Stunned and unsettled by the insurrection against the United States government January 6 by right-wing extremists, I have been wordless, unable to write and post a blog essay while I try to comprehend this horrendous, treasonous act of mob violence that has threatened the nation’s democratic foundations. I can only conclude that this mob was (and is) a cult of the country’s disaffected that were recruited, manipulated, rallied, and incited by a depraved charismatic leader, President Orange, who stoked its hatred and violence with an avalanche of misinformation, lies, self-serving deceit, and a con man’s fraudulence, dishonesty, and treachery.
Perhaps the most appalling thing about the duplicitous pandering to and incitement of this cult is the collusion of many elected and appointed federal and state officials who are willing to undermine the government of the United States to gain status, power, and wealth from the very people they have deceived. An astounding number of federal and state senators and representatives are more than willing to violate their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and have madly rushed to kowtow at the feet of President Orange and chant his populist, nihilistic mantras.
The greatest and most inflammatory of the thousands of lies to spew out of the mouth of President Orange was that the 2020 election was “rigged.” Of the 23 “election fraud” cases that were filed in state and federal courts by Orange and his cronies, every single one of them was dismissed as “without merit,” but this pathologically narcissistic president continued to rage, threatening election officials and elected representatives with retribution if they refused to violate the Constitution and illegally award him enough votes to win re-election. All praise to those officials, many of whom received death threats from the orange cult’s most mentally unbalanced followers, for standing up for the rule of law in this country, refusing to submit to the rants and threats of an unhinged autocrat.
The protesters, the peaceful ones, have some reason to cry “unfair”: no, the 2020 election was not “rigged,” but the economic system has become “rigged.” The orange cult, however, has no clue how to ur-rig it. Among the solutions are a national health care program, a $15 minimum wage, child care tax breaks or credits for working parents, maternity and paternity leave, free post-high school education, drug and alcohol abuse programs, and a dozen other benefits for those who have been marginalized in America’s economic system. Instead of foam-at-the-mouth rants about the “elite” stacking the deck, the American people should organize and demand that the “elites” fund these initiatives.
President Orange never even considered a single one of these programs; he is the most elite of the elites, and he intends to keep it that way. He gave a trillion-dollar tax break to the wealthiest people in the nation, himself included, that exacerbated economic inequality in this country. The rich got much richer, and the poor got poorer. It is a bizarre paradox that a so-called populist leader has no hint of a populist agenda. As autocratic rulers often do, he chose instead to use people’s legitimate frustrations to inflame hatreds: race, religion, nationality, immigration. And he has no actual belief in any of these twisted malevolencies; they were only his incitements of his base, his siren’s song that lured his sycophantic supporters to shipwreck so that he could plunder their misfortune.
That does not excuse the insurrectionists. They were fools to fall for his lies. They now live in an alternate reality that Orange created with misinformation and falsehoods. Social media companies bear much of the blame for perpetrating this fraud, but of course their motive was money, not the welfare of the nation, and they made a lot of money spreading the unvetted lies and hatred of the mob.
I am not sure America will recover from the political and social devastation of the Orange presidency. In truth, this worst-ever president was not the malignancy, the maladies of racial and religious and misogynistic animus that poison American society. He was only the orange pus suppurating from the diseased psyche of a subset of America’s most gullible, poorly informed, and misled people, infected by those cancers of racism, misogyny, white supremacy, white privilege, evangelistic dogma, and fear and hatred of any other vaguely defined “other” that seems to be a threat.
The moral compass of the nation has gone haywire. There is no true north. For many, there is no truth at all. Truth is whatever President Orange proclaims it to be, and he is a pathological liar.
Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope. Every elected and appointed government official now hastens to condemn (for many of them, years too late) the insurrectionist attack on Congress. That will not sway the orange cult’s most avid believers, but we can hope that Orange’s own betrayal of them may possibly open their eyes.
Because after his insurrection failed, Orange, that disreputable and amoral Judas, denounced his disciples and tossed them onto the garbage pile like the broken toys that they were. Of all that crazed mob of extremists, of all of those insurrectionists arrested and charged and now facing prison sentences, of all those who were part of that violent mob that stormed the Capitol and murdered a police officer, of all of those traitorous insurgents whose lives will be ruined by the criminal acts that President Orange incited them to commit, of all those who believed his thousands of lies and were seduced to become part of the mad populist cult, of all of them whom he rallied to his call to overthrow the government and whom he told “we love you” – President Orange did not pardon or commute the sentence of a single one of you. Although Orange pardoned and commuted the sentences of some 200 other people, mostly his lackies and cohorts in various frauds and other crimes.
But you insurrectionists? When you had done his bidding and his insurgency failed, he denied you and dropped you into the trash bin, as he has done with every other Orange loyalist who became inconvenient for him. How could you not see it coming?
But maybe you will now see him for what he is.