Note: This piece is merely a stream of conscious as I watch and think about the impeachment.
Last week, we Americans watched a violent insurrection unfold at the US capital and challenge the very basis of American democracy in support of keeping Donald Trump in office despite losing a fair election. Embolden by calls from the president, Giuliani, and members of Congress, a group of Right-wing domestic terrorists gathered at the capital to hear the president speak on the morning in which the US House of Representatives was to certify the electoral college votes (a ceremonial formality).
On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump barked harmful rhetoric of the “indoctrination of children”, weak elected leaders, and a call for strength from his supporters. He specifically named political enemies, including those in his own Party. He vowed to “never concede” despite losing dozens of court challenges to the election across many states.
On January 6th, Trump told his followers “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong … I know everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building. To peacefully, patriotically make your voices heard” while also telling the crowd that “we will not taking it any more.” This was said alongside calls by Rudy Giuliani for “trial by combat” in reference to political enemies in Congress and Trump Jr.’s statements “If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it!” and “The people who did nothing to stop the steal. This gathering should send a message to them: This isn’t their Republican party any more. This is Donald Trump’s.”
Of course, the rally on January 6th wasn’t the impetus of the insurrection. Instead, Trump and other Right-wing voices have been sowing seeds of discontent for months. Trump repeatedly said leading up to the 2020 election that the only way he could lose is by fraud, his transparent support for White supremacist violence (e.g. Charlottesville, VA) across the country. Prior to January 6th, there are reports that Lauren Boebert gave a personal tour (interpreted as reconnaissance) to some that took part in the violent insurrection.
The insurrection was organized online through social media platforms which are finally clamping down on extremists (too little too late). Donald Trump was a casualty of this purging of those that have participated in misinformation and violence.
Although I have been mildly vocal on my thoughts about the insurrection and aftermath, I have paid close attention to the ongoings. Many of those that took place in the violence at the capital have already been arrested and the FBI and other institutions of law continue to try to identify those that participated in the failed coup.
I’ve also been watching the impeachment debates and have become further disgusted by Republicans in the House. Speakers have repeatedly called on us to move on and work towards unity.
I find this to be utterly insane, tone-deaf, insensitive, and beyond this, demonstrating complicity in undermining our democracy. We are asked to unify with the very people that attacked the foundations of our very fragile American democracy. We are asked to move on from one of the greatest attacks on our country (internally or externally) in the history of our country.
Moving on requires reconciliation which itself requires firm accountability. Our leaders must communicate to the country that we will not bend to fascists. We have a separation of powers so that we the people have a mechanism to hold our leaders accountable. It is the job of Congress to exercise the will of the people and hold Trump accountable for trying to lead a revolution that would prop him up as a fascist dictator.
My fear is that Republicans are to afraid of the violent mob that stands behind Trump and too concerned with pandering to them. This tells me that the Republican base is populated by White supremacists that yearn for an ethno-state in which they can exercise their will against those they deem unworthy. That rhetoric is found throughout (arguably) every speech and tweet that Trump unleashed.
We need to make this country unwelcoming to these people. Reconciliation requires a reflexivity that creates the kind of space that makes Trumpism and all of its aspects not only unwelcome but unthinkable. This moment is a linchpin and we can either reinforce it and protect our democracy and future or we can watch the wheels fall off.
We must hold all participants involved accountable. This includes Trump, Giuliani, Hawley, Cruz, Boebert (especially if it is true she gave seditionists a tour), and many others that enabled and facilitated the coup attempt. If we do not hold people accountable, we are assenting to this kind of behavior and we are sacrificing our future on the alter of fascism. Accountability cannot stop here though. We need to hold our posture and hold Biden, Harris, and their regime accountable to the people and the future of all Americans. We cannot stand by as many Republicans did with Trump. The president works for us and must meet our expectations and serve the American people.