America, we have a problem.
And it’s not just the treasonous president who unleashed a mob of armed terrorists against a country he obscenely spent the last four years insisting he was making great again while jackhammering its very foundation.
At this point, I’d have a lot more faith in our rehabilitation if the problem was just him — cut out the cancer, and maybe we survive, right?
But as much of a malignant megalomaniac as he is, Donald Trump has always been a mere symptom of something bigger:
Our national — pathological — addiction to normalcy, or the illusion of it, anyway.
Never forget the justifications that led to this shameful point in our history, the deadly truth that enablers — our own political leaders — denied was coming right at us:
It’s not racism, it’s economic anxiety! Oh, he doesn’t mean what he says. What’s the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?
Hours after a mostly white vigilante mob fueled by Trump’s dehumanization and disinformation stormed the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers who hid in fear for their lives while Trump supporters freely rioted made a great show of restoring a sense of control and normalcy by returning to formally count the electoral ballots.
It’s the we’ll-show-them approach that is, indeed, very American.
Except what it revealed is how willfully disconnected our leaders are from reality, from the dark truths of this country, and from the uncomfortable and hard work that needs to be done to purge our government, not just of a criminal president but of criminal lawmakers more than willing to continue his work.
“Reasserting normalcy is all well and appropriate,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes said Wednesday as lawmakers returned to the House and Senate floors, some continuing to spread election conspiracy theories and lies about who was behind the riot. “But there is something frankly kind of appalling about the tone of normalcy that has resumed.”
Supporters and opportunists spent years working to normalize Trump’s aberrant behavior and lower the bar to make his actions seem acceptable. Even now, after this unprecedented slap in the face to democracy, there is a reluctance to pull the fire alarm on this raging inferno.
Instead, we continue to get these modest course corrections and too-little-too-late responses to make us wipe our brows, let out a sigh of relief, and declare the Republic is strong — an even more appalling response when you consider that despite some lawmakers momentarily scared straight after the siege, nearly 150 Republican lawmakers still tried to reject the results of a legitimate and lawful election.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz should have been ejected from the floor and his office for not just defending Trump but lying about antifa being to blame for an attack by people draped in Trump hats and Trump shirts and Trump flags.
Same goes for Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who, like Gaetz, tried to blame imaginary extreme leftists after earlier inciting the mob gathered at the “Save America” rally by telling them that “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
On the floor of the Senate after the attack on the Capitol, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, Lindsey Graham, finally seemed to break from Trump.
“Enough is enough!” he said on the president’s bid to overturn the election. “Count me out.”
Except less than 24 hours later, enough was apparently not enough because he told reporters that he did not support invoking the 25th Amendment to get rid of Trump “at this point.”
He added that “if something else happens, all options would be on the table.”
Something else besides the president of the United States turning on his own country?
God help us when that happens. Because with these gutless minions, it absolutely will.
More than 70 million Americans voted for Trump. About 45% of Republicans who responded to a survey by YouGov supported rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol; that means about half were totally cool with mostly white insurgents who scaled walls, smashed windows, stormed Congress, looted offices, planted explosives, and posed for selfies.
After being kicked off Twitter for 12 hours for spouting more debunked election conspiracy theories to the Capitol rioters who Trump said were “special” and “loved,” the president was back on the platform with a video where he strained to play the role of a president, even as he continued to lie, and shameless political reporters rushed to tout his “new tone.”
On Friday, the let’s-wait-and-see Graham was back with his own tweet.
“As President @realDonaldTrump stated last night, it is time to heal and move on. If Speaker Pelosi pushes impeachment in the last days of the Trump presidency it will do more harm than good.”
Let’s be very clear, America, about what that harm would be: