If ever there were a modern day analog to Nero fiddling or Marie Antoinette simpering, it’s the clip of the Crime Family Trump partying as Congress is about to be overrun with a riotous mob of cosplay “patriots,” one of whom dies of an apparent heart attack after accidentally tazing himself (repeatedly) in the nads while trying to steal a painting, and a woman photographed holding a “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag who was trampled to death. For those who don’t believe in cosmic irony, let me hasten to add that both of these accounts are true.
Now, their insurrectionary ineptness notwithstanding, I’ve lived among the teahadists and Q-laid drinkers of MAGAville –generally willingly, always cautiously– for nearly 30 years now. I came here voluntarily from the glossy palace intrigues of coastal Southern California and fell fast in love with both the wild lands of the area and the kindly goodwill of my fellow outlanders. When you live in far-flung and unsupervised places, having to rely on your neighbors in times of natural disaster and personal peril is simply a given. Therefore, it behooves one to keep one’s nose clean and one’s reputation unsullied; the good people of this area will literally give you the shirt off their back, or plow your rutted driveway or capture and corral your errant livestock without even being asked, but if you cross them, gods help you, they’ll just as soon break every bone in your body and throw what’s left down a mineshaft. Then piss on it.
many a few other Americans, I woke up early Wednesday morning from a late night of watching the returns from the Georgia Senatorial runoff to witness the joint session of Congress formally count the votes that would usher the milky Uncle Joe into the People’s White House and oust from same, for good and for ever, the unfit incompetent and his odious larvae who’ve been infesting and overwintering there for the last four years.
I was expecting a shitshow of epic proportion; after all, one’s been planned, organized, and advertised all over the internet for the last six months, and anyone with even half a brain couldn’t help but notice Mr. Trump has had no choice but to bulldoze his way through the democratic process in order to remain in power– what with the myriad lawsuits, criminal charges, looming financial liabilities, and social banishments awaiting him as a private citizen, something big had to happen, and it’s not as if public scolds like Bill Maher haven’t been screaming “He’s not. Going. To leave!” at us for the last four years.
So when I saw fascist uberhunk Jim Lankford stop midsentence in his pointless opposition and start edging toward the door of the Senate floor, I wasn’t all that surprised. Disgusted, certainly, and maybe a bit grateful for a break in the tedium, but soon enough horrified as I watched the the Great Unmasked besmirching those sacred chambers with their cell phones afore and their selfie sticks aloft like so many ill-presented Disney tourists set loose on the Hall of Versailles. And all I could think was “Where the fuck is the National Guard?”
I think the answer to that is now pretty clear. They weren’t called– or rather, they were actively NOT called until it became apparent that maybe Mr. Trump’s allies were being threatened with dismemberment along with their radicaliberalsocialist colleagues. Indiscriminate mobs are like that; they don’t know their Angus Kings from their Chuck Grassleys, and ultimately couldn’t care less– nuance not being one of their strong suits.
And herein lies a lesson for any and all who would place their faith in the loyalty and extended goodwill of the politically incite-able: That same mob who crowed in adulation while their orange god-emperor boogied away in his party tent will inevitably, and likely quite soon, realize they’ve been bamboozled by a greedy, power-mad phony. A bigly fake. A lying cheat of the highest order. It’s not as if the man doesn’t have a multi-decades long history of this sort of thing available to anyone with a shard of literacy and a library card.
And when that mass realization hits, the ritual public flailing will begin; it won’t be pretty, and our country may not recover from its aftermath unto several generations. See also: The Reconstruction– which arguably still has not been successfully implemented nearly 160 years on. Never underestimate the righteous anger of a redneck who’s been humiliated by his own hubris– let alone the blowback from the machinations of a professional con artist under the guise of patriotism.
Citizen Trump’s latest betrayal of his minions may not leave him and his Not-First-Not-Lady, hanging by their heels from the big brass letters on the facade of Trump Tower, but they will, metaphorically at least, break every last bone in his body and throw what’s left down the mineshaft of history to molder with the remains of other kayfabe C-listers like Vince McMahon and Sarah Palin.
So beware all those who would rise to the zenith on inauthentic tides; we Americans love to elevate our plastic heroes almost as much as we love gawking and jeering at their epic– dare I say it, Shakespearian — downfall. Or as Allen Toussaint so aptly put it:
From the beginning, it hasn’t changed yet.
People fly high, begin to lose sight.
You can’t see very clearly when you’re in flight.
It’s high time that you found. . .
The same people you misuse on your way up
You might meet up with. . .
On your way back down.
*Kayfabe|ˈkāˌfāb|noun (in professional wrestling) Presenting staged/scripted performances and storylines as genuine or authentic.