Persistent Dangers to American Democracy – The Island
by Vijaya Chandrasoma
Those who vote count for nothing, those who count the votes count for everything. – Joseph Stalin
The Republican Party of America has, almost unanimously, decided to hand over the leadership of the Party to a defeated former president and his sect. A cult whose members have been persuaded not to believe the facts and evidence before their own eyes; who still believe in the Big Lie of a stolen election; and most ridiculously, that the January 6 insurrection was led, not by Trump supporters, but by Democrat Antifa and Black Lives Matter sheep dressed in Trump wolf gear.
An insurrection in which the crowd carried Trump banners, Confederate flags, with even a sick Nazi rioter, wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. The sweatshirt featured the slogan “Work brings freedom”, in apparent homage to the German saying “árbeit macht frei” which was inscribed on the gates of Auschwitz, the most infamous of Hitler’s death camps in the USA. Germany before World War II.
Over 700 of these domestic terrorists have already been arrested and imprisoned. Many have said in their defense that they were rounded up in Washington, DC on that fateful day by Trump. They had been instigated by a defeated president to wage war on the government of the United States. The government represented by members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, who had gathered on Capitol Hill to fulfill their formal and constitutional duty to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden. These insurgents were charged with minor offenses and mostly received very light sentences.
The stakes were raised last week when Attorney General Merrick Garland arrested 11 rioters from the insurgency’s leading Trump cult, the ‘Oathkeepers’, for ‘seditious conspiracy’. Garland stressed that the Justice Department investigation has just begun and will persist, wherever it leads, high or low, for as long as it takes.
“Seditious conspiracy,” according to Wikipedia, is defined as follows:
“If two or more persons in any state or territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, overthrow, or destroy by force the government of the United States, or to declare war thereon, or to forcibly oppose its authority, or by force to prevent, obstruct, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned for up to 20 years, or both.
“For a charge of seditious conspiracy to be made, it suffices that a crime be planned. It doesn’t have to be really attempted.
Would it be possible to define the January 6 insurrection more precisely?
However, Republican Party leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose own life was threatened and was heard pleading with Trump to call his war dogs during the attack on the Capitol, have refused. to testify before the A legally convened bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riotous attack on the government. A later speech by McCarthy to the House a week after the uprising acknowledging Trump’s responsibility for the coup has now been covered up. The refusal of Trump loyalists to testify before the January 6 Committee, even at the risk of facing charges of criminal contempt and imprisonment, is clear evidence of Trump’s leadership role in the seditious attack on the government.
Trump himself boasted during a recent interview with an offshoot of the radical right-wing propaganda network, One America News (OAN), that his “Stop the Steal” speech at the Ellipse just before the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was “the biggest crowd I’ve spoken to before.” In that speech, he urged his minions to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” that they would lose their country if they didn’t.In his ignorance and colossal ego, Trump didn’t seem to realize that this bragging was a public admission that his supporters were responsible for the bombing.
I really hadn’t taken too much interest in American politics, even after immigrating to the United States in 1990. Like everyone else in the world, I had followed racial tensions in the United States before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Vietnam War, the moon landing, the Nixon scandal grabbed headlines and global attention. The Reagan presidency of the 1980s, which ultimately turned out to be a bigger disaster than Watergate in economic terms, only interested me because of Nancy Reagan’s White House affair with Frank Sinatra.
My contempt for the Republican Party started with the Bush/Cheney administration and the illegal war on Iraq. I worked at the lowest level of the Obama campaign in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008, doing vital tasks like licking stamps and answering phones with my heavy Sri Lankan accent.
I was in political heaven when Obama won the US presidency, and I truly believed Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who ended his post-election show in 2008 with the declaration that “we have finally become the nation that we always said we were”. A statement that has since been proven by the presidency and the Trump administration to be the complete antithesis of the truth. We have now become the nation we were before the civil war, on the verge of another even more violent civil war, threatening the oldest democracy in the world.
I had retired to Sri Lanka after the war in 2009. I had always enjoyed writing and started writing essays, for my own pleasure, during the Trump campaign in 2016. I submitted one of these trials at the Sunday Island. It was published, and as Shashi Tharoor, the famous Indian orator and politician, says, “I can tell you that seeing your name in print as the author of an article the first time is the equivalent of that first bar chocolate or whatever you’re addicted to……the first time you see your name in print, you’re addicted and you want to keep writing.” That’s right, whether you’re a renowned writer and speaker journalist who published his first articles at the age of 10, or a mediocre journalist who published his first article at the age of 75.
So I kept writing, which got easier as my hatred of Trump and his white supremacist tribe became an obsession with each passing month, with each act of criminal incompetence, with each instance of fraudulent nepotism and vulgarity, post-2016 fear, reaching a crescendo with the Trump-incited January 6 insurgency and the continued sycophantic behavior of the Trump cult. A cult that has strong claims to win a majority in both chambers by the 2022 midterms, culminating in victory for the presidency in 2024, thereby permanently destroying democracy in the United States.
Permanently, because Republican states are already enacting laws to make it harder for minorities to vote, voter suppression laws that a new Republican administration will consolidate starting in 2024. Kevin McCarthy said the other day that, as Speaker of the House from 2022, his only actions would be to block any Democratic legislation and retaliate against Democrats who had acted against Trump. And once Republicans claim the presidency with Trump, Desantis or any of those white supremacist presidential aspirants in 2024, the Republican-controlled Congress will ensure that there is never another free election.
I can understand the radical right, Christian white supremacists, going this route to contain their white privilege against the approaching brown invasion. It is predicted that white people in the United States will be a minority by 2050, which in the eyes of white supremacists means the end of the white privilege that has dominated the country for more than 400 years. Current Republican draconian voter suppression laws aim to marginalize the voting rights of these minorities.
I can understand these white supremacist movements spreading across Europe. Countries like France, Germany and Italy also face this monster, and their history of racism and anti-Semitism is recent enough that white supremacy poses a real threat to their democracies.
I can even understand the support of conservatives in the United States who defend republican policies, who reject the idea of a welfare state, which they equate with communism. Even though the greatest Republican president since World War II, Eisenhower, continued the social security and welfare policies of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Under Eisenhower’s regime, tax rates on corporations and the wealthy were in the 90% range, resulting in a thriving middle class.
A middle class destroyed by successive Republican administrations that have reduced these tax rates to 39% (Reagan), 29% (Bush) and Trump (21%). Republican majorities in Congress have frustrated all efforts by subsequent Democratic presidents to raise corporate and wealth tax rates, and thereby reduce the deepening chasm of income inequality. Efforts by the Biden administration to raise those tax rates by a few percentage points have stalled despite a Democratic majority (50/50) in the Senate, due to opposition from two Democratic senators from battleground states. , Arizona and West Virginia. Democratic Senators Sinema and Manchin are more concerned with their own re-election than with the welfare of the country. They are also blocking Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure legislation and the Voting Rights Act.
But I don’t understand the mindset of brown-skinned minorities, including Sri Lankans in the United States and Sri Lanka, from the lower middle classes to highly skilled professionals, who support a cult completely controlled by the most vulgar, incompetent, narcissistic, fraudulent, traitorous, white supremacist sociopath this planet has seen since Adolf Hitler. A maniac who would classify them as subhuman like Hitler was classifying the Jews, however rich they were; a racist who would undoubtedly classify our nation as a country of shit.
It will take me too long to list examples proving each of the adjectives I used to describe this scammer. But I will, if necessary. If these budding white people can just for a moment take their eyes and asses off radical right-controlled media outlets like Fox News and the One America Network (OAN), they will see the truth, even the urgency, of my abuse, and will recognize the clarity and present danger that this movement represents for the oldest democracy in the world.
But they won’t and they can’t. Trump reigns supreme in their blinded eyes and bigoted brains. I have written about the imminent danger to US democracy posed by this sociopath and his white supremacist enablers in this column for the past few years. I would welcome one of those brown-skinned Trumpers to respond to my vitriol and prove me wrong.
Again, they won’t because they can’t.