The inauguration of the 46th US President in Washington DC takes place against the backdrop of 25,000 national guard troops protecting democracy as if America is post-Saddam Baghdad.
The most showcased democracy around the globe has been in a free fall for four years, culminating in the siege by insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol on January 6 in a failed attempt to overthrown the Congress and create the conditions for martial law.
As a raging pandemic killed thousands of Americans daily, the US was assailed by a President whose dictatorial ambition drove him to the worst imaginable instincts. President Donald Trump never hid the intention to reject the result of an election in which he would be the loser.
It was either Trump or nobody.
Donald Trump lost the election but tried to use the powers of his presidency to rig it.
It is the kind of stuff you see in Banana Republics and dictatorships, not in an established democracy like the United States’.
He tried to dump the constitutionally enshrined guarantee for a peaceful transfer of power.
The last thing one would expect in a country as sophisticated in the democratic tradition as America is that it would fall under the boots of a sit-tight leader, who would compromise national security by sending zealots to attack, and possibly capture or assassinate, those who stood in his way in another branch of government.
It is certain that America will continue to quake far into the Joe Biden Presidency, since polls suggest that 74 per cent of Republican Party faithful believe the election was rigged
While the world watched, US federal legislators were smuggled out of their offices to safety when thugs, energised by the most powerful man in the world, ransacked the Congress like bears in a neighborhood.
America did not get to the position of disgrace and embarrassment so quickly.
And after President Donald Trump, there will be shocks and aftershocks because the ideology behind the insurrection has matured and has infected millions of Americans – just like COVID-19.
It is certain that America will continue to quake far into the Joe Biden Presidency, since polls suggest that 74 per cent of Republican Party faithful believe the election was rigged.
The sermon that Donald Trump and his loyalists preached will not suddenly disappear.
It may have survived but America has not been healed.
The American interior is littered with ideologues and misled individuals who cannot, or refuse to, understand issues.
How do you explain a whopping 70 million people who continue to pay homage to Trump and his silly lies?
America is obese with falsehood created by the Church, far-right activists, conspiracy theorists and demagogues.
Weight, once gained, is difficult to shed.
Even if America returns to fine shape in the near future, the damage by a diminished Trump will forever be engraved.
America is a nation racially divided, although it is made up of people from diverse origins.
The predominant ethnicity is frightened by changing demographics and turning to age-old methods to keep power and influence.
While most white Americans embraced this change quite comfortably, a substantial number who seem to be losing out in the modern economy react with fear and trepidation. The last straw was a black president, Barack Obama.
The most showcased democracy around the globe has been in a free fall for four years, culminating in the siege by insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol on January 6 in a failed attempt to overthrown the Congress and create the conditions for martial law
Before President Obama could get to work, racist sentiments had begun to gain ground.
In a re-enactment of the slavery era, some rose up in arms to foreclose the prospects of a future black leader by making him a failure.
It’s on YouTube.
As they ganged up against Obama, Donald Trump was watching.
The Tea Party, conservative populist social and political movement that emerged in 2009, a year after Obama’s election, was gaining traction across America.
It convened mass gatherings called tea parties in a climate of economic hardship caused by a Republican administration.
The Tea Party was successful in the mid-term elections of 2000, winning about 60 seats in the US Congress, which started a wave of conservative attempts to stifle Obama administration policies.
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As this was happening, Trump strategized against Obama.
With help from white supremacists, Trump gave life to the birther movement, which spread misinformation about Obama’s citizenship in order to bring him down as an illegitimate president.
Trump peddled fantastic lies ranging from Obama’s birthplace to his religion, family, allegiance and preferences.
They would always insert “Hussein” into Obama’s name to underline a lie that Obama was a Muslim.
Trump soon got support from the Evangelical Christian movement, which added wind to his sails by supplying him with ammunition to paint Obama and the Democratic Party as unbelievers, whose purpose was to turn America to Sodom and Gomorrah. A lot of African Christians bought that lie.
In time, Trump began to eat up his Republican Party opponents, one by one, until he became the president.
The conspiracy theories never went away as white supremacists, fiscal conservatives, Evangelical Christians, poor whites and Tea Party Frankenstein stuck by the monster they created.
As president, Donald Trump continued to eat up his opponents, first in his party.
Republicans got the message, and began to fall in line. Any Republican who had a political ambition had to pay homage to the monster.
So, the GOP became the party of Trump.
Meanwhile, conspiracy theories gained ground, just as racism and Semitism became the order of the day.
QAnon, a far-right conspiracy group, spread theories about how a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and Deep State officials were planning to take out President Trump, who is fighting the cabal.
QAnon spread falsehoods that Bill Gates, George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were planning to stage a coup and that there would be a day of reckoning, the Storm, when all of this would come to an end and the world would become freed by Trump.
On January 6, after weeks of planning, Trump brought his followers to the nation’s capital to stage what could be described as a KKK rally without hoods.
Among his army were right-wing activists, conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, evangelical Christians and the economically left-behind, predominantly whites.
He used coded words to unlock and unleash them, saying “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we’re going to the Capitol… and we’re going to try [to] give our Republicans… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
The terrifying events since the November election is a display of what could happen if good people stay quiet in the face of impropriety by a deranged demagogue; but also, a testimony to the strength of the American democracy
Many have said Trump is delusional, unstable and dangerous and they are right.
But Trump did not do the damage without the help from millions of Americans.
The Klan rally was just a culmination of problems that America has condoned. Republicans have been inciting violence and racism for years and hailed Trump’s virulent attack on the opposition.
The terrifying events since the November election is a display of what could happen if good people stay quiet in the face of impropriety by a deranged demagogue; but also, a testimony to the strength of the American democracy.
Donald Trump has been a stress test and democracy withstood the pressure, although it remains to be seen how much damage was done and the extent of repairs that America will have to make.
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The repairs will undoubtedly require millions of Americans looking into their souls to understand how they the sense of decency.
The new President, Joe Biden, can help to shine the light faster and deeper into a lot of dark minds, so that repairs and healing can be full and complete.
In the week that America celebrates the annual Martin Luther King holiday, nothing is more appropriate than a reminder of his message that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Americans must take a stand against Donald Trump and his followers, because if the horrific events of the past six years were to be repeated, the next Trump might just succeed.