No, I do not suggest that everyone who ever voted for Donald Trump, or once found Donald Trump appealing, were all demonstrating fealty to a fool.
However, those who would still vote for him, and those who might even rationalize that there is much redeeming or admirable about him after he urged the rioters to come and egged them on when riot and insurrection were in the air are showing fealty to a fool. Donald J. Trump, after all is said and done, has demonstrated tragically and dramatically that he is, indeed, a fool—a fool of the first order.
And, to be clear, every Republican member of the House of Representatives and Senate who stood on the floor of their respective chambers and objected to the certification of votes cast by duly elected electors, and that were certified by the nation’s duly elected Republican and Democratic Governors, were also showing fealty to a fool. They did so out of pure political chauvinism or rank stupidity.
To clear up a misconception some may harbor, Congress’s right to object to electors was enabled by the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which was enacted as a remedy should any State ever again send competing electors to vote for a presidential candidate, which in fact, some States did in 1876. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 was never intended, not ever, as a final congressional filter for approving or rejecting duly elected electors’ votes from any state.
So, concerning those Republican Representatives and Senators who, in service to Donald Trump, sanctimoniously objected to recognizing the votes of duly elected electors, they are themselves fools as well. They turned the nation’s bicameral legislature into a theater of the absurd. And chief among these absurdists Senators Hawley of Missouri and Cruz of Texas, primping for delusional fantasies of their own future Presidential moments, are also fools and, indeed, fools of high and dangerous order.
The pitiful and pitiable hosanna chorus of cable-news commentators and social-media trolls and addicts who still support Trump, well, they too are paying fealty to a fool, and no doubt, many of their followers are as well.
Those who still embrace Trump and desperately grasp for some equivalency between what happened at the nation’s Capitol last Wednesday and the arson and looting that broke out in American cities in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing are also showing fealty to a fool. There are critical differences between the two phenomena. First and foremost, the urban disorders earlier this year were terrible criminal sideshows that slandered truly commendable, historic, spontaneous, and massive outpourings of peaceful protest.
In many cities last year, public officials did fail to deal effectively with severe disorders during overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations. That represented failure by local, and in some instances, country and state government. However, the rioters in those urban disorders were not rioting at the encouragement and invitation of local public officials. That is in no way comparable to an insurrection promoted and encouraged by the President of the United States. Those who grasp for some equivalency between those disorders and the fiasco at the Capitol this week, as many cable news bloviators, social media trolls, and those who are willing consumers of their messages are doing, are merely trying to pivot attention away from the chaos in Washington.
The mob the President encouraged to come gathered near the White House and listened to the President of the United States harangue and promise to “fight like hell,” and to march on the Capitol with them. And then there was child-Trump, Don junior, urging the protestors to “show some fight,” and, he cajoled, “to those Republicans, many of which (sic) may be voting on things in the coming hours: You have an opportunity today. You can be a hero, or you can be a zero. And the choice is yours. But we are all watching. The whole world is watching, folks. Choose wisely.” The crowd listened to Presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani urge them to engage in “trial by combat.” And so, the angry, pumped-up mob marched to the nation’s Capitol sans, of course, the President, Rudy Giuliani, Don junior, and the rest of the Trump Katzenjammer kids, who retired to watch on television the entire spectacle they had initiated.
When he spoke, the President threw in an obligatory reference to “peaceful” in his seventy-minute awful harangue. After all, he is always a master of inserting a nod to plausible deniability into his inflammatory rhetoric. Still, an army of lawyers, and certainly not his favorite consigliere, Rudy Giuliani, cannot distance the President from the insurrection last Wednesday. At best, a United States President was publicly and staunchly sympathetic to insurrectionists, and at worst, he was their enabler and leader.
They were a sorrowful group, those insurrectionist marauders who stormed the Capitol, and who the President had egged on. One was caught protesting on camera that they had no choice but to take matters into their own hands because even the Supreme Court wouldn’t help them. One couldn’t help comparing this mob logic to the painfully-patient, centuries-long struggle of America’s civil rights crusaders who were jailed, beaten, and lynched, as they marched in a thoroughly legitimate quest for justice and equality under the law.
Yes, individuals can point to specific policies Donald Trump has pursued with which they concur. I, too, can think of some. But achieving something worthwhile along the way doesn’t confer immunity from judgment for encouraging sedition. Under despots, economies might improve, autobahns might be built, trains might run on time, unemployment might lessen, and armed forces might grow and modernize. However, none of that matters if the head-of-state is divisive, misguided, demagogic, one who embraces autocrats and insurrectionists, a chronic liar, and a failed leader in a time of crisis.
Five who were present at the protest are now dead. Three apparently had heart attacks. One, a female protester, was shot during the melee after climbing through a window in the Capitol. Another, a Capitol policeman, died after a rioter hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. It was a dreadful day.