I Think of All Those Republicans …

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I Think of All Those Republicans ...

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    ... who complained about everything wrong with government, and make-believe tyranny, and the prospect of lawless Democrats destroying democracy, and it feels like I should be laughing derisively: Pennsylvania Republicans are so upset they are staging a bizarre coup against their own state Senate president, a fellow Republican, in order refuse to seat a duly elected Democrat. Abraham Gutman↱ of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes:

    I don't have the most experience in watching the Pennsylvania state senate but I can't say that I've *ever* seen something like what just happened. To be clear: the 45th district seat is *empty* as they are reading roll call now despite a certified election winner in the chamber.

    The Republican Party today is a mix of elements, including the litany of conservative warning projected on their opponents, and also what they resented about how the opposition described them. Supremacist, authoritarian, lawless: Who, ever, would have expected? Kind of like how Democrats and supporters are variously eyeing questions about a U.S. Senate election in Kentucky↗ that, if the problem is real, pretty much precisely describes what Republicans warned and accused about tampering with voting machines. It's one thing if we would rather not rush to wag and accuse on cue, and will be another to shake our heads sadly and consider the future if it turns out this really is how it's been going the whole time. It's the old punch line, all over again: Republicans tell us what is wrong with government, and then they get elected and prove it.

    But this has been going on long enough it isn't an accident. Or, to make it complicated, American conservatives have run out of excuses, and if their justification is that, for decades, they didn't know because they were not able to put such basic and obvious pieces together, then they invoke a crisis of disqualifying themselves for incompetence to the point of noncompetency.

    For instance, an anecdotal example: About ten years ago↗, I tried addressing a popular complaint of liberal elitism, asking if it ever occured to people that it's not always simple, evil contempt. I asked if it it ever occured to anyone that there might be a reason. And I gave a few examples from recent Republican politics. It's one thing if someone wanted to argue that the examples I offered weren't true; it would be another if someone wanted to suggest the examples were overstated, but a conservative response↗ that came back ran, "This thread is a perfect example of liberal arrogance", denounced a straw man, and then asked two crackpot rhetorical questions.

    And, sure, this is just one example from ten years ago, but it's also the Republican Party conservatives struggled to raise into the Trump White House. Trying to simply conceive of the list of conservative principles, such as they ever were, the Trump presidency has thrown out, is itself a discouraging, headaching prospect. And when we consider decades of subtext in complaints against political correctness, most recently promoting the idea of an "intellectual dark web", and then complaining against "cancel culture", the whole time lamenting the indecency of suggesting someone is behaving poorly—i.e., that "liberal arrogance" my conservative neighbor denounced—there seems a straightforward coin toss: Were certain assessments of other people's malice correct, or were those others really so stupid as excuse requires? If I go fish, I can actually find the occasion my neighbor tried blaming Barack Obama for being so radical as to force nonracist conservatives to say and do racist things. These years later, the most consistent aspect of American conservate politic has been the supremacism.°

    Not irrelevant is something I refer to as blaming the penguin, after a 2018 Tom Tomorrow↱ cartoon, and the weak-tea justification chatter persisted enough that a few months later, Matt Bors↱ captured the American white supremacist justification succinctly: "I just hate to do this," laments the American Nazi as he gets his swatstika tattoo. "I feel bullied, really."

    (Intermezzo, or, A Joke: Remind the Nazi that Rube Goldberg was a Jew.)​

    Moreover, it's not just white supremacism; one cannot possibly recall and enumerate every formulation of how feminism causes misogyny, but, similarly, inasmuch as we were ever supposed to believe that one isn't a misogynist and it's all a misunderstanding, the misunderstood not-supremacists ought to have figured out, over the course of years, something about how that misunderstanding occurs, and the reason they haven't is that it is not really a misunderstanding and never was.°°

    Still, I think of all those Republicans who complained about everything wrong with government, and make-believe tyranny, and the prospect of lawless Democrats destroying democracy, and it feels like I should be laughing derisively because they deserve the scorn and contempt and shame they have so feared throughout. Given how many opportunities, they simply could not bring anything else to bear.

    Or, y'know, we don't want to be too narrow, so it is worth taking a moment to consider the breathtaking scope of corruption Republicans and conservatives have brought to bear. It wasn't just supremacism; it was also corruption. That, too, is an extraordinary litany with exponential valences of irony that quickly becomes unbelievable save for the point that truth is stranger than fiction.

    But, still, I think of all those Republicans, and calling them hypocritical is a wasted word. And it's true, calling them liars seems unfair. But that is its own problematic point, as we again run up against the circularity, or even circularized insularity, of the conservative fallacy. Even for one accustomed to the expectation of cutting breaks, throwing bones, and finding all manner of excuse for why something isn't what it looks like, the straightforward refusal of democracy shown today by Pennsylvania State Senate Republicans really ought to be more surprising.

    As my conservative neighbor whined that one purports "to discuss liberal contempt for conservatism, then simply concludes 'of course we have contempt for them, they're a bunch of fuckin' idiots'", but that hyperbolic inflation simply aimed to avoid the issue: Did it ever occur to anyone that there might be a reason, because after a while, hearing these sorts of arguments on a regular basis, some might start to think conservatives are actually serious about this sort of stuff.

    It's ten years later; conservatives haven't let up—I believe them.

    And I think of all those Republicans over the years, and, really, it turns out they really were that awful. How dare we even wonder at such bigotry and corruption? How dare they fail to bring anything else?

    And if they really, really want us to believe they really are that awful, okay, they have earned our respect on that particular point. No, really; they spent at least a generation on this. Remember the 2010 Tea Party election? Check who was coming of age among conservatives: The youth who grew up post Roemer v. Evans, hearing their parents seethe about corruption and judicial activism and political correctness, and how government doesn't work and everything it does is illegitimate. That's thirty years, now, since the Gay Fray really got underway. And ask women, and people of color, about the time before, during, and since.

    And now, here we are: This is all they have to work with. Republicans are willing to call off democracy. And why? Well, look at what, compared to the principles asserted over the course of decades, actually endures. This is who they are. This is who they always were.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ° Acknowledging the international reality of the Sciforums experience, it's worth observing this supremacist rhetoric is not uniquely American; in looking for my own post circa 2010, I encountered a 2007 inquiry↗ wondering, "Why are whites so docile regarding this invasion" of Australia, and if I go fish, I can find my American neighbor, ten years ago, using invasion rhetoric that eventually turned up in President Trump's twitfeed, and, shortly after, a terrorist mass-murder manifesto.

    °° And if it really does turn out the misunderstanding is that evil liberals and feminists and people of color misunderstand that it's not supremacism but just how nature goes, noncompetncy becomes the only real excuse.​

    @abgutman. "I don't have the most experience in watching the Pennsylvania state senate but I can't say that I've *ever* seen something like what just happened. To be clear: the 45th district seat is *empty* as they are reading roll call now despite a certified election winner in the chamber." Twitter. 5 January 2021. Twitter.com. 5 January 2021. https://bit.ly/392AMdT

    Bors, Matt. "Fault Right". The Nib. 7 August 2018. TheNib.com. 5 January 2021. http://bit.ly/2L2vXcs

    Tomorrow, Tom. "Penguin thinks we're Nazis". This Modern World. 28 May 2018. DailyKos.com. 5 January 2021. http://bit.ly/2zojjht
     
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Jan. 6 takeover of the Capitol by Trump supporters is the ultimate shame of Trump and his minions.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Same As It Ever Was

    Notes on rightist, "Tea Party" rhetoric, 2010↗:

    No, not all conservatives think this way, else there would already be blood in the streets; the revolution would already be underway. But, fundamentally, conservatives want a return to the very conditions that got us into the mess the United States now finds us in. And they've been muttering their way toward violence ....

    .... It's an ugly mood, and it never would have been accepted out of the left with such a pretense of legitimacy .... If you look around this site, even, you'll find people extolling right-wing encouragement of revolt as patriotic and noble and the like. There are plenty of conservatives who aren't frothing for revolution, but among them are plenty who will make excuses for those who are. Quite clearly, the ballot box means nothing to them.

    Conservatives were much more direct, five years later↗, while panicking about gay people:

    The infamous Dr. James Dobson is telling his flock to prepare for Civil War; U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is talking up insurrection on the campaign trail. Pat Robertson is dispensing anal-bestial rape fantasies, telling his followers the government will force them to like it. Half of self-identifying Tea Party members and a third of Republicans generally, according to recent polling, believe Jade Helm 15 really is an invasion of Texas.

    They're doing it to themselves; they're setting themselves up for a revolt ....

    .... They're not really warning of a revolt; rather, they are threatening to revolt ....

    .... And it is a classic ego defense; in their minds, they are preserving the nation, preserving that precious equality by which their faction holds extraordinary supremacy under law and custom―if they cannot be superior, then their equality is violated. It is a classic trap of conservative thinking. They will revolt, but only because the government forced them to by violating their supremacy under law. They will revolt against the horror of equality under law.


    (Boldface accent added)

    2016↗, looking back at Jade Helm '15:

    A Trump presidency will harm a lot of people at home and abroad regardless of whether he ever scores a policy victory in Congress. And every time the courts sit him down, his anti-American, savage base will only get angrier, because the one thing that pisses off conservatives more than anything else is the U.S. Constitution. They're still not over Romer v. Evans, and have spent the last twenty-some years deliberately enacting unconstitutional laws that get thrown out in court, and the idiot bloc they're relying on just hates the fact that you can't arbitrarily opt out of the Constitution.

    With Trump's base and the bully pulpit afforded the presidency, the United States of America could become a killing field. In many ways it already is; I might say ask the transgender, but nobody really cares, right? Or I might say ask women, but nobody really cares, right? Blacks, Hipanics; it doesn't matter, nobody really cares except the people trapped in the middle of it all, and our American tradition says those people don't count.

    And that's what this is about; we're in the process of shedding a number of our supremacist traditions, and the supremacists are furious, armed, and itching for violence. We saw it as the tinfoil bloc prepared to have a revolt forced on them by the evil government because President Obama was going to "invade Texas" on behalf of Walmart and McDonald's. But they've been talking like this for years; they want open bloodshed, but they're patriotic Americans so they have to invent a reason to claim evil liberals forced them to.


    (Boldface accent added)

    And a 2017↗ reflection on the right wing during the Obama years:

    There are plenty among American conservatives who have spent years seeking—virtually begging—an excuse to arm up. It's like a new Wild West fantasy, with life so dangerous that the wannabe virtuous have no choice but to strap on. I mean, we're talking about American conservatives .... They just spent eight years trying to invent a pretense of being forced to revolt.

    (Boldface accent added)

    Yesterday, ITV↱ received this explanation, from one of the participants, for violence at the U.S. Capitol:

    We respect the law. We were good people. The government did this to us. We were normal, good, law-abiding citizens, and you guys did this to us! We want our country back! We are protesting for our freedom, right now! That's the difference!

    Okay, one more, considering apologism for Trump, September, 2016↱:

    The thing about our history of nativism and nationalism is that it's all reactionary; the harder part is figuring out just what people are reacting to and just how in order to create whatever effect the society witnesses.

    To this day I recall early 2009, and a fiftysomething white woman in New Hampshire quite literally bawling on camera, "I want my co-oun-oun-ountry ba-a-a-ack!" Jon Stewart took the setup and knocked her down: What country? Back from whom?

    And I think it's interesting because part of what would have destabilized the two-party system is the fact of the first black president combined with a quarter-century Republicans spent pitching harder lines appealing to supremacists.

    As Frank Rich↱ noted in 2010:

    The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House―topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman―would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It's not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver―none of them major Democratic players in the health care push―received a major share of last weekend's abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.​

    And this time later, here they are, wanting their country back, complaining that they were forced to, and who are they taking it back from? Sounds about the same as it ever was.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ITV News. "Inside the US Capitol as Trump supporters storm building". 6 January 2021. YouTube.com. 7 January 2021. https://youtu.be/UBp42536IhE

    Rich, Frank. "The Rage Is Not About Health Care". The New York Times. 27 March 2010. NYTimes.com. 7 January 2021. http://nyti.ms/1HH6NRf
     
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Andrew McCormick↱, for The Nation:

    Then it was 5 PM and the explosions began in earnest, not one but many and in rapid succession. Tear gas was everywhere. Bottlenecked by the narrow stairways, protesters were stuck descending from the balcony in single file, coughing and rubbing their eyes. A man in a grey North Face jacket collapsed at the bottom of the steps and puked.

    Thirty minutes to curfew, riot police moved to push the crowd back. There were altercations—protesters shoved and hit police, their faces all sweaty rage—but most, it seemed, didn't want to be gassed again. As they fell back, people took parting shots: "Pigs!" "Is this what we get for backing the Blue?!" "You just lost the only people in this country who stand behind you!" "You serve Satan!"

    It was growing dark. Park lights along the Mall had switched on, illuminating the monuments. On the ground, in the hands of so many retreating protesters, American flags beat in the wind. Atop the Capitol building, now aglow under low-hanging clouds, the same flag flew.

    "This is not America," a woman said to a small group, her voice shaking. She was crying, hysterical. "They're shooting at us. They're supposed to shoot BLM, but they're shooting the patriots."

    A man, possibly her husband, comforted her: "Don't worry, honey. We showed them today. We showed them what we're all about."


    (Boldface accent added)

    They want their country back. From the nasty people who think Black Lives Matter. It's true, though, they showed everyone what they're all about.

    And then there is this, from an hour or so before:

    It was 4 PM, and the ground by this point was muddy and covered in detritus: used water bottles, abandoned gloves, a can of bear spray, and a shredded book with the Capitol dome on its cover, enigmatically titled The Great Controversy. A long-haired protester stood at the base of the Capitol steps and urinated right onto the marble. Amid all of this, protesters smiled and greeted each other as friends: "So, where're y'all from?" "Oh, we're from Nebraska, howboutcherselves?"

    I just can't get over that paragraph. Sure, it's surreal and would look great in a streamer dramatization, but it's actually of significant note that The Great Controversy is Seventh-Day Adventist, anti-Catholic End Times literature. Ironic and apropos and all that, of course it's there. How could it not be? Traditional American bigotries have been at the heart of it the whole time. Know-Nothings, white supremacism, misogyny, even Nazis; yes, of course anti-Catholics are in the mix.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    McCormick, Andrew. "Madness on Capitol Hill". The Nation. 7 January 2021. TheNation.com. 7 January 2021. http://bit.ly/2LzsZwg
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Fabiola Cineas↱, reflecting on the Wednesday Putsch:

    While some were still wondering how this happened, others, especially Black people and other people of color, grew indignant watching the coup attempt unfold online and on TV, knowing that the whiteness of the insurrectionists acted as a shield—protecting them from being seen as a threat before, and while, they stormed the Capitol. For activists who endured violence at the hands of police when they were merely asking for them to stop executing Black people, this inequity is why they protested in the first place.

    "White folks and white supremacists are treated with deference when they engage in violence and put the Capitol under siege," Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, told Vox. "But activists who are attempting to elevate the sanctity of Black life are treated with disdain."

    There are many details that remain unclear about botched protocol on Wednesday—why the National Guard wasn't activated sooner, why police reportedly had no intelligence on what the extremists had planned. But the fact that people are searching for answers as to why white people attempted to claim what they believed they own proves that white supremacy is functioning as it always has: unfiltered and out in the open.

    We might go so far as to venture that the whiteness of our prevailing American narrative lends to the disbelieving confusion by which so many have struggled to grasp the magnitude of just what occurred when President Trump's supporters brought their widely-threatened siege tof the United States Capitol.

    For instance, my own impression includes a significant memory of someone carrying a sign reminding that we have a Republic if we can keep it, which actually reads more a dare than reminder, as it was carried and displayed in an action intended to forestall the Republic itself. And while words like, attempted coup, might ring strangely to American aesthetics, it nonetheless remains an unavoidable assessment of reality: Trump supporters, encouraged by prominent Republicans, plotted openly and attempted to overthrow an election, and forcibly install a president. One newly-elected Republican member of Congress now faces scrutiny for abetting the attack against the U.S. Capitol as it occurred. The reality of what just happened emerges from a fog of presupposed excuse, that something wasn't so big a deal, or what it looked like, and so on.

    What's evident is that the organizers of Wednesday's rallies were not taken seriously, as white extremists are often infantilized and given room to work out their feelings and blow off steam. We are told we need to listen to them, to try to understand their plight and psychology.

    Meanwhile, for centuries, Black people have stated that this white entitlement—to take government, property, lives—is the very core of American identity. From the time colonizers brought enslaved people to America's shores to Trump encouraging his supporters to walk down to the Capitol and be strong, this has been the case.

    "I have a hard time believing anyone who says they are shocked by what took place in the Capitol on January 6," University of Pittsburgh professor of history Keisha N. Blain told Vox. "We saw how whiteness works in the United States in 2015 when a white supremacist walked into Emanuel AME Church, gunned down nine Black people, and then was peacefully arrested and even taken for a bite to eat before being booked. Some people seemed to be shocked then, and every time another incident takes place, the same people express shock yet again" ....

    .... "I have no idea what it will take for people to stop being shocked by how whiteness works in American society," Blain said. "My sense is that too many people choose to be shocked because that response is easier than actually denouncing white supremacy and actively working to dismantle it."

    The answer to Blain's disbelief is neither happy nor comforting: This choice she describes, choosing "to be shocked because that response is easier", might well be a proper psychological dysfunction for many pepole; that is, they might presently be incapable of choosing otherwise.

    Furthermore, this goes beyond just whiteness; it has to do with tradtional empowerment and supremacism. If, as Cineas puts it, "white extremists are often infantilized and given room to work out their feelings and blow off steam", we might recall Roy Den Hollander↗, the male supremacist, coincidentally white, who recently staged a bicoastal murder; along the way it was worth inviting him dance on television for Steven Colbert. The "Crying Nazi"↗, who started out as a men's rights advocate, found his way to a Colbert moment because of his politics.

    Moreover, the station of whiteness in the American prevailing narrative is not a new or sudden question. Zack Beauchamp↱, in 2019, considered the "contingent whiteness of American Jews":

    There's a perennial debate among American Jews about whether we qualify as "white." It's an odd conversation—it often ignores the existence of non-white Jews entirely—but it gets at an important question: To what extent can American Jews trust America's white Christian majority to protect their community and civil rights?

    Historically, the answer is "not very much." During the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant blamed Jews for a black market in cotton and, in punishment, attempted to expel them from parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Henry Ford blamed the Jews for World War I, and white supremacist terrorists targeted eight synagogues for bombings between 1957-58. Social clubs and universities banned and restricted Jewish access; Harvard and Yale had tight quotas on Jewish admissions as late as the 1960s.

    Anti-Semitism clearly survived in the United States even after the full horror of the Holocaust was revealed to the world. Yet things have undeniably gotten better, to the point where some have argued that the situation of Jews in America has been fundamentally transformed. Mainstream American politics and culture has moved so far in a philo-Semitic direction, on this view, that Jews need not worry about the specter of state-sponsored hatred.

    "The Trump presidency seethes with hostility toward many different minority and subordinated groups. But Jews have been elevated to a special protected category," David Frum, who is Jewish, wrote in the Atlantic on July 24. "Gone are the days when Trump tweeted out a Star of David atop stacks of money."

    Less than a month later, Trump labeled Jews "disloyal" and declared himself our stand-in messiah.

    It is, admittedly, harder to infantilize a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt as a working out of feelings, or some such, especially alongside a blowing off of steam complaining about the insufficiency of the Nazi Holocaust.

    Sixteen months later, Beauchamp's question of contingency is relevant; no, Jews aren't white enough for this sort of whiteness. They never really were. Or, to consider Cineas, a vicious, supremacist iteration of whiteness is unfiltered and out in the open; once upon a time, there was at least some pretense that no, this wasn't really what was going on. Indeed, continued attempts to blame antifa, or distance conservatives↱ from the attack, recognize that basic pretense.

    The privilged station of whiteness in our American narrative lends, in its way, to what Chris Hayes of msnbc↱ described as "something kind of appalling about the tone of normalcy that has resumed" in the hours after the attack, as he called for Trump's removal from office. "To watch Ben Sasse speechify about shoveling your neighbor's snow," Hayes explained, "which is a good, nice thing to do, while the President retains control of the nuclear codes, having urged, essentially, his battallions of fascist thugs to storm the Capitol is just very, very difficult to digest". And his colleague Rachel Maddow had an excellent point that other seemingly shocking episodes in recent days were not really so long ago. "I still haven't totally digested the fact that we have the President on tape," she noted, "calling the Secretary of State in Georgia and saying, 'I need you to invent election results for me'; that was, like, not that many hours ago." She then went on to consider sparse arrests, and where the attackers went afterward: "They're home, or they're elsewhere out on the streets; they're trading war stories, bragging about the violence and the vandalism that they got away with … they walked away … without consequences …." All of that also describes a fog of privilege and presupposed excuse by which the whiteness of our prevailing American narrative lends to the disbelieving confusion by which so many have struggled to grasp the magnitude of the siege against the Capitol.

    I think of all those Republicans over the years, recalling how they would hide in that privilege, even rely on it to carry them through. And it is true, such privileged scheming has served them well enough the the moment of trying to call off the Republic. This monstrous purpose of their tradition now walks unfiltered and out in the open. The headline for Cineas' article runs, "Whiteness is at the core of the insurrection". Whiteness, as such, also challenges our ability, in societal discourse, to properly grasp the magnitude of what has happened.
     
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Notes for #5↑ above

    @girlsreallyrule. "Marco Rubio claims rioters who stormed the Capitol are not actually conservatives-they are 'wackos' and 'nut jobs.' This is complete obfuscation. Rubio has used these 'wackos' and played to them politically for four years-he's shirking all responsibility." Twitter. 10 January 2021. Twitter.com. 10 January 2021. https://bit.ly/38wB8dA

    @MSNBC. ".@chrislhayes: 'Frankly, there is something kind of appalling about the tone of normalcy that has resumed in the nation's capital this evening.'" Twitter. 6 January 2021. Twitter.com. 10 January 2021. https://bit.ly/3scz42d

    Beauchamp, Zack. "Trump and the fragile belonging of American Jews". Vox. 21 August 2019. Vox.com. 10 January 2021. http://bit.ly/2Zkm5Re

    Cineas, Fabiola. "Whiteness is at the core of the insurrection". Vox. 8 January 2021. Vox.com. 10 January 2021. http://bit.ly/3oyvAoG
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    A brief twit thread, from David Begnaud↱ of CBS News:

    ARRESTED: The man who use the American flag to beat a police officer at Capitol riot has been charged with a federal crime. He is Peter Stager of Arkansas. He's on video saying: “Death is the only remedy for what's in that building.”

    Stager told police he thought he was hitting someone from ANTIFA.
    Look at the overhead shot. The person face down on the ground, that Stager appears to be looking at, is wearing a bulletproof vest with capitalized white letters that read: METROPOLITAN POLICE.

    As of now his only charge is: CIVIL DISORDER

    That last was a few hours ago.

    We'll see how this goes. The video Begnaud included with the first tweet also shows Stager declaring, "Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor!" Maybe he really can't tell "antifa" from Metropolitan Police.

    And it's true, in its way, it's not just "Republicans". When we listen to the factions make their cases in the public discourse, at some point the abysmal judgment that can only, really, be mitigated as a question of culpability by doubting competency, is relevant. Ceteris paribus is not in effect.

    It's like when people, several years ago, tried explaining how this or that is why Trump was elected, and when they would blame things like identity politics, political correctness, and liberal elitism, let us be clear: Mr. Stager provides an example of what these people were defending. That is to say, failing to assuage this sort of ethic, intellect, and judgment is apparently why Trump was elected. No, really, if they said something about how Trump's election should have taught about dismissing the views of people who voted for him as crazy or supremacist, or that paternalism and condescension is one reason why Trump was elected, the assessment doesn't seem to have aged well. It's true, we were actually warned about such deplorable ethics and behavior, but apparently the assessment was rejected.

    So, sure, why not, we'll believe him: He could not tell the difference between antifa and the the D.C. Metro Police officer he was beating with an American flag on a stick ... on a day when he declared that, "Death is the only remedy for what's in that building", because, "Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor!" I mean, right? We can easily believe that Peter Stager is as butt stupid as his excuse requires us to accept. And that's fair, right?

    Because it was bad enough when Bernie Sanders and the Democratic establishment could both agree that maybe we should bargain with these folks, that there might be some manner of sacrificial lamb we could offer to appease the supremacists. They should have known better, just like people should have attended the warning about deplorability.

    But I think back on all the things people said, and wonder if they feel any shame, not just for being wrong, but for being so blatantly, ridiculously, unbelievably naïvely wrong. And while pretenses of reactionary justification are not new, these extraordinarily naïve scolds° did manage to validate right-wing feelings enough that cartoonists would, in 2018, find themselves mocking American Nazis for blaming others (see #1↑).

    Antisociality that brings such deplorable results, justified by the explanation is that one is too damn stupid to be trusted, was apparently something worth trusting, advocating for, and taking seriously. As we could reasonably expect, this is what we get for empowering it.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ° We would be remiss to omit the consideration that, as a market dynamic, there must be a reason the New York Times thought it worth pandering to supremacists. Y'know, just for instance. Maybe we should blame the liberal media conspiracy.​

    @DavidBegnaud. "ARRESTED: The man who use the American flag to beat a police officer at Capitol riot has been charged with a federal crime. He is Peter Stager of Arkansas. He's on video saying: 'Death is the only remedy for what's in that building.'" Twitter. 14 January 2021. Twitter.com. 14 January 2021. https://bit.ly/2XFQHth
     
  11. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    FBI investigation still ongoing (Stager and many others). Charges will presumably be added.
     
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Slava Malaud↱, a math teacher who proclaims himself Twitter's official Russian sports writer, observes:

    The fact that Trumpers are clamoring for "Marshall Law" is extremely unsurprising in every possible way.
    It simply confirms that we are not dealing with a "liberal vs conservative" divide here. The divides are:
    1) democracy vs. authoritarianism
    2) cognition vs. dumbassery

    In many ways, over the years, the mixing of conservatism and antisocial dumbassery has repeatedly presented this manner of multivalent failure. Not only have Republicans and conservatives managed to pretty much betray themselves entirely for Donald Trump, they have frequently done so in a most extraordinary, multivalently dumbassed, self-disqualifying manner. It's been going on for generations, and precipitously for over a decade.

    To be fair, though, #NotAllConservatives. At the very least, Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, could spell "martial" correctly↱.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @jabinbotsford. "@MyPillowUSA CEO Michael Lindell shows off his notes before going into the West Wing at the White House on Friday, Jan 15, 2021 in Washington, DC." Twitter. 15 January 2021. Twitter.com. 15 January 2021. https://bit.ly/3bIPLfT

    @SlavaMalamud. "The fact that Trumpers are clamoring for 'Marshall Law' is extremely unsurprising in every possible way. It simply confirms that we are not dealing with a "liberal vs conservative" divide here. The divides are: 1) democracy vs. authoritarianism 2) cognition vs. dumbassery". Twitter. 15 January 2021. Twitter.com. 15 January 2021. https://bit.ly/2Kk3vCJ
     
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,829
    #trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

    In considering Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), we might recall 2015↱, when Senate Republicans lined up behind a freshman Senator attempting to usurp the Constitution in order to undermine the foreign policy of the United States and move the nation toward war. Even the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) signed his name among the #GOP47. Reflecting on columnists questioning Republican fitness to govern, the one thing that ought to be unsurprising about the Trump administration is that it is exactly what they wanted, what they voted for. Government didn't fail the way Republicans wanted, so they went out of their way to make sure it did.

    And there really are any number of reasons to recall any number of episodes along the conservative descent into American ruination, but this one comes to mind, today, as Roger Sollenberger's↱ headline for Salon reverberates: "Sen. Tom Cotton campaigned on his 'experience as an Army Ranger'—but he didn't have any".

    It turns out the Arkansas junior has long been overstating his Ranger qualification, and ought to have known better.

    There was talk, in 2015, that Sen. McConnell's (R-KY) imprimatur as Majority Leader was sufficient to line up that much of the Senate Republican caucus behind the freshman former Army Ranger in attempting to subvert the government of the United States of America. Sen. McCain explained his own signature, "I saw the letter, I saw that it looked reasonable to me and I signed it, that's all. I sign lots of letters."

    Insofar as the Cotton Letter was, as Michael Gerson↱ describes, "a foreign policy maneuver, in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation, with all the gravity and deliberation of a blog posting" that "raises questions about the Republican majority's capacity to govern", perhaps we ought to be just a little less surprised at the vice, malice, and incompetence of the conservative rule brought to bear under the Trump administration. They lined up to overstep their purview and subvert the foreign policy of the American government, eager to follow a petulant, ignorant freshman who lied about his record in the U.S. Army.

    I think of all those Republicans, supporters, and even blithe mitigators along the way, and if the question is what did they expect, then they are in their way disqualified; that is, we have every reason to doubt their judgment, credential, and even trust. If, however, what has come to pass really is what they wanted, truly is what they voted for, then they are pretty much disqualified from being trusted because they have announced and demonstrated their danger and harmful intent. Either way, their justifications are not what we tend to consider among outcomes and behavior of merit, even and especially compared to their own ostensible principles.

    We must genuinely consider that the last twelve years of conservative antisociality are not some accident of appearances if you just happen to be standing right there when the sunlight does just this, and so on. This isn't a Holy Virgin in the stain of mediocre manufacture on the back of a highway sign. That is, there is a reason why they keep following liars on dangerous and stupid adventures: This is what they want, and who they are, and neither is that new.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Gerson, Michael. "The true scandal of the GOP senators' letter to Iran". The Washington Post. 12 March 2015. WashingtonPost.com. 23 January 2021. http://wapo.st/1CdSveK

    Sollenberger, Roger. "Sen. Tom Cotton campaigned on his 'experience as an Army Ranger'—but he didn't have any". Salon. 23 January 2021. Salon.com. 23 January 2021. http://bit.ly/2Y4Fnr3
     

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