I’ve been watching bits of the impeachment trial on youtube. It’s deeply shocking when you put together Trump’s inflammatory speeches, tweets and statements with the actions of the crowd rampaging through the Capitol carrying nooses and guns and threatening to kill Senators for merely carrying out their duties. But what’s worse is the fact that as things stand the Senate is unlikely to convict. Republican Senators are scared, not so much of Trump as of their constituents (or whatever they call them over there). It really is mob rule, and you have to salute those brave enough to stand up for the rule of law. They are the human barricades in this situation.
I grew up believing fascism was dead, that it had been defeated in my parents’ generation and could not come back. That was a delusion; fascism is back, it’s loud and Proud, it waves flags and totes guns and will stop at nothing to achieve its ends. Fascism has no arguments and no creed; it doesn’t bother to debate, just says get out of my way, I’m going to win here because I’m right. And why am I right? Because this gun, this fist, this flag says I’m right. This President says I’m right. Fascism takes no account of reason or law except as obstacles that stand in its way. Of course, when they get into power they will enact their own laws which they will enforce with draconian severity, but for now laws are there to be broken. Your laws have no legitimacy. Why not? Because I say so. It’s this climate which encourages far-right Senators to insist they can bring guns into the Capitol and go without a mask: because I say so. Because it’s my right. Because I have the freedom. They are quick enough to invoke the second amendment for their own freedom of speech but would deny others the right to go about their lawful business or to cast their vote.
Trump will go down in infamy, sure. But the chaos he caused will carry on. Year on year there may be fewer people believing the election was ‘stolen’ but there will still be some – and in four years time a cleverer person can come along and manipulate these people and in the guise of rescuing America do what Trump failed to do and finish the job. In the end Trump was a useful idiot; he was like the Ape in The Last Battle who only wants more nuts and oranges and is made use of by cleverer, more manipulative power-brokers. To gain power in a democracy you need at least a measure of self-control and Trump had none; in the end his downfall was that he couldn’t accept losing. Losing was against his code, against his creed (if you can call it that) against his whole raison d’etre. He is simply incapable of accepting defeat; he has not conceded the election and probably never will. This is a terrible weakness. A more sensible person would have conceded, albeit between gritted teeth, and bided their time for a comeback. But Trump has never been sensible.
Whatever possessed a population to vote him in in the first place is a question we’ll probably never fully be able to answer. He was a disgrace to his office and his country. He roused up the worst elements in the population, incited an insurrection and should never be allowed anywhere near office again. Will the Senate have the guts to convict? We live in hope.
In other news, my copy of The Dig has arrived. Yay! I look forward to reading it and I’ll let you know my thoughts. In reference to Wednesday’s discussion on books vs ebooks, I get most of my reading via Alibris, a site which links second-hand bookshops throughout the UK (there’s also a US site.) Typically prices are much lower than in the shops, though not so low as Amazon. But you know why I don’t use Amazon: at least you ought to know, for I have often told you so… You can also find obscure or out of print books, usually for a reasonable price; I’m still awaiting my copy of Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer. Greek is not enough: I must learn Anglo-Saxon! I must read the tales of Hroth and Hgoth and their glorious swords and try to detach my feminist consciousness from this chest-beating epic. I’ll let you know how I get on…