Trump Cheats at U.S. Capitol
Updated: Jan 9
When I saw the rioter sitting in Senate chambers in the recently vacated chair of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence yesterday, I was reminded of the insurrection at George Orwell’s Manor Farm.
The farm animals recognized the unfairness of their plight as workers with little recompense. They chased off the humans and declared their ownership of the renamed Animal Farm.
"Two legs good; four legs bad," became the summation of their seven commandments. For a while, barnyard society was equitable, but the pigs kept treating themselves better, starting with getting all the milk and apples.
At the fable's end, a contingent of human neighbors, including a Mr. Pilkington, visits the farm, where the pigs had adopted outlawed human customs, such as wearing clothes and drinking liquor. A quarrel ensued at a game of cards in which Napoleon, a pig, and Pilkington each played an ace of spades simultaneously.
"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question now what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which."
Totalitarianism is a theme of Orwell's Animal Farm. Those in power, such as U.S. President Donald Trump, care only about maintaining power by whatever means, again, like Trump.
However, Orwell may be too complimentary to the rioters as his animals began with a political philosophy.
The Trump mob was more akin to the opportunistic Wild Wooders -- the ferrets, stoats and weasels -- who took over Toad Hall in the absence of Mr. Toad in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.
"We're home," shouted one woman, as she and a horde stormed the Capitol.
As thousands wreaked mayhem in Washington, D.C., there were four deaths and 68 arrests. If those people were Black or Black Lives Matter members, the numbers would have been much higher. Before the horrific death of George Floyd, a black man, in May and the subsequent protests for racial justice, this acknowledgment would have been shared only by Black Americans with each other. Instead, most everyone said the same, recognizing the inequality., and indeed, the white privilege, which was brazen.
It is heartening that this truth has been seen by other people. Nevertheless, I just want the needless deaths of African Americans to be contained in history books, not spill into the news. Only the day before the failed insurrection, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down, was not charged in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The officer is, however, still on administrative leave -- not certain if it is paid -- as though that is punishment enough.
After yesterday's sedition, we see that it is possible for police to quell a heated situation -- even an attempted coup -- without a massive death count. The number of arrests, however, was ridiculously low. Trump supporters explored the inside of the Capitol, like marauders. They sauntered outside the Capitol, as if at a state fair. Thousands ignored the 6 p.m. District of Columbia curfew. One terrorist took a selfie of himself with a police officer.
Earlier yesterday, the Democrats won two Senate seats in Georgia, making a 50-50 Democratic-Republican split in the upper house of Congress. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, also a Democrat, will cast any tie-breaking votes. Currently, the Democrats also hold a majority in the House of Representatives, which is the lower house in the bicameral legislature.
Among the Democrats, there was celebration.
Yet, we have to move from the dichotomy between the two parties that began 30 years ago and has widened in the toxic Trump administration. Coalition governments are common in Europe and key to expressing the concerns of citizens.
In Portugal, for example, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a member of the center-right Social Democrats, and Prime Minister Antonio Costa, a member of the center-left Socialist Party, work together. The president is running for re-election later this month.
Coalition governments demand respect for parties other than your own. With that respect comes listening to each other.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties could do with some listening. Both could benefit from stronger platforms, especially, during this time of environmental ruin, global pandemic and racial injustice.
We need to help each other.
The Democrats know what they do not want: Trump. Now, the Republicans need to distance themselves from the man who incited chaos on the day that Congress met to recognize formally President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The Trump mob believes that the election was stolen from its leader.
The two main parties can gain much from each other as well as third parties, such as the Libertarians and the Greens. We need to dispel assumptions, which shut us off from each other.
Several of my Democratic friends have been asking:
"Where are my Republican friends?"
Back at the farm, there is only one ace of spades in a deck of cards. The pigs and the humans had become one and the same: cheats.