What I find so hopelessly frustrating about the January 6thinquiry is this. Yes, it is no doubt true that Trump, his cohorts and a sizable amount, if not the entire Republican Party is corrupt, quite likely criminal in nature as well but definitely complicit in corruption and in the defense of Trump and his actions. Yes, Trump and his cohorts should be tried and punished in that so rare of things, a just and fair manner, and we as a nation should be able to put this whole affair, the Trump era that is, behind us
Yes, the American democratic experiment is at stake as we so often hear these days. But the threat to our democracy is from both sides of the aisle (oh the irony) and a “turning point”, as they also like to say, may have been reached (really?). But will prosecuting a number of the January 6th rioters or even the “Orange One” himself bring much real satisfaction and save our democracy? I think not.
The threat to the American democratic experiment goes much, much deeper than the threat poised by Trump and his Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. The real and important thing that threatens our democracy will actually barely be scratched or scathed by the efforts of the January 6th inquiry no matter how many Liz Chaneys, Adam Kinzingers or Jamie Raskins we might muster together to finish them off. If you have paid any attention at all to the condition of our democracy over the last 50 years or so (or more) you will understand perfectly well that this “threat” goes well beyond and historically behind Trump and his gang.
To be blunt, I and I can’t help but to think that maybe a few others, are not even a little bit comfortable with what may be the ultimate result of the inquiry or with those who are performing the inquiry or assuming the power after the fall of Trump. I am reminded of Socrates’ warning, though he was speaking of the strength of Rome’s military rather than its president or congress… who will protect us from the protectors? Plato’s answer was, “why they will protect themselves against themselves”. A response no doubt perfectly suited for our inquisition and for the imagined saving of our democracy. I’m not feeling much comfort in that opinion no matter the high ground of political understanding from which it comes.
With what might appear to be a restraining, or at least a rearraigning of the Republican Parties power and influence some might find a moment that calls for celebration and congratulations, a moment of clarity and stability perhaps but again, I for one, among the others, do not.
For with what could be described as an affirmation and strengthening of the Democratic Party and the Old Republican Guard by the failure of the MAGA crowd comes another sizable concern, which is of course, the affirmation and strengthening of the Democratic Party and the good old-fashioned GOP.
There was a time, though it came in little fits and starts of far off and lofty dreams of hope and change, when I was somewhat willing to engage in intentionally manufactured naïveté so that I might believe that the Democratic Party was going to be my good friend and pal, that I would put my trust and confidence in their promised liberal agenda of progress in the equal distribution of welfare of and for the public good, human rights all around, the logic and implementation of environmental protections and strategies for a sustainable future. That I should embrace the feeble and futile notion of voting blue as some kind of remedy for our diseased and dying democracy.
Instead, we have had support for a more than willing war machine dedicated to total-domination-empire building, the ruinous NAFTA and other trade agreements or could we call them the economic colonialization of the world, capitalism raised to the status of a religion (it’s the economy stupid), and every rapacious, destructive and over-the top corporate scheme imagined being allowed and often subsidized with our tax dollars.
We have had a surveillance state installed, a militarized police-force installed, an all corporate/government media installed, heading towards what could become an almost complete lock-down on outside voices and opinions installed (corporate and government “fact-checkers” and censers), a push towards total corporate/government control through “smart” devices and a move towards perhaps the most frightening of all, the digitization of currency.
With these kinds of friends that the Democrats have made themselves to be, it is likely that I will soon not want any friends at all. Then we have, playing the role of enemy, the GOP which hasn’t been worth a damn since Ike left office with his warning of, get this, watching our backs against the protectors, better known then and now as the Military Industrial Complex.
My concerns, as you may see, are that saving our democracy for the use of a couple parties of the Republican and Democratic kind, left to their own swelling devices, might not be such a good thing after all and that left unchallenged, as they are now except for the tug-of-war that Democrats and Republicans are currently engaged in against each other, might lead us directly into some real down-home style governmental over-stepping and oppression.
I would like to suggest that finding no love for the Republican Party or the Trump Republicans or whatever they call themselves, unfortunately does not lead me to the doorstep of the Democrats or the old-fashioned Republican Party, bouquet in hand, ready to trust on, loving and supporting forever with these already proven domestic and world abusers.
I can’t help but to think that something isn’t quite right here with all of this and how it might just be possible that we, as those who really are concerned with what has happened to our democracy, are maybe missing the boat and squandering what may be our last, best hope of actually saving our democracy.
But I have a warning of my own, nothing original but still applicable which is this, that if there is any one thing that brings the Democrats and Republicans together it is that they are both earnestly opposed to anyone coming along trying to save our democracy. That, I’m sure, is why they have suddenly taken on the task of saving the democracy for themselves, they sure don’t want us, the people that is, trying to do something as bold and patriotic as saving our democracy.
What we are seeing, what we are doing with this inquiry that is, is we are taking one of the main tenents of civilization, which is the rule of law, and turning it, as we so often do, into the same old game of catering to those with privilege and position. They will thank us with economic hardship and police brutality if we are not careful but I know this because I know that most, if not all of those people who were at the top of this so-called insurrection will never be punished as leaders of insurrections should be punished if punished at all. Trying to over-throw the US government is actually thought of in some schools of law as being a fairly serious crime with some very serious consequences attached to those caught trying to do it.
Further speaking as we are talking about a trial here in the USA, that has captured the attention of millions, brings us to another old, old trick which is to focus the public attention on one pile of dirt while the rest of what is going on around us is conveniently being swept under the rug.
It is in this way that I find myself comparing Trump and all that he represents, to the fictional Emmanual Goldstein in Orwells book 1984. Goldstein if you will remember (surely, you’ve read it) was the dreaded anti-hero, the enemy of Big Brother and subject of the required “Two-Minute-Hate” that played on the video screens every day. Hating Goldstein was important to the Big Brothers government. It provided a pressure release for the oppressed citizens of Oceania while also serving as an opportunity for those pitiful citizens to display their genuine love of Big Brother.
Serving both as political entertainment and a great tool of propaganda and social engineering, Goldstein and Trump were allowed to live on as outlaw enemies of the state, serving a wonderful though nefarious purpose for that state.
But back to reality, the unfortunate pawns in the insurrectionists game of course are paying the hard price of criminal records, loss of jobs, families, and freedom while the kingpin still enjoys his ketchup and chocolate cakes.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is doing a most excellent job of playing his role as the venerable yet irresponsible old nincompoop making the ubiquitous lies of his “double-speak” into a noise not much different from that of an old electric fan squeaking along and the band which is our congress, plays on too, although the music has become mostly obnoxious background noise that heaven help us never finds its way into elevators or sophisticated shopping malls.
I cry for my nation and the mis-guided zealotry of Trumps tribe. I cry for the liberal friends of my generation who, lacking zealotry have lost every once of their own revolutionary spirit, particularly beaten down by their own, newly found, anti-insurrectionist position.
I, like many, am tempted to throw my political aspirations all away when I see that there appears to be no way out of the trap that we have fallen into, where our neighbors have been presented to each of us as enemies from across the line, bringing manufactured civil un-rest fired-up for the sake of media profits and that even older, old trick of division of the masses.
I want to kick some sense into myself when I remember that giving-up is the thing that both of these parties would most like to see me or the collective “us” do.
I’m frustrated beyond patience when I see those members of my own generation, the revolutionary, love generation and younger, hungry for justice, liberals who follow in the footsteps of those great leaders we have been so privileged to have had before us (thinking of Dr. Martin Luther King among many others), arguing in support of such characters as those who make-up the Democratic Party and then they go marching to the polls in spasms of patriotic frenzy, just like the Republican voters, to vote against their own best interests. All for the sake of promises never kept. Here, egads!, we find that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Republicans, most unfortunately, often do keep their promises.
It’s hard to find a crowd of more than 3 or 4 these days who are actually willing to admit the trouble we are in with both of these parties, folks still preferring the safety of just getting along and choosing between the evils. Harder still to find anyone who will turn away from those things that have earned both parties that well-deserved reputation of being evil, whether it be the lesser or not.
I think I’ll take my politics now without either the Democratic sugar or the Republican salt. It’s time to move on to a healthier diet, something green, something better for us and the planet. If we can imagine something better, then we can create something better but we had better stop wasting time raising flags on those ships piloted by fools.
What should be crystal clear to those with electric impulses clicking away in the gray space of their minds is that both of our parties have sold out, they have failed us beyond redemption. It is time to re-organize under new leaders who can humble themselves enough to consider politics as a civil service rather than a means of accumulating personal wealth and power.
In fact, it seems to be a perfectly good time for challenging these crusty old parties with something new, fresh, up-to-date and leaning towards the future instead of clinging to the past with its emphasis on destroying the planet and serving a very limited class of elites and billionaires.
The younger citizens among us are as removed from their elders as the flower children were from theirs but whereas we of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s often found our greatest advisories in the form of our own parents and such as that, these younger ones coming up into power have the advantage of, in most every case, our older generations support.
But in some respects, as it was in the 60’s so it is now. The revolution is a young person’s right and responsibility. If you are in your 50’s or older, you would serve your nation well by graciously giving way to those who’s futures are quite literally at stake. If we from that aging 60’s era have done anything right, let us hope that we have raised up our children and our children’s, children in such a way as that they are ready for what lies ahead for them. Or to bring it to a finer point, our job, if we have a job, should be to engage ourselves in the rapid dismantling of these warn-out systems that have brought us to the brink of environmental collapse and nuclear war.
So, the elders of our generation do have reason to live and work to do. We can serve our nation by clearing away the debris, opening the path and helping to make room for what is to come. It is hard to understand and to fully grasp how the new, the flower, the butterfly or the next level of social consciousness will look until it has blossomed. We can not engage and live within its presence if it does not first emerge, like a butterfly from the chrysalis, until the old has been reduced to nothing but an empty shell.
There is no time left for lesser evils, warmongers or overly-greedy socio-paths and the systems they have built to maintain their grip on society. What we need is realized hopes and real change, the kind that is so revolutionary, so necessary to the time, that as it emerges and finds its place in our conscious thinking, it begins to look something like a miracle.