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Troubled thoughts, one week after the election


I think I hit a new emotional low today. As if things weren’t depressing enough, what with the pandemic, Gus dying, and me staring my mortality in its dark face, I heard something that dreadful Mike Pompeo said, and it really freaked me out.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” he announced, with a smirk, at a press conference. He used the same phrase, “counting every legal vote,” that Trump’s slave, Kayleigh McEnany, has been using, a phrase implying that Biden’s five-million vote plurality was illegal. And he implied that Republican governors will make sure that electors from their state disregard the election results and instead appoint Republican stooges.

When I heard that, I had to go out for a walk.

The weather has turned chilly here in Northern California, after a spectacular six months of paradise, so I bundled up against the wind. And walked, and walked, and walked for many miles. My head and heart were so troubled. I really am not ready for a coup d’état by Republicans, but it looks like that’s what they’re planning. If we’ve learned anything about Trump and his storm troopers after four years, it’s that he means what he says—and when he says he won’t accept the results of the election, we have to believe that he won’t. He has the power of the Pentagon (including the National Guard) until Jan. 20, 2021, and I don’t doubt that he’ll use it if he feels like he needs to.

He also has the power of the millions and millions of “proud boys,” QAnons, and other white militia types, many if not most of whom have weapons and know how to use them. We elite coastal wimps, of course, do not have weapons, so if it comes to that, what are we supposed to do? History, so the old saying goes, is written by the winners. Trump and his lackeys understand that perfectly well. They’re prepared to be Genghis Khan, or Sherman riding through Georgia, pillaging, looting, burning and destroying everything in sight.

Look: Trump himself said, on Fox “News” (where else?), that America’s problems will only be “solved…when the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great.”

His acolyte Steve Bannon—now banned for life from Twitter for threatening to murder his political opponents—said the same thing.  “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Their game plan is clear. It’s right there in plain sight. Burn it all down. Values, institutions, the Constitution, the opposition Democratic Party, the government, the federal agencies, the courts, the media, Hollywood, the LGBTQ community, foreigners, Muslims, liberals, and all the rest that they hate. And what would Republicans do when loyal American citizens resist their assault? “Put heads on spikes,” Bannon saidin other words, behead—Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. head, and Dr. Fauci. He would then “put [the heads on pikes] at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.”

Why are we not taking these psychopaths,Trump and Bannon, at their word? They said these things. Why do we assume they’re just indulging in hyperbole? They’re not. These madmen are for real. They cannot be stopped using ordinary means. No court decision will deter them, no complaining on MSNBC, no editorial in the New York Times, no Twitter appeal from Rob Reiner, no peaceful demonstration by the  National Federation of Democratic Women, no March on Washington, no letters to the editor, no appeals to Gavin Newsom or Kamala Harris, no Lincoln Project. If the Republican thugs think they can get away with a coup, they’re perfectly happy to do it, convinced as they are they will win. They’ve studied the history of revolutions, and they know that the best way to take over a government is to ruthlessly overthrow the old government, install themselves, and intimidate the citizenry from doing anything about it.

And these are the thoughts that so troubled me on my walk. I admit that I’m pretty depressed lately. I’d like to see some light at the end of the tunnel, something to give me hope that Biden and Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, and we can restore normalcy to America (and that the pandemic will go away, and Gus’s tumor will shrink). But right now, I’m just not seeing any of that.

  1. As to Pompeo’s statement, I only read it, and didn’t see or hear it. Was he laughing or smiling? How could he have said that with a straight face?
    As to Trump’s control over the Pentagon and the National Guard, I’ve recently said something I never would have said in the 1960’s or 70’s: I trust the military leaders to do the right thing and protect democracy.

  2. As I wrote in my post, he said those words with a smirk. Was it a smirk of, “You guys know I’m kidding, right?” or was it, “You don’t like it? Too fucking bad, because that’s the way it’s going to be”? You decide.

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