Just spent/wasted 40-odd minutes listening to two conspiracy theorists ranting about their defeat on the 6th. They blame everybody except the god-king Trump himself. They deny everything — there were no deaths, no violence, no attempted insurrection — all just another liberal media beat-up.
A cynical quote that’s popping up everywhere is James Baldwin’s grim assessment that “the white man’s world, intellectually, morally, and spiritually, has the meaningless ring of a hollow drum and the odor of slow death.” While I don’t necessarily disagree, I prefer a different Baldwin quote: “Oppression … does not imbue a people with wisdom or insight or sweet charity: it breeds in them instead a constant, blinding rage.“
It doesn’t matter that the pro-Trumpists who stormed the Capitol building were wrong, they honestly believe they were right. It doesn’t matter that they’re not actually oppressed, they honestly believe they’re oppressed. You can’t tell them that they lost, or that their coup failed, because they honestly believe they won. Even now, even as they are being hunted down like dogs, they believe the 6th marked a righteous victory. Praise be to Kek, or something.
Thomas L. Friedman recently identified four factions within the Republican party: principled conservatives like Mitt Romney who play by the rules; cynical conservatives like Mitch McConnell who bend the rules; unprincipled conservatives like Ted Cruz who break the rules; and finally “hard-core Trump cultists and QAnon conspiracy types, true believers in and purveyors of the Big Lie.“
Friedman wants Trump to keep his Twitter account, because standing back and watching the GOP explosively fracture would be fun. This seems far too passive for me. Because to create the world we deserve, not only will we have to work with the first type of conservative, we will have to manage the second, repress the third, and annihilate the last. Or as Shakespeare puts it:
O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever livèd in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy—
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue—
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men.
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds,
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
Julius Caesar, 3.1