Saturday, January 09, 2021

How close was that?

What an awful week. 
I'm still processing the horror of what happened, and what almost happened, in Washington. 
 It seems pretty clear now that Trump and his grotesque family wanted the mob to invade Congress and lynch them if they wouldn't declare Trump as President. 
Trump himself is so frightened by bullies that he would think the members of Congress would just collapse if they were threatened. 
 There is no option now except to impeach Trump, even though he likely won't be removed from office. He needs to go down in history as the only American president impeached twice, for malfeasance and for sedition. 
Here's an excerpt from a GQ article interviewing political consultant Arieth Kovler who studies Trump message boards on Reddit, Twitter, etc. 

 a lot of them also just imagined they were going to be there for this historic time when Trump pulled away the curtain and revealed that all of Congress were traitors and then took his just and equal revenge. There were a variety of characters: people who were there to watch Trump gain control and people who thought Trump would win, but only by activating the military, [with] a proper military coup that they supported. They thought they were there to go and purge Congress. They were there to stop the certification. They were there to punish those who went against Trump. When you put them all together, you get this explosive mixture.

The only thing that surprised me was that it was not the army I expected it to be.

Why do you say that?

They didn't have as many guns. They had this fantasy that, There are going to be thousands of us carrying AR-15s and what are they going to do? But many of them may have had guns in their cars and just didn't take them out. And maybe Capitol police were surprised and then took less forceful action against the protesters. And that's how these guys were able to march in. I actually feel like, if they were armed, it would have triggered a more severe response.

It sounds like there were plans for something much more severe. You're talking about the execution of members of Congress. Why do you think that didn't come to fruition?

A lot of these people were there for the ride. I think that had things gotten more violent, there would have been a lot of people who would be very willing to go along with it. I think that ultimately the police successfully kept elected officials out of the hands of these people.

There's also the question of what cues they're taking from Trump. While he was certainly quite contentious [in his video], it didn't quite rise to the level of, "Now is the time to act." He could have said something that was absolutely unequivocally understood by these people to be an order to attack. Instead, he told them to go home. It confused the hell out of them. On the one hand, there's a nudge and a wink, but they didn't understand. They thought, "Aren't we here to do a job? Did we do the job? Did we win?" It was a lot of confusion about what that was all about.

From what you've said, it sounds like a lot of this planning and organizing for this was really happening in plain sight if you were just willing to look and dig. Is that correct?

I think that's true, up to a point. In the last week or so, this stuff began to move more into private groups. I don't know what you would have gotten if you were in the private groups; the answer is possibly nothing. There was so much going on in public, I find it hard to believe that there was that much going on in private.

But my point is, if you knew this was going to happen weeks ago, it seems reasonable that we should expect that people in power should have known and prepped for this.

Yeah. I don't understand how things went as badly as they did. My only thought is that they were maybe expecting people to be more armed and when they didn't see a bunch of people carrying AR-15s they thought, “Aw, that's all right, it's just a normal protest,” and then failed to understand the gravity of the situation. But this was absolutely predictable....I'm also almost surprised to hear that they sort of were mapping out these pretty specific plans or fantasies, because it does seem that when a lot of them got into the Capitol Building, they didn't really know what to do. They went up on the dais, someone stole a podium, they trashed some offices. But it didn't appear that there was a coherent plan that had been worked out for weeks.

....When all these people were talking about their contingencies, it was always if and when Trump tells us to. The overriding message I was seeing was, "We're here to do a job, we don't know what that job is yet. When Trump said we're going to go to the Capitol, I guess our job is to go to the Capitol." But then they didn't get any further instructions, so there was a moment of, "Okay, now what? Surely this isn't why Trump called us to DC, we don't get it. This was where he was supposed to unveil the evidence, or arrest the plotters, or reveal that China is behind it." And then none of this happened.

I even saw people looking for post-Trump Trumpism. They're furious at Ted Cruz when he flipped back, and at Mike Pence, [in their minds] one of the biggest traitors. But now there's a little thinking that, "Trump kind of betrayed us, too. He told us he was the only one who could save the country and we believed it. And he's the only one who can stop Communist Joe Biden from selling organs to Chinese people. And he's not doing that and that means he's also a traitor." There's some very odd stuff popping up in Trump spaces right now. Obviously, that's not the majority of Trump fans, but there are all these people who just don't know, "Was there ever a plan? Was there a plan and it didn't work?" What we are going to see over the next few days is people trying to reassemble their worldviews.

....On these channels, are you seeing that people are excited at the prospect of him running again?

Honestly, no. I'm not detecting their enthusiasm yet, but that might change if he says he's going to do it. No one is saying, "Oh, well, we have 2024." Partly because they believe the elections are rigged. They don't think he can win in 2024.

I cannot get over how close the United States has come to facism. And they're not out of the woods yet.

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