The ‘Noble Lost Cause’ Returns
Best get ready for it, folks. The basic lies that support it are already here, and more and even stranger ones will soon be coming. Upwards of 80% of Republicans have bought into “Stop the Steal” and the rest of the package of Trumpian hooey. White racism is at its core, but there’s more to it than that. America is deeply divided, and that’s just the way most Republicans want it to be. Some of them expressed shock at the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol ordered and supported by Donald Trump and his wannabe “secessionists.”
But it was no more than a few days afterward that they began to back off and return to their “politics as usual.” As is often the case, the ever-shifty Mitch McConnell set the tone after his wife conveniently resigned from her long-held administration job. Following a theatrical “break” with his master, he addressed his Senate colleagues in a statesman-like manner for a couple of paragraphs before blaming Hilary Clinton and the Democrats for the latest “unpleasantries” thus turning on a dime from statesman to “he hit me first” five-year-old.
As expressions of righteous shock, anger, and patriotism quickly faded into the same old apologies and excuses with a few new twists, we were treated to a spectacle that would have been amusing if it were not so pathetic. The Grand Old Party’s extremist rats were scurrying every which way. Reaching deep into their lawyerly bags of tricks to “explain” that, as “ugly and lamentable” as the events of January 6 were, they were somehow not aimed at overthrowing the United States government…even though that’s what the thuggish demonstrators said they were doing. Either that or it was not ordered and directed by Trump and his gang. That the fiery speech which sent the mob off to attack the Capitol was not an order to overthrow the government, but merely an “encouraging” pep talk. “Encouragement” to what? How about inciting violence? No, twarn’t that. Perhaps sedition? How about a coup?
A coup? So, what do I know about coups? Plenty, that’s what! U.S. Army Security Agency, 1967-71, Thai and Laotian translator/interpreter at a signal intelligence spy base called Ramasun Station in Thailand. Even wrote a few books about dear old Ramasun, and the Secret War in Laos…and coups. Five of ‘em while I was there. Three unsuccessful ones in Laos and one successful each in Thailand and Cambodia. Covered ‘em all. But that’s not the end of the story. Since I married a Thai woman, I’ve been back to Thailand many times since I left it as a young GI, including one time when a coup broke out while we were there, and another when a mob bankrolled by the current dictator took over the Bangkok airport and left us stranded in Los Angeles.
I could list the similarities between Thai coups and the Trump coup of January 6, but I won’t bore you with those. And I’m not going to call it an “attempted coup” until I am sure it’s over. Suffice it to say that if it walks like a coup, and talks like a coup, it’s a coup. And if it was a coup or coup attempt at Ramasun Station it rated a “Critic.” A maximum priority report to National Security Agency HQ Ft. Meade, MD to be dispatched within 15 minutes of our reception of traffic with details to follow. Definition of “Critic”: “The overthrow or attempted overthrow of a government. The assassination or attempted assassination of a Chief of State.” We called it “the one that wakes the president up” at Ramasun. But that might not apply in this case as it was the president who is behind the coup. Never thought such a thing would happen in the United States of America. Never thought I would one day be looking at my own country from the outside like it is a tinpot banana republic.
And now our legitimately elected President Joe Biden has arrived at the same spot as President Abraham Lincoln reached at the beginning of his second term when, facing a nation deeply divided, he called on America to summon up its “better angels.” Some came then, but not enough, and those who did come were effectively checkmated by the same rebel devils who started the war. Thanks to opinion polling we have no reason to expect our divisions to be healed this time. Our second impeachment vote in the House of Representatives yielded just ten Republican “ayes.” A Senate vote, if it is ever taken, is unlikely to do better.
Are there even as many as a dozen “better angels” on the Republican side of the aisle in Congress? America needs a new round of Reconstruction, but this one must be harder nosed and longer sustained than the old one. The worst enemies of American Democracy must be locked up this time, not ignored, or pardoned. Locked up no matter who they are. Justice Department investigators and prosecutors must be turned loose on the Proud Boys, and the QAnons, and all the whacked-out scum that Trump, and the Republicans, have coddled and protected…and “encouraged.” President Grant turned his top prosecutors loose on the Klan, and the Knights of the White Camelia, and all the many “Militias” and “Rifle Clubs” of the defeated South. Alas, Grant’s largely successful campaign ended when he left office, which means that the Democrats must stay in office until the job of rooting out domestic terrorists is done. A one-party system is not good for American Democracy, but until there is a second party that supports democracy and the rule of law it will be the best we can do. We must do everything we can to quash the “Stop the Steal” myth and all its supporting baggage of lies and delusions before it becomes forever entrenched.