One Nation, United In Incompetence
There’s nothing better than a nice juicy sensation to attract people’s limited attention and thereby generate wholesome ad revenues. Sure, SARS-COV2 is the gift that keeps on giving, but even a misinformed and terrified populace can grow tired of the same old scare stories day after day, week after week, month after month. And it’s tiring for journalists to keep looking for ever-more-unlikely edge cases with which to frighten small children and their screen-addicted parents.
So the events of January 6th 2021 were most welcome. We got to stare at a different kind of sensation as mindless Trumpists waddled and pushed their way into the Capitol building while clueless security forces sometimes aided and sometimes attempted to oppose the drooling howling mob. Best of all, the purposeless temporary invasion didn’t actually change anything, so there was all the joy of spectacle without any of the pain of consequences.
Now the chattering journalists and blustering politicians are busy writing their narratives, each designed to appeal to whatever bloc of voters they regard as theirs. None of these narratives, however, touch on the heart of what 6th January showed us.
Sure, the Republican Party has been obsequiously pandering to Trump and his far-right propagandists for the last four years, lying to simple-minded voters in order to gain transient political advantage. And sure, many Republican politicians actively encouraged the mob. Likewise Trump’s Pentagon appointees intentionally blocked any use of the National Guard because, hey, Trump supporters are mainly white so they’re the good guys. Even if they’re heavily armed and chanting slogans about lynching people. Whereas those unarmed evil socialist BLM protestors — well, they clearly need to be met with overwhelming force wherever they raised their seditious heads!
Sure, Trump encouraged the mob. But he always does, and the media and the Republican Party have been loving it for the last four years because it makes such great copy and pulls in so many reliable votes. What’s not to love?
So the fact is, 6th January wasn’t really much different from any other day over the last few years. Craven supine Republican politicians enabling an infantile moron to rabble-rouse while the media repeats his every word and tweet in order to generate ad revenues. These are the true values of the USA and frankly it’s inspiring to see so many pursuing naked self-interest so fully for so long. This is what made the country great.
Now, however, we’ve entered a phase where new narratives are required. Trump has his: I did nothing wrong, Biden stole the election, I’m the greatest president in the history of history, the Democrats are dividing the country.
The Republicans are busy attempting to assemble theirs on the fly: none of us were responsible for anything, nobody could have known this would happen, we believe in democracy, let’s not talk about our decades of gerrymandering and voter suppression and blatant abuse of power right now because we all have to come together and heal the country so we can keep on doing what we’ve been doing since the Nixon administration.
Democrats are amping up their outrage and rather foolishly trying to hold Trump responsible for everything, partly because they’re not very bright and partly because they’re desperate to attract a few crumbs of temporary acquiescence from a few less-than-ultra-right Republican politicians. Their message is: Trump is a clear and present threat to democracy, everything is all his fault, he tried to mount a coup, democracy triumphed over tyranny, we all need to come together to heal the country.
Journalists, being professional empty-heads best known for reading other people’s words from a teleprompter or writing a set number of words presenting whatever standard narrative has been agreed to fulfill the instructions of their editor, have their own slant: on January 6th American democracy came under threat but our institutions held firm and freedom triumphed over tyranny! This must never be allowed to happen again, it was the worst event in our entire history (or at least the last few days, which is all any of us can remember) and Trump must be held accountable while we come together and heal the country!
So much for all the narratives. But what really happened on 6th January 2021? What really “saved US democracy?”
No, we’re not going to wander down the path towards some absurd conspiracy theory. In nearly every case people are just too stupid and too short-sighted to fabricate real conspiracies — and are incapable of keeping secrets even when they try. We’re simply going to look at what happened, the evidence available on every Youtube video and TV news clip, and draw the obvious conclusion.
Let’s start with the infantile orange moron: did he really incite insurrection?
Trump’s behavior is best understood if we compare him to a teenage girl who until recently spent her entire life as the butt of her family’s jokes and was ignored by everyone around her. Then, suddenly, as puberty hit, she found a few (older, creepy) men paying her some attention. Naturally she was excited and began to encourage them. They responded, and more of them began to respond. For the first time in her drab unregarded life, she felt special. Whatever she did that made the creepy old men smile, she did more of it. Whatever she did that elicited no reaction, she dropped from her repertoire.
Soon she could attract the attention of creepy old men wherever she went and she basked in their attention. For the first time in her unhappy life, she felt loved. But then one day it went too far and some of the creepy old men came too close and she felt hands on her virgin parts and she became afraid and ran away, shouting loudly that she’d done nothing to deserve such treatment and she wasn’t to blame for anything and it was all someone else’s fault and besides it never happened anyway.
Everyone knows he’s been unloved his entire life. His father loathed him; his various wives loathe him — each married purely for temporary advantage (a life of ease here, a green card and priority for inbound parents there); his children hate him; everyone who’s ever worked for him or been around him despises him. Trump is contemptible: a stupid, vain, flabby, empty shell; a creature pitiable were he not so utterly repellent. He’s simply too stupid and too self-centered and impulsive to formulate any sort of plan whatsoever. That’s why he waddled into the White House with no real agenda (“undo whatever the black guy did” isn’t an agenda, unless you’re Trump) and spent four years doing precisely nothing. To frame him as someone who could stage, or even incite, a coup is risible.
Trump is just a moron, like the 74 million people who voted for him. Had he not been a total moron, the USA would already be a dictatorship.
Now let’s look at the howling mob that stormed the Capitol.
The media is making hay over the fact some were in body armor, some had personal communication devices. But you know what? Those things don’t make anyone a tactical genius. The fact is, the mob had no plan. Sure, they’d been “planning” online for six weeks, but when it came to the day itself they had nothing. No strategy to assault the building, no strategy to intercept people trying to escape, no floor plan of the building, no notion of what to do first, no idea of securing key zones or even doorways. No concept of establishing perimeters and defensible positions.
They had nothing.
This was not an insurrection; it was most certainly not an attempt to overthrow democracy. It was a mob of brainless oafs, white men in possession of small arms but no measurable intellect whatsoever. They were full of self-righteousness and adrenalin but their heads, as always, were completely empty.
And that’s the American Way.
Back in the days when the second Gulf War was being planned, the Bush administration was desperate to involve the UK in order to make their illegal invasion of Iraq look fractionally less illegal. As documents later released by UK select committees of investigation showed, the British military was horrified by the fact the US had no plan whatsoever for post-invasion governance. All the planning concerned the invasion; there was zero concept of what would happen next. As one senior British officer said, “The Americans seemed to think they could simply ignore the consequences of the invasion. There was no planning of any kind. They just didn’t think about it at all.”
As we all know, shining US incompetence created the collapse of Iraq and the rise of Islamic State — a far worse problem than Saddam Hussein ever presented.
The sad fact is that incompetence is one of the core values of US society. The Republican Party is incompetent: how else could it have ended up with an infantile orange moron as its shield-bearer? The Democratic Party is incompetent: how else could it spend its time on pointless internal squabbles about who is more politically correct than whom while the far-right blatantly corrodes every last vestige of democracy? Voters are incompetent: there’s no other explanation for the fact 74 million US voters cast their ballot for the least competent and most stupid creature in US history. The media is incompetent: how else could it have provided billions of dollars of free publicity to a man universally loathed and despised by nearly everyone in the media industry, and thus helped him immeasurably to get elected and to spread his endless lies?
Incompetence saved the USA on 6th January 2021.
The incompetence of the security forces was outweighed by the incompetence of the drooling howling mob. The incompetence of US institutions was outweighed by the incompetence of Trump and his squalid band of spineless enablers.
This is not a story most people want to hear. It is not a story about a shining city on a hill, about being the good guys wearing white hats, about good triumphing over evil. But it’s the real story.
Incompetence “saved” the USA on 6th January and over the four years prior to that. But relying on perpetual incompetence to enable the USA to remain just about above the mire of totalitarian rule is of course a typically incompetent approach to the future.
Trump showed how very easy it is to urinate all over the US Constitution. He showed that provided a demagogue can assemble a sufficiently large mob of mindless supporters behind him, the Republican Party will bend to his will to enable any and every crime. After all, the Republican Party has been undermining democracy for the last fifty years, so it’s a game they already know and love. Impeachment? Fuggetabahtit.
While Trump was a total incompetent, the USA can’t always count on incompetence to save it from further decline. Out there in the shadows is a man who’s been watching and learning. He’s seen how easy it is to dupe tens of millions of voters, how easy it is to capture a Party full of fat weak-chinned blustering idiots, and how easy it is to enter the very heart of US government.
That man will be the USA’s last elected president and its first Savior For Life. He’ll be supported by the mob, by the Republican Party, and by millions across the country proudly wearing their uniforms that prove they’re the good guys and that they’re “saving” democracy. That man will be unstoppable, because he won’t be incompetent. He’ll have a solid plan and the ruthlessness necessary to execute it.
That man is coming much sooner than anyone expects.
Because incompetence can’t save a nation forever.
NOTE: my thanks to C Mon Amie for suggesting the comparison between Trump and a timorous teenage girl: https://cmonamie.medium.com/