How the Republican party got pushed to extremist lengths.
( @nytimes / Instagram )
It’s disheartening to acknowledge that Wednesday’s violent riots and breach of our Capitol building were not a shock. This act of domestic terrorism was many things. Harrowing, unsettling, infuriating. However, ‘surprising’ is not what comes to mind.
A close look at Trump’s last four years of presidency exposes the foul truth about his administration: That their loyalty can and will go to extremist lengths. By indoctrinating impressionable voters with a declaration of war against the “radical left” and “socialist” Democrats, President Trump incited the tragic event we saw yesterday with his facist rhetoric.
Let’s dig through the agonizing events of the past four years.
During his 2016 campaign tours, Trump was just an ex-reality TV star in the running for the Republican bid for office. On debate stages, seasoned Republican congressmen such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie mocked the front runner, denying him any legitimacy as future President and ‘leader’.
Those three men, who once fought tooth and nail to see Trump lose, would ironically go on to be some of his closest confidants during his time in office. As a result, the GOP reduced itself to expired and gluttonous politicians who make bank off the poor, while rubbing shoulders with the ideologically parallel elite.
So, how did we even allow for this to happen?
Plainly, Trump knew his audience. Very well.
The disheartened Silent Majority, once given platform by the ever racist Ronald Reagan, needed their hero again. (This includes those who still wear ‘84 campaign shirts, you know the type.) Someone to hold a strongarm on the world stage, to put “America First” whilst reversing history. They wanted a person to speak in favor of policies that reinstate the backwards, racist and homophobic nature of that “golden era,” that they love to look fondly upon.
They needed someone to put America first again, even if that meant the erasure of the very foundations of our country, liberty and justice for all.
Trump opened his arms to both the rural farmer and the elitist white supremacist. He hit the right talking points in rallies, while not having a single experience of being in a poor man’s shoes. He offered intimidation, power and a narrative that created an “us versus them” mentality, so much so, that anyone who opposed his ideals became the enemy. That enemy turned out to be the country itself — desecrating the very buildings and manifestations they swore up and down they were saving.
Violence will be “OK-ed”, so long as another term can be guaranteed. Violence will be encouraged, but quickly denounced to save face. He overlooked their radicalization, and even encouraged it, knowing they would show up for him in the polls. If not, they would show up for him in riots, as seen on Wednesday. Although we’ve been desensitized in many regards, kidnapping, bombings and riots cannot go unchecked.
Even the once-beloved Fox News was not good enough for the Trump administration. The news source fell victim to his criticism and was denounced following their announcement of Biden’s win.
Once Trump denounced it, so did his followers. Fox’s viewing base was hurt, and MAGA-supporters were once again encased in their own false reality of the world.
Trump adheres to his own monetary and social gain, a pattern that many people in the GOP started latching onto, leading to senators like Rubio and Cruz turning on their own words.
Polarization creates pressure, not only internally but externally. Congressmen who turn a blind eye to Trump’s actions earn praise, while those who call him out find themselves scorned and shunned. Congressmen on the right can only get elected if they adhere to Trumpism.
These Congressmen, who are supposed to be trusted and professional officials, have given way for false information and radicalized ideology to become the norm.
As the events of the election unfolded, the old-school GOP leaders saw the tsunami — that they started — facing themselves.
Now, seasoned Republicans have to now face the chaos they allowed into their own house. The overarching feeling post-Wednesday’s disaster is remorse from each compliant congressman.
Remorse for the actions they never condemned, the actions that spoiled our constitution.
Remorse for the blind loyalty towards the man who permitted our government’s dismantlement .
Remorse for their failure to uphold the oath they took in office.
The chaos of Jan. 6th stained on our history and will forever change our nation. It exposed the ugly, long-ignored ideology to the public. The side we never taught sympathy, but rather further incited and polarized.
I hope our government learned a hard lesson — a lesson that offers a new chapter of unification and potential peace in the name of upholding our constitution. I do believe that this is not the end of our democracy, but rather a reminder of the evils we cannot allow to taint it again.
Livv Haut is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her passions lie in inclusivity, sketching fairies, watching C-Span, and Joni Mitchell. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @livvhaut on instagram for more.