In an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, supporters of Donald Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday. They walked through unimpeded, waving confederate flags and breaking windows. A woman was shot and killed. Trump put out a half-assed call for peace, then later expressed outright support for the domestic terrorists.
The country watched on live TV as the complicity of the police in the country’s ills was laid bare. After months of protests in which the police instigated violence against Black Lives Matter advocates, a large group of white fascists escaped with barely any arrests, and not a hint of brutality.
We also learned that the United States, which spends exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars on national defense rather than directly helping people, has no ability to protect its most cherished government buildings. At the very least, they conspicuously fall short when it’s disgruntled white crazies pursuing terrorism rather than Black people pursuing rights.
Wednesday’s events will not change the outcome of the presidential election. Joe Biden won and will be inaugurated on January 20. But this country just witnessed the clearest, most direct threat on its democracy since the Civil War, and there is no end in sight. A large group of people in this country have been hoodwinked so far beyond reality that we’ve reached the point of no return. Trump’s coalition of people is here to stay, and they are obviously militant. The Republican Party will enable any threats to democracy as long as they keep getting elected.
We have to accept that this is who we are as a country. Many of the responses to the chaos from moderate politicians, most notably Biden, were based on sentiments of “America is better than this” and “we can rebound.” Uh, no, we are not, and we cannot. We are not better than this. We will get nowhere until we accept that.
This country’s history is filled with what we saw on Wednesday: disregard for the truth, support for demagogues, violent white supremacist militancy, and opposition to change that helps anyone but the privileged majority.
That’s a cynical approach to American history, I will admit. I don’t deny the progress and change that has occurred, and there is certainly opportunity for more, but we’re in a tough spot right now. I fear that the Trump era of QAnon and racism and violent coup attempts is only the beginning.
The Republican Party is the vehicle through which these pursuits and sentiments thrive. It’s the party where rich people have convinced the vulnerable masses that cutting the wealthy’s taxes somehow helps poor people. They weaponize the fear of minorities to get elected, capitalizing on outdated electoral systems that make them a minority ruling party. It’s been a complete scam for years, and now the far-right movement has reached its pinnacle: an actual coup led by white supremacists.
There’s no excuse for the Republican Party’s existence anymore. It’s been a scourge of prosperity, humanity, and empathy for a long time, and now it is subverting democracy in the service of a hilariously incompetent leader. Elected Republican officials have spent the last four years enabling the Trump administration. GOP lawmakers who are protesting the election results have blood on their hands for this terrorist attack on the Capitol.
No longer can these Republicans serve. In a just world, the party would be eliminated for its opposition to the constitution. The GOP should no longer be considered a major party, and the lawmakers that refuse to accept the election results should be forced to step down. This is merely conjecture, as it is nearly impossible to execute in real life. But it’s the Republicans who are responsible for the continued growth of wild conspiracy theories, rampant racism, and unbridled fascism. They do not have a right to compete with the Democratic Party for political positions.
At no point will the United States be able to move on from what happened to the Capitol on Wednesday until the Republican Party doesn’t exist. Only then can the section of the population that has completely fallen off the deep end be overcome.
The far-right, post-fact people can’t be redeemed. Barring significant, likely unrealistic levels of change, the United States can’t be, either.