Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
For those of us who shared the shame of what was described as “the crime of the century”, President Donald Trump reminded us of Jim Jones, on the eve of the “Jonestown Massacre” – the ghastly 1978 mass murder-suicide in Guyana.
The evidence captured “live” on television on Friday, January 6, is compelling like a giant freight-truck in our face that the charge given by Trump to his far-right zealots to march on Capitol Hill was like a lethal cool-aid cocktail.
The attackers, described by President-elect Biden and many other American leaders as “thugs” and “mob”, invaded and occupied the Capitol. It was momentarily a palace coup.
As Vice-President Pence was being whisked away to “a secured location”, House Speaker Pelosi and other terrified Members of Congress and their staff were seen frantically diving for cover.
That was a crude re-enactment of the dreadful 9/11 horrors, and the movie, “White House Down”; except, in this case the President was not among the victims or hostages.
The rag-tag militias were invariably hailed as “patriots”. They were incited to “pressure” Congress members, “kick some asses” and to engage in “trial by combat” in the Capitol where the elected leaders of the American people were meeting at the time to confirm the election of the incoming President, Joseph Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The results were five dead; and the psyche of the proud American people as “the greatest nation on earth” damaged beyond repair. Capitol Hill was desecrated; the office of the Speaker vandalized.
As I write, the discussions among American jurists and political commentators are about categorization of and consequences for what happened at Capitol Hill on Friday, January 6, 2021. Was it an attempted coup, an insurrection, or an act of domestic terrorism? Should Trump be impeached, again, this time for seditious incitement?
But for me, it is all about the tragedy of representative democracy. I watched a distressed reporter, Martha Raddatz, haplessly pointing at the Capitol, as she said sadly, “what I am concerned about right now is this building – the symbol of our democracy”.
In his latest book “A Promised Land”, Barack Obama reflected on his budding interest in public office, noting that while he could not defend his country’s “blundering exercise of military power, the rapaciousness of multinationals”, he clung with stubbornness to “the idea of America, the promise of America”.
Whatever our ideology, that “idea”, that “promise” of freedom with equality inspired us all.
This is why we cannot back off from commenting on American politics, as some persons from a known ethno-political entity want us to do.
Those treacherous elements are scared that with a change of government in the United States the veil of conspiracy would be removed, laying bare not only electoral manipulations in Guyana but the shared agenda with their anti-black, racist and extremist sponsors in the United States.
During the Cold War I was fed on a propaganda diet that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. I have seen how when it coughed fire, this mighty imperial power wreaked havoc and sowed death around the world, from heroic Vietnam to tiny Grenada.
But the fate of mankind would be infinitely more tragic if America were to fall under neo-fascist mob rule. It would be like Attila the Hun, this time on Capitol Hill, threatening, “where my horse trods, grass shall not grow again”.
It would primarily be the beautiful grass of colour, inside America, then everywhere else in the world. It would be you and me, and all others who have already been reduced, according to Caribbean philosopher Frantz Fanon, into being the “wretched of the earth” by colonization, enslavement, segregation, exploitation and oppression.
No one should ignore the siege of the American Capitol. It has made history such as that chronicled by American journalist John Reed in his book, “Ten Days that shook the World”, on the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
While Donald Trump remains in the White House, the next ten days would be like a game of nerve for the American people, and will be full of anxieties and fear.
No one wants him, even to joke, like Reagan did in 1984, that he has outlawed Russia, China or
Iran. “And we begin bombing in five minutes”!
January 10, 2021