Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner January 21, 2021
Millions of words have been written about America’s brush with fascism this month. There is a national reckoning going on, cries of anguish and disbelief, and attempts to grasp the magnitude of what just happened. A sober undertaking, perhaps even a turning point.
Here are 650 words more, from a Canadian.
We watched, some of us too much, as events unfolded and the turpitude of certain leaders emerged. As did the heroism of a few.
Tattered and torn, the U.S. system, designed so that one branch of government (legislative, executive and judicial) can interrupt the madness and evil of another, staggered to an end, leaving a bloodied battlefield.
Arrests, trials and evidence will reveal to Americans the identity of the insurrectionists, and expose any insidious co-operation from within, whether from politicians or police.
American racism, stupidity, misogyny and hatred was seen in all its nakedness. Somebody called that siege of the Capitol a “slob coup.” Those white-men-galoots could be seen as tragically hilarious except for the bloodshed they caused and the foreboding they instilled. Who can ever forget the sight of the officer being crushed between doors?
But not only the confused men-babies, living in their mothers’ basements, the ruffians and the enraged, were there. The polished Yale and Stanford grads were there too: Sen. Josh Hawley, who was once a law clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts and ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani. They are much worse because they know better.
The world is disabused of any vestiges of awe about America. A newspaper in Kenya headlined: “Who is the banana republic now?” The Pope said “I am astonished. They have been the symbol of democracy and freedom around the world for two centuries.”
Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal said, “I have resisted Nazi comparisons for five years. But that is what is happening; the same kind of spirit Hitler had. At the end he intended to blow up Germany, since his people had let him down.”
Another American commentator, Michael Sean Winters, wrote, “We do not know, and God willing will never be forced to find out, the lengths to which Donald Trump would have gone to preserve his power.” Winters finds a closer comparison between Trump and Mussolini.
What is the antidote to such mass delusion? That is the question. Courts have ruled that the election was indeed free and fair. That has failed to convince the hard core of conspiracy people. “How now to reattach 60 million trumpers to reality?” asked former evangelical Frank Shaeffer.
Humour, dark as it was, helped us all through the days. A cartoon showed a cat on his hind legs, in a heavy sweater, peering over a wall of snow, southward. “What are they doing over there?” In salty Maritime language, even funnier. Another Twitter post said, “What is the good of a liberal arts degree? Oh, I don’t know. Not be brainwashed by a death cult or storm the Capitol?”
Another: “We spend $750 billion annually on defence, and the centre of government is taken over in two hours by a duck dynasty and a guy in a Chewbacca bikini.”
Almost as ironical was the fact that two California billionaires, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, finally stopped Trumpian power by flicking a switch.
Janette Platana, a Peterborough writer, posted a picture of the three louts in the Capitol rotunda and announced a contest. “All wrong answers, please. Name this rock band.” Peterborough wit was sparkling. Here’s some of what came in: “The Aryan Monkeys,” “The Ungrateful Living,” “Public Enema,” “KKKurt Vile,” and “FU2.”
The United States is a severely tarnished model now, and every friend of the country is sorrowing. Maybe it was inevitable, after four years of unrelenting demagoguery.
America will have to be reimagined. And we do well to see to our own delusions and incivilities.
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