Trump’s American Carnage
“January 6, 2021, will live forever in infamy” — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Nearly four years later, Donald Trump’s words about “American Carnage” have come to fruition.
Four years ago this month President Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America succeeding President Barack Obama. During the newly sworn-in President’s inaugural address, he emulsioned a picture of an America. He christened that image of America as “American Carnage.”
In many respects, the carnage that the President described was guffawing around the country on January 20, 2017, was factual. “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge.”
But in numerous ways, the American Carnage that President Trump delineated was a dark hellish landscape of an America that would come to full formation nearly four years later in the same location that the President was speaking from nearly four years ago.
January 6th’s political insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was no mistake, it was the climax of the last four years of poisonous rhetoric that began with Donald Trump’s words of “American Carnage” at his inaugural address. Trump’s American Carnage carried over to Charlottesville after which the President condemned “¨both sides” to last September’s presidential debate when Trump told white nationalists to ‘stand back and stand by,’ Trump’s “American Carnage” carried over to his inability to besmirch QAnon (“I know nothing about them”), and then finally to Trump’s words to his supporters before they stormed the Capitol to overturn the result of a free and fair democratically run election.
The events that took place at the Capitol building were shocking, but sorrowfully not surprising.
Indeed, the President of the United States provoked a fascist mob to try and violently overthrow the legal and legitimate outcome of a democratic election that Joe Biden won — but this was the tragic yet prognosticate conclusion of the far-right political movement that this President has erected and nurtured over the past four years.
Political scholars have long warned that Trump’s catastrophe of a presidency would conclude this way or perhaps even more grim. Donald Trump has emulated the playbook of fascist dictators and strongmen who came before him in the 1930s and 40s. Trump has continually repudiated what is at the core of this American carnage: hate nourished under a taut national climate that he helped to fertilize.
The President’s rhetoric and rallies have long been incubation grounds for violence, areas where the President ejected hate speech that implored his supporters to physically harm those who don’t subscribe to Trump’s political leanings.
Furthermore, as President of the United States, Trump has used his bully pulpit as a platform to encourage violence against American citizens and federal lawmakers, whether through law enforcement such as the police, National Guard, or right-wing militia groups — unless of course, those citizens are his loyal base of supporters.
The events of January 6, 2021, came as no surprise to many Americans specifically black Americans.
The events of January 6, 2021, were set in stone when Donald Trump raised his right hand in the air and swore an oath before God and the country to preserve and defend this democracy we love so dear. Trump has pitted Americans against each other. He preyed on and devoured genuine economic suffering.
He lied to stoke fear about Americans who are different. He denied basic facts and science when he allowed COVID-19 to spread uncontrolled throughout the country and even then has refused to save lives. He has decimated the democratic norms and traditions that have guided this country since its inception.
He has nullified the free press, the rule of law, an independent judicial system, and even democratically-run elections.
He has separated children from their families and caged them behind cruel fences.
He used religion as an elucidation to ban groups of people from migrating to America. He has given sameness to far right-wing white nationalists and anti-racist protesters.
Donald Trump’s defeat in November and subsequent impeachment (Trump is the first President to be impeached twice by the House) is not the conclusion of his poisonous brand of politics known as Trumpism.
After all, more than 74 million Americans voted to continue this clown show of a Presidency for four more years.
Fortunately, President-elect Joe Biden has displayed how sensible public servants from across the political spectrum can unite people to reject this form of far-right populism which seeks to divide this country to the breaking point.
Despite how shocking (or not) the attack on the Capitol was, let us look to the hill from which our help comes from — Joe Biden and Kamala Haris will be inaugurated as President and Vice President of the United States of America.
Vice President-elect Harris will make history as the first woman of color to assume the Vice Presidency, the historic election of the first Jewish senator, and the first black Democratic senator who holds the same pulpit that was once co-pastored by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the state of Georgia, a former confederate state.
The incoming Biden-Harris administration and the election of Jon Ossoff and Rev. Warnock show us the pathway forward in a post-Trump era. The work has begun to pick up the mantle that was left behind on January 20, 2017, as we begin the strenuous task to rebuild our democracy, rebuild and reestablish our relationships with nations across the globe that have forsaken us and regain our ranking as the world’s oldest and greatest democracy.