Trump's MAGA Insurrectionists Were Perverse US Civil War Re-EnactorsRoundup
tags: Confederacy, Capitol Riot
Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel and All the Powers of Earth.
“Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Donald Trump tweeted on December 19, a week after his would-be Brown Shirt followers rioted in the streets of Washington to protest the “stolen” election. When Der Tag – the climactic day of battle arrived – Trump assembled his true believers on the South Ellipse at the White House for a “Save America” rally, waving them up Pennsylvania Avenue as his army to nullify the congressional certification of electoral college votes in the presidential election.
Near the steps of the Capitol, as Trump’s shock troops prepared themselves for the assault on the citadel, they built a bare but dramatic monument to their revenge fantasy: wooden gallows with steps leading up to a swinging noose. Smashing their way through the windows and doors of the Capitol, they rampaged in a mad dash, breaking furniture, slashing paintings and looting offices. One of the invaders roamed through the corridors carrying a large Confederate flag, the first and only time that emblem of the Slave Power has ever appeared inside the Capitol.
Just two weeks earlier, on 21 December, at the request of the commonwealth of Virginia, the statue of Robert E Lee that the state had given as a gift to the Congress in 1909 to represent it in Statuary Hall was replaced with one of Barbara Rose Johns Powell, who as a teenager had integrated Virginia’s public schools. Trump’s rabble had first rioted in 2017 in defense of another statue of Lee, in Charlottesville, Virginia, after the city council had voted to remove it.
“Jews will not replace us!” they chanted, and a young woman was murdered by a neo-Nazi. Trump praised them as “very fine people,” and tweeted, “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”
The rioter parading through the Capitol with a Confederate flag, as though he had reached the high-water mark of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, was captured in a photo between two portraits on the Senate side, one of Senator John C Calhoun, the proslavery ideologue and nullifier from South Carolina, and the other of Senator Charles Sumner, the abolitionist from Massachusetts. The neo-Confederate rioter appeared indifferent to the images, even as he flaunted the symbol of the Lost Cause for Trump’s lost cause in a new civil war.
In a valentine to the vandals of the Capitol, Trump proclaimed, “We love you,” and, “You’re special.” The rabble was a mélange of true believers in conspiracy theories, paranoid delusions and twisted history. For the QAnon followers, their presence at the Capitol was the moment when the storm of the rapture would bring about the revelation of Trump’s final plan and his restoration to perpetual power. It was the culmination of Trump’s promise for apocalyptic change. For neo-Nazis, carrying flags with abstract versions of broken swastikas, and tattooed latter-day Klansmen, it was a stand for racial supremacy. Charging the gates of the Capitol was storming the gates of heaven. Or, alternatively, it was a heroic last-ditch defense of Trump’s bunker from the onslaught of hordes of impure infidels led by Joe Biden.
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