The coup and you

So, let’s not mince words: Donald Trump and his GOP enablers (that is to say, most of the Republican Party) are trying to carry out a coup.

If you can’t see that, then I wonder about your discernment. I’m not saying it’s going to be a successful coup or that it’s the most well-planned coup or that it’s going to get really serious with soldiers in the streets busting caps in people’s heads. But it is still a coup attempt.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris clearly won the election. Claims of fraud or irregularities are being made up or vastly overstated and the GOP knows Biden and Harris are the duly elected will of (most of) the people and the winners of more than enough electoral votes to strut into the West Wing in January and get to work.

Despite this, in a flurry of activity we’ve never seen before with a presidential election—and which is not remotely justified given the vote counts—lawsuits are being filed to challenge results and demand recounts or whatever. Trump has refused to give a concession speech, quite unlike Al Gore, who had much more of a case to challenge his “loss” given how close the vote was in just one state that, by the way, had some very obvious irregularities going on. But Gore conceded rather than risk looking like a sore loser.

Lindsey Graham has flat out said that if we make voting easy, the country will never see a Republican president again, and that things need to be changed to prevent the American people from expressing their will. Trump fired his Secretary of Defense who was against the use of the military against civilians and put in a guy who isn’t against that—as well as installing other loyalists into top Department of Defense spots after suddenly firing several other people there.

And then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got up at a podium and when asked if all the hullabo was going to mess up the transition to a new administration, he said with a mirthless little chuckle that basically there will be smooth transition to a second Trump administration. Yeah, Pompeo later said it was a joke. It wasn’t. It’s like when someone says something really mean to you and you get mad and they say, “Whatsa matter with ya? I was just kidding.” No, the “joke” was the real desire and intent, and the attempt to play it off is gaslighting to make the rest of us look bad and question ourselves.

The fact is that the Republicans are running scared. Scared of democracy and eager to bring us one-party rule and some kind of spin on a fascist oligarchical theocracy. They want to sow distrust in the voting process, work up Trump followers into thinking there was a cheat and they want to tear down every check and balance this country ever had to ensure that they never, ever lose the upper hand.

They are crooks, cowards, cheaters and liars. They are also in control of much of the government, and that makes them dangerous. That’s also what makes this a coup attempt. Will it work? Who knows? I’m surprised that with as much voter suppression and other nonsense that we actually mobilized so mightily that we actually outmaneuvered their schemes to rig the election in Trump’s favor. The system has “worked” so far. Kinda. It’s pretty broken and being held together with duct tape and superglue right now.

Biden and Harris are taking it in stride. Some are mad about that but I’m not sure if there is anything else they can or should do. They won and they are acting just like a team that is going to take office in January. By staying confident and doing what work they can despite being shut out and ignored by the current administration, they are probably doing what they should.

What about the rest of us? Well, some of us have already done and been doing what needed to be done. Voting and working within the system even when it’s stacked against us. That “us” would be the overwhelming majority of us Black people and Indigenous People and a lot of the non-white Latinx people and most of the LGBTQ+ crowd and so on. They’ve been trying to keep us out or shut us back out for decades. We just keep fighting and doing what we need to. Vote. March. Block streets and shut down businesses. Sometimes even riot. Or just piss them off by surviving and refusing to break despite what they do to us.

What about those of you who aren’t used to being shut out? Because, if you haven’t noticed, they are trying to shut you out. You white people who have lived white privilege all your lives and mostly never noticed it or thought about it haven’t been cut out until now. But those of you who are Democrats or leftists or otherwise on the blue end of things—they want you cut out now too. They literally want to figure out how to not have to count your vote. To not have to listen to you at all and rule over you mercilessly.

We Black folks in particular are used to this. We hate it, but we’re used to it. It’s life since the first one of us was stolen from Africa and brought here in chains. We keep getting up. More importantly, we don’t ever trust the system to work for equality, fairness or justice. We demand that, but we expect to be turned away disappointed.

You as white people and many of you  being proclaimed accomplices in the anti-racism fight and gender rights fight and so many other “bleeding heart liberal” causes need to stop trusting so much and start fighting more.

I see too much passivity as people assume that the Constitution is some magical force that will protect us from tyranny and abuse. Too many people say, “Trump can’t do that” when he’s done and gotten away with all the other multitude of things you said he could “never get away with” in this country for nearly four years now.

I need to see a lot less trust in the United States from most of you. You have too much faith in a system that’s been plotting your demise for a long time. You just didn’t realize it. We’ve told you they would eventually come for you once coming after the Black people and the Muslim people and the gay people and the other marginalized people wasn’t enough anymore. We told you that you would be next if you weren’t vigilant.

Honestly, most of you weren’t vigilant enough. You were too trusting. Time to change that and, if we manage to get Biden and Harris actually into office, to demand changes that protect people and that expand access to voting. To demand that they not compromise with the opposition—who is clearly the enemy of democracy right now—in any way that gives over even more power to the GOP than they have already seized over the years to put themselves on top because they couldn’t do it honestly.

And if the coup succeeds you really need to get your warrior spirits going strong.

Either way, we have a long fight ahead of us and too much ground has been lost already by believing in the “exceptionalism” of the United States as if it were somehow immune to what’s happened to so many other countries where democracy was crushed. Roll those sleeves up and get ready to fight, one way or the other.

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Image by Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash

1 thought on “The coup and you”

  1. “First they came for the socialists, but I was not a socialist, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.” (with apologies-quoted from memory!)
    Pastor Niemöller
    Regarding the danger of the apathetic response of the German people to the rise of Nazism

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