The thing is, you knew.
Trump voters and backers now pleading innocence or ignorance, backpedaling furiously and disavowing frantically — or those of you maintaining chaste silence on social media, I see you too — you knew who he was and what this was. You chose this anyway.
You had all the same warning signs as the rest of us, from his campaign in 2016 where he mocked the disabled and could be heard talking of grabbing women “by the pussy,” from his supporters who smugly sported FUCK YOUR FEELINGS t-shirts and chanted “Lock her up!” at his rallies in re: the woman legitimately running as his opponent in a democratic presidential election, right up until the moment on Wednesday, January 6th when the Confederate flag breached the U.S. Capitol Building — a thing that didn’t happen even during the actual Civil War.
You listened for four years as his administration and fans cheered Muslim bans and family separation policies for asylum-seekers, you pretended not to know what “asylum” is or how it works, you let him bluster and attempt to bully other world leaders and embarrass us on a global stage, you listened to him rallying his base over and over again with half-coherent speeches extoling his own greatness. You stewed silently in rancid hypocrisy, and praised as a “straight talker” a man who has been repeatedly revealed as a pathological liar and who can barely string a single thought along for the length of a paragraph. You thought he’d be “a change from politics as usual,” or “drain the swamp,” or “defend Christianity,” this man with no experience whatsoever of governance or civil service or duty, this adulterous, draft-dodging, multiply-bankrupt, grinning TV charlatan.
You nodded along to outrageous conspiracy theories about secret rings of Satan-worshiping, blood-drinking pedophiles, and decried the carefully-sourced and -investigated journalism of historically-respected news outlets as “MSM fake news.” Because it made you feel smarter, I guess, part of some magic circle of insider knowledge, instead of merely gullible. Because it let you hold something over “the elites,” the people who trust science, data, history, journalism. Because it let you wave away everything else you fell for, falling for this one last thing.
(How many of you actually fell for it, and how many of you pretended to fall for it in order to absolve yourselves of falling for everything else?)
We told you this was happening. We told you what was coming. We told you in 2016 and you called us hysterical and voted for him anyway, and bought yourselves coffee mugs printed with the words LIBERAL TEARS. We went on telling you for four years, while the abuse of religious minorities and asylum-seekers went on. While racial injustice and sexual abuse brought out widespread national protests, and those were fanned into riotous clashes as wildly militarized police forces took silence for permission. (Or took permission for permission.) You bought BLUE LIVES MATTER flags and ignored us or tut-tutted on Facebook about “antifa.”
Antifa means anti-fascist. Antifa has been around since World War II, since Hitler and Mussolini. Antifa exists because men like them existed, and go on existing. Both of my grandfathers were antifa. They anti’d the fa right out of Europe.
You know what being the opposite of anti-fascist makes you?
Oh, but Obama once put his feet up on the Oval Office desk, what craven disrespect for the solemn Office of the President!
Trump isn’t a straight talker, or a refreshing change. He’s a populist demagogue, just like Adolf Hitler was in 1923. And he and his mob just attempted a violent coup d’état, like Hitler did in 1923.
(Oh, are “libs” still being too dramatic? Mary Miller, a newly-elected Illinois congressperson who spoke at Trump’s rally on the morning of the attempted coup, told his mob that “Hitler was right.” There were literal gangs of Neo-Nazis, not leftist-labeled but people who happily self-identify as Neo-Nazis, in attendance.)
I didn’t vote for him for any of that stuff! you wail.
I voted because The Economy! Because Taxes! Because my 401K! you whine.
The thing is, even if you somehow legitimately believed a narcissistic, golfing and grifting failed real estate mogul would somehow save The Economy, you did vote for all the other stuff. Because it was there. Because you knew it. You don’t get to plead inattention. You don’t get to excuse or justify. You voted for this man in 2016, and then you stood by and watched the events of the last four years. You have seen almost 400,000 of your fellow Americans die after he discarded the pandemic response playbook developed by the Obama administration and then went on to ignore the recommendations of his own administration’s 2018 National Biodefense Strategy. He and his enablers scoffed and minimized the threat of the pandemic consistently, are still scoffing, as the U.S. death toll has risen to more than 10,000 deaths a day and the economy has spiraled into chaos.
Are you mad about unemployment? About small businesses failing? That’s not the fault of “the left,” children. If the President had acted swiftly and decisively, as other nations did, if he’d advised the public to take the pandemic seriously, implemented federal mask requirements and lockdown protocols, we could be through this nightmare and back to life as usual, as other nations already are. Instead, we’re dying in steadily-increasing numbers and living under international travel bans. We’re global pariahs.
And then you voted for him again.
Fuck your “economic anxiety.” Fuck your “patriotism,” your whining about property rights and Blue Lives and all the other garbage smokescreens you’ve knowingly or ignorantly erected around this man’s misdeeds. Where was all of that smarmy bullshit on Wednesday, when an armed mob took the American flag down at the U.S. Capitol and replaced it with a Trump flag? When they smashed windows and smeared actual shit in the halls of Congress, when they broke down doors and shattered nameplates and stole from legislators’ offices? Is that what your fucking patriotism looks like? Your fealty to a single, angry, self-absorbed man overrides your fealty to the United States of America?
“It’s a revolution!” wailed Elizabeth “from Knoxville” (from Maryland), who hadn’t been prepared for her revolution to be met with so much resistance as pepper spray.
“The people have the right to overthrow an unjust government!” one of you actually squealed at me on Twitter. Sure, but it’s been your unjust fucking government for the last four years, and we just overturned it democratically, by voting it out.
And you’re not the people.
75 million people voted for him! you gurgle. Yes, and 82 million people voted against him. (That’s more, FYI.) It wasn’t fixed or fraudulent. Electoral officials, state legislators, federal legislators, and even your precious right-wing media outlets are agreed on that. Seven of your craven thirteen Senators who vowed to protest the election results backed down quietly on Wednesday when they saw what they’d enabled. (That’s a majority too, for those of you still living in Alternate Math Space.)
It wasn’t us! some of you now try to protest. It was Secret Antifa!
Ah, yes, your straw bogeyman. Do you believe it? Do you actually believe it? Okay, then. Brian suggests an easy check:
More police officers were killed in your guy’s insurrection on the 6th than in an entire year of Black Lives Matter protests. Slow clap for your Backing of the Blue! You’re mad that a woman was shot and killed for forcing her way into a federal building with an armed mob calling for the death of the Vice President; BLM was mad that a woman in Kentucky was shot and killed while asleep in her own bed, by police who broke down her door to serve a warrant in the wrong place.
I absolutely do not believe you can’t see the difference. You know, and you knew, and the mob in the Capitol on Wednesday are your chickens showing up to roost. You can’t pretend this isn’t on you.
We told you. You just, like sullen children, didn’t want to be told. You didn’t want to stop playing Economic Anxiety Pretend with your smug red-hatted friends.
You enabled and abetted literal treason. Literal, actual treason, the kind the Constitution repeatedly frowns upon in no uncertain terms. You were mad that a football player knelt instead of standing for the American flag at football games, and then your guys took down the American flag to replace it with the flags of actual sedition at the Capitol.
Another round of slow clapping for each and every one of you! Good work, you absolute trainwreck traitors. There are no innocent Trump voters. No, not even you. Sit down and shut your mouth.
Do I expect you to admit you were wrong? Do I expect you to apologize? Of course not. I’d never expect that much grace of character from you, not after you’ve showed us so often and doggedly who you are.
I expect you to quietly unfriend me on social media, if we’re mysteriously somehow still friends despite your vicious tendencies. I expect you to continue sending me tiny, screeching rants on Twitter that I won’t even see, because I have quality filters on and the algorithm doesn’t deem your mewling Quality.
I do expect you maybe — just maybe — to step back, take a look at the mire you’ve wandered into, and wonder how your moral compass got so fucking broken.
Because you knew.