Thoughts on Coups and Sedition, 1/8/21
I have some additional thoughts on some of the events of the last few days, and to help me present them to you in an intelligible fashion, I’m going to employ the help of my fictional interlocutor. Say hello to the folks, F.I.
Hello, folks. And thank you, Scalzi, for letting me out of my box for the first time in months.
It’s very cramped in there.
Let’s change the subject.
Fine. First question: Was what happened on Wednesday an actual coup attempt?
What makes you think that it wasn’t?
I don’t know, I guess maybe I thought a real coup wouldn’t include a guy who looked like a Jamiroquai cosplayer at a Nazi bar karaoke night.
Just because it was a stupid coup attempt doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real coup attempt. Trump plumped for the thing to happen in his nodding and winking way on Twitter, and he incited it and encouraged it in person. The attendees came expecting to take part in one, and had planned their strategy, such as it was, on Parler and other not-exactly-savory portions of the internet. They brought weapons and zip ties. They went looking for congresspeople. They weren’t just there to hang out on the mall, wave their Trump flags, get a churro and go home. They meant business. Fortunately like all Trump business, it went belly up in record time. But that’s neither here nor there for the intent.
What do you make of the light police response?
I don’t really know what to think of it, to be honest. The most charitable take on it is that the Capitol Hill police genuinely thought these Trump dimsurrectionists were harmless, in which case this was a massive failure of intelligence and intelligence-gathering, since, again, it’s not like these folks were subtle about their plans. As people noted, these motherfuckers had merchandise made up for the event; there were people wandering about with “CIVIL WAR: JAN 6 2021” hoodies. The least charitable take is that the Capitol Hill Police, or some portion of it, at least, was in on it; I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the videos of the Capitol Hill policemen waving the coupers into the building and taking selfies with them as they trashed the place. There was also the matter of the DC National Guard not being activated as soon as the Capitol was breached; it was almost as if someone wanted the thing to succeed, or at least to let the couprists have as much time as possible to disrupt the electoral vote counting.
We will eventually discover the entire scope of the failure, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between, or maybe more accurately, a combination of, the two: The Capitol Hill Police didn’t understand the intent of the mob and/or was less concerned about them, because policing in the United States is racist as fuck and white people can wander around armed to invade a small country and the police won’t do shit about it; we also know Trump wasn’t exactly in a rush to send in the National Guard once the shit started going down. Incompetence and malice! Why not both!
What I do know is that Trump got exactly what he wanted out of the event. He just didn’t get all of what he wanted out of it. He absolutely pointed the mob at the Capitol. He absolutely intended to disrupt the electoral vote count. It’s my considered opinion he wouldn’t have been in the least bit upset if hostages had been taken and as such the vote count had been indefinitely postponed. In his mind, if the vote wasn’t counted, he’d still get to be President. That’s not actually how it works — his term is over on January 20 come hell or high water — but then Trump never understood any of that.
That all seems… a little dark.
I’m just getting started! If you want to go alllll the way into the woods, you can believe that the attack on Capitol and the various other right-wing protests and disruptions at state houses and other political targets were a coordinated effort to cause panic and chaos of the sort that would allow Trump to declare a military state of emergency, which he would then, of course, never undeclare. And then — wheee! — that’s the end of democracy in the US, hope you liked it, now your dictator for life is literally the stupidest and most venal man to hold the office of President.
Was this actually the plan? Maybe not on Trump’s part — I don’t think he has a plan other than “oh God oh God stop the Biden electoral vote I don’t want to go to jail” — but I’m pretty sure it was the MAGAts’ plan. The good news is that they don’t appear to have coordinated it particularly well nor did they appear to have a plan beyond trying to find parking as close to their protests as possible. Let me reiterate, this was a very shitty coup! For which we can all be thankful.
Do you think Trump will be impeached and/or sidelined via the 25th Amendment?
Maybe! But, you know, don’t get your hopes up. I think a second impeachment in the House is the most likely prospect — rumor says early next week — but whether the Senate will take it up in time, much less vote for removal is another issue entirely. Likewise, Pence has said he’s not interested in going the 25th route, so that’s unlikely. Unless, of course, Trump does something stupid, again, today or at any point over the weekend. Twitter did let him have his account back; it’s not outside the realm of possibility. But again: Don’t get your hopes up.
Which is too bad! I think at this point the GOP would be doing itself a solid removing Trump from office via the impeachment process, if only because then he is absolutely barred from holding office again. A bunch of senators want to run for president in 2024, after all — this would be a lovely way to keep him from coming back to haunt the party.
You really think Trump is going to run again in 2024? After this week?
Actually I think the reason he’s not going to run again in 2024 is because at this point there’s a better than even chance that he’s going to be in jail. But why take that chance, GOP senators? Punt his ass!
Speaking of Republican senators, I can’t help notice your picture of Josh Hawley up at the top of the entry.
Oh, that motherfucker. Yes. Him.
Would you care to share your thoughts on him?
Why yes I would! First, he’s a seditious piece of shit who thankfully chose exactly the worst possible time to yoke himself to the Trump wagon — I mean, seriously, it takes some doing to have tied yourself to the man just as he’s going over a fucking cliff, but Hawley managed it. Second, that little fist pump he gave to the mob before they went and trashed his workplace is perhaps the most spectacularly ill-timed bit of portraiture in the history of the Senate. Third, the fact that even after the House invasion Hawley still deciding that disrupting the electoral vote count was a good idea shows that his sense of political timing is epochally poor. He’s certainly paying for it, though — he lost his book contract, the major newspapers in his state have called on him to resign, and his political mentor calls him the “worst mistake” of his life. Life comes at you fast, doesn’t it, Senator Hawley.
He’s not alone in the sedition caucus — he’s joined by Ted Cruz, a fetid assemblage of moist dryer lint that dares to assert it’s a man, as well as a few other Republican senators, and more than a hundred Republican House members, including, regrettably, my own. They all should be ashamed of their votes on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, although of course they won’t be. What is shame to the shameless? It would be nice to think Hawley and Cruz, at the very least, might be bounced from the Senate for their role in abetting sedition, but, like Trump being removed before the end of his term, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
But make no mistake: Hawley’s a piece of shit and an embarrassment to his state and our nation, as is Cruz and every other politician who participated in the farce that impeded a smooth and non-controversial reading of the electoral votes. They knew it was a farce and they did it anyway, and in doing so, by intention or otherwise gave Trump the excuse he needed to assemble his sad coup d’ego.
Maybe they’ll learn.
Lol, okay, there.
Any final thoughts?
Just that I literally never want to hear another white dude whine to me that they don’t, in fact, live on the lowest difficulty setting of American life. Motherfuckers, armed white dudes perpetrated a goddamn coup attempt at the Capitol — the seat of our national legislature — and at least some of them appear to have been invited in by the police to do so. They wandered around the place with their guns and zip-ties, took maskless selfies as they trashed the place, looted offices and climbed all over the Senate chamber like it was a playground… and then walked away, almost entirely unharmed. Any time some defensive white dude querulously mopes to me about how his life isn’t on the lowest difficulty setting, I’m going to send him that picture of Naziroquai posing at the dias of the Senate chamber, and then I’m going to tell him to shut the fuck up. Captain Furhead there walked in during the middle of an armed insurrection against the national government, struck his pose, and walked out. He is still alive and as of this writing, not even close to being arrested. That’s the lowest difficulty setting in action, friends.
(Let us acknowledge here that one person was in fact shot dead by the police during the insurrection, and others died during it or as a result of it, including one cop. Let’s also acknowledge that on the day of an actual armed insurrection against the Capitol, mostly perpetrated by white folks, a grand total of thirteen people were arrested. Compare and contrast that with, oh, any of the protests this summer. What was the difference there? Hmmm.)
Anyway, that’s where I am on all of that right now.
So we’re done?
Does this mean I have to go back into my box?