The term “American Carnage” was introduced into our lexicon during Trump’s inauguration speech four years ago. It was a reference to the lower class neighborhoods and minorities he and his base viewed as “infesting” America. It was a call to Make America White Again and it culminated in the deadly insurrection that Trump instigated Jan. 6, 2021 in a vain attempt to remain in power.
Like December 7th and September 11th, January 6th will go down as another date of infamy. It will forever be known as Insurrection Day; the day a sitting president and his supporters sought to violently overthrow the government.
Relying on a campaign of lies, misinformation and flawed conspiracy theories spread by right wing media, the plan was to force Congress to overturn the election of President Biden and install Donald Trump as leader, presumably with dictatorial powers.
Make no mistake, this attempted coup was nothing less than an uprising to elevate white supremacists and re-take their version of America from “the brown people” and those from “shithole countries” who “stole” the election. The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Q-anon and other lesser white supremacist groups stormed the Capitol with the intent of taking Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress hostage, or worse, and forcing them to negate the election results.
The seeds of this coup attempt were planted long ago.
From Trump’s “very fine people” when referencing the white supremacists in Charlottesville, to his condemnation of Black Lives Matter and the false narrative that those athletes protesting by kneeling during the National Anthem or taking to the streets to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, Trump was egging on his followers to refuse to accept the likelihood that he would lose the 2020 presidential election.
The Insurrection of January 6th will go down as one of the biggest international failures since 9/11. For weeks the internet was buzzing with chatter about an event in Washington that would coincide with the certification of Biden’s victory. Trump even spurred on the budding calamity by scheduling a rally and inviting his base to DC for a “wild” event via Twitter.
Calls for violence and armed insurrection were ignored, leading many to question whether the lack of police presence meant the revolt was an inside job. The relative ease by which the rioters were able to gain access to the Capitol, the gentle treatment when they were pushed back and the lack of a greater police presence contrasts greatly with how the Black Lives Matter protestors were treated when tear gas and rubber bullets were used on peaceful protestors so Trump could have a photo op.
On a related note, the Secret Service is changing the presidential protection detail out of fear that some of the current agents might be Trump loyalists and undermine the Biden administration.
In the aftermath of the attack, Republicans continued their hopeless quest to overturn the election results. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), joined by over one hundred Republican members of the House of Representatives, refused to admit defeat and instead dragged the process of certifying Biden’s victory into the wee hours of the morning. Their pointless efforts only highlighted the hypocrisy of Republicans who, following the attack, were asking for unity as Democrats proceeded with Articles of Impeachment.
Actions have consequences. Major corporations, the lifeblood of campaign finance, have halted donations to Republicans who voted to overturn the election results. Perhaps that was the reason for the about face many Republicans made?
What’s next? As mentioned above, Democrats, and possibly with some Republican support, are proceeding with impeachment proceedings if Vice President Pence refuses to invoke the 25th Amendment or Trump fails to resign.
Meanwhile, more arrests are being made following the insurrection. They actually weren’t that hard to find because they posted their illegal actions on social media or were spotted, sans masks, trespassing in the halls of the Capitol.
Further investigation showed that the attack could have been far more violent. Police found pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and weapons that fortunately never made it inside the building. Rioters were spotted with zip ties, with the presumed aim of taking members of Congress hostage, or worse. (Some theorized that the foiled abduction of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was a “dry run” for what was being planned in Congress).
Despite overwhelming evidence many, including Trump sycophant Matt Gaetz (R-FL), pushed the baseless claims that it was actually Antifa that was behind the insurrection. It seems some people just can’t stop lying no matter what happens.
With Inauguration Day drawing closer, Trump is facing increasing demands to resign or otherwise be removed prior to the end of his term. There is also increasing chatter that the insurrectionists will return to Washington on Inauguration Day to disrupt the proceedings. Trump had his Twitter account permanently suspended because Twitter viewed his tweet about not attending the inauguration as a signal to his supporters that it was safe to wreak havoc on the ceremonies.
As Trump’s time in office comes to a close, he faces numerous legal battles and financial woes that predate his time in office. He now faces the additional potential of being charged with his role in inciting the insurrection.
Even as he denied his election defeat, and took unprecedented steps to prevent the peaceful transition of power, Trump had visions of his post-presidential life. He saw himself as making a tremendous comeback in 2024 as he installed loyalists to hinder the Biden administration. He saw himself as kingmaker, holding tremendous sway over the Republican Party as he conducted his own shadow presidency. He saw a Trump dynasty as his loyal supporters would elect his children to offices for which they had zero qualifications.
All of this evaporated with the events of the past week. Many Republicans are shying away from him and his loyal base is also dwindling as many face incarceration for their involvement in the insurrection.
If life where to imitate art, Trump should be forced to endure his own Walk of Shame a la Game of Thrones.
Perhaps Trump’s mention of American Carnage was prescient. We are indeed facing unprecedented carnage as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the nation. Thousands are dying daily due to his administration’s inept response and abysmal vaccine roll-out.
The country will eventually heal, as we always have. But it will be a hard lesson. We will need to confront our inner demons and the ugliness that lies in the hearts of many Americans. Only then will there be an end to the American Carnage.