An ill-advised gathering of clownish MAGA morons who temporarily forced a pause in the electoral process is the perfect metaphor for Trumpism, and how its flash in the pan may have seemed destructive, but it did not permanently destroy anything. It feels like a lifetime ago, but Trump’s specific movement isn’t very old, it’s new and dumb and violent and unpredictable, an unstable organism that we don’t fully understand. Perhaps that’s why it was able to take control so quickly and so fully; we simply didn’t see it coming. We should have, though; Republicans have been marching toward this point since the Bush Era, using fear and ignorance as weapons once they realized how potent those element were, and how easy they were to control. So we watched the death of Reagan Republicans, witnessed the rise of the Tea Party, and then were introduced to Trumpism, a new version of the same blind racism and voluntary insanity that has haunted this country since its foundation, but perhaps had never found quite the modern, mainstream foothold that Trump and his cronies offered.
The good news is, in a larger sense than one presidential term, it didn’t last long. It was more passing gas than a mighty wind, a child’s fancy more than a serious strategy, and we can all sleep well at night knowing that Democracy won out. That’s not to say that the racism that Trumpism was built upon is dead, or that our country hasn’t faced awful problems and won’t face them again, of course not. Rather, it’s hopeful to look at how quickly “MAGA” came and went, and how weakly it was supported at its base; it’s already crumbling as we speak. Republican lawmakers are jumping ship in droves, voters have already shown their lack of support by allowing losses in the House, the Senate, and the Presidency itself, and soon the evil that crept up into the light because it finally found support there will fall back into darkness, not dying out but at least laying low, which is something.
I’m confident that we withstood something terrible, I’m confident that this was a temporary step back, or a push back to our multiple steps forward, and I choose to be hopeful that Democracy will prevail in the end, because I think we saw it happen in real time on January 6th. Trump supporters rallied, they grew angry, for a moment they broke through the barriers, their fervor was something unplanned for, they entered the sacred rooms of our Republic, they temporarily took control, paused the process, forced patriots to retreat, and seemed to have found a purchase to lay their ridiculous groundwork.
But then they were removed. They were arrested. They will be found and charged. And they realized that they hadn’t stopped the wheels from turning at all, that the Capitol wasn’t a castle, but just a building, that Democracy simply pivoted, moved aside, regrouped, and came back with more resolve. If that’s not a tight summary of Us against Trumpism I don’t know what is. They attacked, they seemed strong for a moment, and then Republicans and Democrats as one denounced the movement and got the election back on track, not even waiting a day to reenter the rooms that were taken from them so easily, but without any real, lasting damage. Trump didn’t really win anything, his mob didn’t really take anything, they were temporary, and they are already losing support across the country, as anyone with any sanity left distances themselves from a movement that was more goofy than groundbreaking.
I say none of this to lessen the evil that was done in Trump’s name, the policies that were enacted during his time that will have to be reversed, the voice he gave to those who were progressively being removed from our country’s narrative because they represented the worst in us: the KKK, the NRA, the Proud Boys, QAnon, all the “Karens”, your average racist grandpa. That hurt us, having these people reemerge, having Trump and his people in charge, having the world take a step away from us because we had lost control of our rational government. But what I’m saying is this; Donald’s accidental four years are up, his own supporters are slinking away, this latest outrage has shaken even his bat-shit base, and Democracy prevailed because we fought for it, and partially because they weren’t very good at being fascists. After all, it was their first takeover, they couldn’t be expected to be perfect at it, and, both in practice at the Capitol building and in a greater sense in America, real patriotism simply side-stepped and came back with a left hook, knocking out an attempt at extreme populism that only seemed to work for a time because we were slightly unprepared.
We won’t be caught off guard next time. We will see it coming. The Democratic Party now has control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, and there’s a reason for that; the American people don’t want Trumpism any more or ever again. We simply said no, and although we will remember every Representative, Senator, staff member, and voter who allowed this to happen by supporting the madness of a man who never should have been in charge in the first place, we at least recognize that when our Democracy was in danger the vast majority of sane Americans realized that it was time to say goodbye to the MAGA mindset. What do we do now? Keep fighting. Because while Trump may become a shell off his former self, while the Republican Party might splinter into factions, while the racists might start hiding their faces again, not every villain has fled the scene. Trump’s useless children still have political aspirations, seven Coup Caucus Senators voted against counting electoral votes for a new President, and countless rural Republicans are still out there ready to vote for the next politician who points at someone with dark skin and swears that *they* are the reason for all your woes. This cycle isn’t new, the U.S. didn’t invent it, but I think we licked it this time around, and soon our kids’ textbooks will associate the name ‘Trump’ with the term ‘sedition’, and that will be a good lesson learned.