurrection is identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just as I would have been if I had crossed the line. I had to get over Trump’s victory in 2016. It’s his supporters’ turn to get over his loss in 2020.
Furthermore, I think it’s high time that the conservative movement in the Anglosphere be recognized as an organized crime syndicate and prosecuted accordingly. Charles Koch, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Peter Thiel, and many other conservative billionaires have been bankrolling and profiting from the Republican Party’s descent into fascism for decades, and it is high time they stood trial for it under the RICO statutes. If you think I’m living in a fantasy world for saying this, you haven’t read my novels; if you lived in my fantasy world these people would be hearing a Miranda warning at swordpoint and facing charges of tyranny and corruption—assuming the Adversary arresting them didn’t go full Dredd and summarily execute them for resisting arrest.
If you read OG reactionaries like Edmund Burke, you’ll find that conservative crybullying doesn’t just date back to Roe v. Wade or even Brown v. Board of Education; it dates back to the goddamned French Revolution. However, just to be “fair”, once we’ve burned the GOP to the ground we can go after the Democratic party next. They’ve pretty much aided and abetted the Republicans ever since JFK got whacked, their favored Presidental candidate in 2016 is a neoliberal stooge, and their candidate for 2020 had nothing more to offer than “I’m not Trump”, so to Hell with them too.
If you oppose conservatism and want to know your enemy, here are some books to get you started. I recommend borrowing them from your local public library.
- Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean
- The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump by Corey Robin
- Give Them an Argument: Logic for the Left by Ben Burgis
- Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations by Al Franken
Al Franken’s 1996 book might be hard to find, and the title might seem in poor taste given the recent demise of the titular demagogue, but it does an excellent job of demolishing Limbaugh’s bullshit and by extension that of the conservative movement as a whole. Barry Goldwater might have had a conscience, but post-Goldwater conservativism has always been both morally and ideologically bankrupt.
Moderation Warning: Anybody who engages in whataboutism (for example, by bringing up George Soros) to deflect responsibility for the insurrection away from the right wing will be summarily banned, with zero fucks given. This is the only warning you’re going to get, and it’s far more than conservatives deserve.