The Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm- How a President encouraged insurrection
The world had such high hopes for 2021- between a global pandemic and the atrocious treatment of people of colour by law enforcement, the year prior was nothing short of a surrealist nightmare, but 2021 was supposed to herald a new era, prioritising social justice and community… Donald Trump had different plans, though.
The petulant President, determined that the election was rigged in his opponent’s favour and therefore fraudulent, has vehemently denounced his successor and praised the efforts of his supporters, most notably entitled white supremacist groups with bigger chips on their shoulders than Trump himself. The riots which ensued on January 6th, 2021 perfectly encapsulate the dangers that demagogues like Trump pose to society. So, how did such violent events unfold in the first place?
One could argue that this storm has been brewing since Trump first announced he would run for President, however it’s important to scrutinise the events immediately preceding the riot (don’t worry, it’s still Trump’s fault). Organizations monitoring online extremism issued warnings in the days prior which were ignored, with the US Capitol Police refusing an offer by the Pentagon to provide additional support, namely the National Guard (the Chief of the USCP, Steven Sund, has since resigned due to mismanagement of the coup), and two USCP officers have been suspended for participating in the unrest.
The frenzy caused by Trump stems from his delusional belief in electoral fraud, a belief bolstered by the likes of Rudy Giuliani, who told protestors that a “trial by combat” would be the only way to win, further creating conditions for a perfect storm of far-right violence. Trump’s frequent, childish, lie-ridden Twitter outbursts, in addition to his refusal to condemn the likes of the Proud Boys, birthed an angry mob, which he then further whipped up into a furore and literally directed to the Capitol. In the midst of the violence, he posted a video in which he told protestors that he loved them, that they were “very special” and “great patriots”.
Those responsible for the violence have since attempted to equate the death of Ashli Babbitt, a violent insurrectionist shot by the USCP, to that of Breonna Taylor, a deplorable analogy at best. These people, spurred on by a man with no regard for the consequences of inciting a riot, proceeded to climb walls, break windows, and bludgeon an officer to death. At this point, the Senate were counting the Electoral College votes (which would end up being saved from the rioters by a handful of brave women), unaware of the insanity taking place right outside the chamber.
If it were not for the actions of Eugene Goodman, a Black USCP officer, that same mob would have breached the Senate Chamber, and there’s no telling how the story would have ended had they managed to get inside. Goodman purposely led them on a wild goose chase in the opposite direction, protecting those on lockdown inside and probably saving lives.
This leads us to yet another consequence of Trump’s ineptitude; several members of Congress contracted COVID-19 due to being forced to shelter in the Chamber with lawmakers opposed to wearing masks. Once again, everyone except Trump will have to deal with the aftermath of this travesty.
The long and the short of it is, the sooner Trump is impeached, removed and held fully accountable, the sooner America will find peace. There are those who will automatically consider that Trump’s time in office is drawing to a natural close anyway, so why push for impeachment at this stage of the game?
Well, consider the alternative- under the Former Presidents Act (1958), Trump would retain his entitlement to health insurance, Secret Service protection, travel expenses, office expenses AND a pension. His incitement of insurrection would not only go unpunished, but he would be entitled to benefits he most decidedly doesn’t deserve.
Mike Pence finds himself in a unique position however I doubt anyone is under any illusions as to whether he’ll make the right choice or the self-serving choice. We can only hope, against the odds, that this perfect storm of violence, hatred, entitlement and disrespect demonstrates just how dangerous Trump is if left unchecked and the risk the US faces by not ensuring he faces appropriate consequences.