Republicans: “Don’t Hold Us Accountable”

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File Picture. Tom, Abbott

We have seen the pattern. Now that we have had an insurrection and are on the threshold of a second impeachment, Republicans are threatening the nation. This is a classic of far right-wing, black shirt tactics. We saw this not only in Nazi Germany but also in Fascist Italy, as well as Latin-American nations in the 1950s and 60s. The threats play exactly as this has in the present. Impeachment is divisive, you must stop.

The continuation of the big lie, Democrats stole the election, is also part of this tactic. This is toxic to civil society and encourages the people who went into the Capitol to continue with this insurrection. While foot soldiers are starting to face the music, at this point so should the leaders. This includes both Donald Trump and members of the House and Senate. Of course, Trump said that his speech on Jan 6 was “totally appropriate.” This matches the perfect call to the Ukrainian president that was also perfect.

This is no delusion. I wish I could agree with the media on this. This is by design. He will never accept any responsibility and those who support him, never will either. Among them is Lindsey Graham who traveled with him to Alamo Texas with the president after telling us in tears that he was now breaking with Trump. What the senator is exhibiting is a classic of abused victims, if we are to be kind. However, he should know better at this point. He is of course one of the people saying that impeachment is highly divisive. Other names include Congressmen Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.

Then there is Mel Brooks of Alabama. In some ways, he is a special case. He was at the rally with the president encouraging the crowd. Indeed, he incited them. The way some of the participants were taking, he would have been strung from a tree as well, if he were found. But that is just the irony of the Frankenstein monster that they created.

The threat of violence is not just present with these members of Congress, but also in the media. Fox, and in particular Brian Killmade, have not lowered the temperature. Though Cumulus has told their on-air talent to lower it or lose their jobs. I guess Mark Levin will now have to stop pushing the stop the steal rhetoric that has landed us in this exact spot. However, this brings me to the rank and file of this.

It was Not Just Bubba!

It is easy for people watching the assault to think that this was just a bunch of poor white people, with little education. Let me disabuse you of this notion right now. What showed up at the Capitol were indeed some of your stereotypes. But we also had preppy young Republicans. We saw lawyers, doctors, and other white-collar types. Likely there were stockbrokers, and others who are well connected and part of the same elite that Trump rails against. We know that some of these people actually eat organic, since one was arrested, and refuses to eat because in lockup they don’t serve organic food. However, they will provide the food while in detention.

This is an indication that one corner of the assaulting force were people who are very much into yoga, healthy eating, and exercise. These are people who have the resources to eat organic, which is not necessarily cheap. This is a pointer to social class. This is not your stereotype, rural, fly over state Republican. We may want to believe these were the majority, but they were not.

We also had the Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys take the field. These two should surprise no one. The former is a militia with current and former police and military personnel. Their politics trend to the right, as in the far right. The Proud Boys are a white supremacist western chauvinist organization. They were very well organized and seem to have the talent to lead into the tip of the spear. We know from material now released by the FBI that these people likely had plans of the Hosue and Senate, including confidential and sensitive areas.

According to Terry Bouton who went there as an observer with his wife:

Preppy looking “country club Republicans,” well-dressed social conservatives, and white Evangelicals in Jesus caps were standing shoulder to shoulder with QAnon cultists, Second Amendment cosplay commandos, and doughy, hardcore white nationalists.

This is important since the impression exists among many Democrats that the MAGA base is mostly based only on an economic grievance. There is some of that, but most of it is about privilege and a world that is ending. I have detailed it in the past. What happened on the sixth, and could happen (most likely will happen again), is part of American history. This is a white (mostly Christian) minority reacting to their loss of power in the only way they know, with clear and present violence. We saw these white riots at the end of reconstruction when many blacks gained power. This was directly followed by Jim Crow laws, meant to keep blacks and other minorities from gaining power.

We had white riots during the summer of 1919, known as Red Summer, And then in 1921 as well as the Tulsa Riots, which destroyed a lot of lives and a lot of business, owned by black owners. Trump touched on that hot stove and not healed event when he decided to go there last year. Those came from economic grievance and race because for many whites who were in lower economic standing, they could not tolerate well to do, and well-educated blacks.

The United States is moving away from a society where one very specific group is in charge of all the important spots in society. The presidency of Barack Obama triggered a lot of this, and we saw it in the violent imagery during Tea Party protests. The Tea Party was not just well funded by corporate interests that hated the regulations, but also by far-right interests that could not believe a black man ascended to the highest office in the nation. These people, who historically have been in the lowest rungs of society, are now becoming powerful economically and politically. This is an afront with people who believe their world is going away.

It does not matter if they are the obvious suspects, like white supremacists, or a very large part of the White Evangelical movement. They also were there, in a great crusade to save the country from the evils of secularism and science. QAnon on purpose adopted the religious language and many of the most fervent acolytes quote scripture online. Ephesians is a favorite of these people. They see Trump as selected by God to rule over the nation. At times, unironically, some have quoted the Book of Samuel that warned Israel about the dangers of a king when the people of Israel insisted that they wanted one. Samuel did the best and then went and found Saul, who he anointed as king. These people believe that a thrice-divorced, adultery committing, morality lacking man was appointed by God as king of a Christian United States.

So when you hear the language from members of Congress that goes like this:

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Marjorie Taylor Greene

@mtgreenee

President Trump will remain in office. This Hail Mary attempt to remove him from the White House is an attack on every American who voted for him. Democrats must be held accountable for the political violence inspired by their rhetoric.

Election officials have certified Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. Presidential election

Quote Tweet

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

@RepMTG

· 13h

It is a signal to many who went after the Capitol, or who are thinking about it, that he will remain beyond the 20th. They believe this. They know this because Joe Biden’s Vice-President is precisely what they hate about a diverse nation. She is a trigger just as bad as President Obama was. This is an insurrection to keep the barbarians at the gate.

They are resisting the kind of accountability that is coming, because the privilege of caste is present, and tells them that they are above it. They know that these things only happen to the other, not them. And to be brutally honest, they also fear the reckoning of a society that is more equal, because it means that their religion and skin color no longer will protect them the way it has until now.

For the moment, the chatter in far right-wing safe spaces continues to get louder. The FBI has warned of what is coming, which many of us saw coming not just for weeks, but decades. This is a moment of national reckoning with that festering wound in the nation. We should ask what we can do? Because it will not stop on the 20th. If anything, I expect violence to continue beyond the 20th. It will be encouraged by the same outlets that have become essential to this modern version of the Klan. They range from bloggers on YouTube to people on national platforms such as Mark Levin and Brian Kilmeade.

Deplatforming does work to a point. However, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is claiming, unironically, that the only way for the far-right to communicate will be by Zamisdat. This is a man saying this on an open platform, who gets to publish his material on the open web. There is like no equivalent.

This is part of the culture of victimhood that is pervasive in the right. But also the clear fear that a reckoning is coming. This is also why things like the 1619 project triggered a lot in the right, and that includes historians. There is a reason for this. It posits that American history should start its telling with slavery, and not the war of independence. Both Slavery and the Enlightenment are at the heart of the United States. There should be no issue in finally discussing openly the scars that the former left in the country. That is what enlightened people do. We must abandon this era of post-truth, where reality is what you make of it.

There are reasons we need to start talking about those issues in far more open ways. This has to go into curricula at all levels of education. I predict that this large minority will pull their children out of the public, and even private schools, and do homeschooling. Why? There are things they do not want their children to be exposed to what they consider to be secular-liberal education. They did this, creating white schools, after Brown v Board of Education, so a further retreat is coming.

This brings us back to accountability. Republicans have rarely faced any of this in any major way. Now they are about to see a president impeached (perhaps convicted) twice in American history. They are facing a true gale force of disgust on social media. The corporate spigot is drying out. They lost all three branches of government, and some of their members may face prosecution for actively engaging in an insurrection. In other words, they are facing something that they are usually above happening to them. This, at the very least, is a strange feeling I am sure. As a nation, we need this to start healing, but also to emphasize to these people that certain things are not going to be tolerable anymore.

We all welcome civil discussion devoid of threats. We are tired of the threats. And yes, the motto from Black Lives Matter applies to this as well. “No justice, no peace.” I would add to it, “with no accountability, we can’t move on as a nation.” It’s longer, but this is an essential first step before we finally start dealing with the issues we have avoided as a nation. These are the consequences of living in a caste society, trying to break away from those chains.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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