The January Sixth events in Washington D.C., depicted in the corporate media as Donald Trump’s criminal “incitement to insurrection”, were predictably greeted by Democrats and their media as the worst tragedy to ever befall American democracy, the heinous plot to establish a police state — a coup d’etat, the final desperate act of a deranged tyrant. That might be considered something akin to surface discourse. Framed differently, those events could not have made the Dems happier, for by the time the last demonstrator left the Capitol the political floodgates were opened: total war against an entire nation of seditious Republicans, now demonized as “domestic terrorists”, could finally be adopted as full-fledged strategy. The perfect Dems scenario for gaining unchallenged power had been laid.
Beyond the moment of Capitol disorder the Dems would find, without much difficulty, that most precious of all gifts — a political godsend. Like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, national trauma would give the power elite just what it coveted – in this case the greatest of all opportunities to frame Trump and much of the Republican party as enemies of the state, collectively damned to ideological purgatory. January Sixth, like December Seventh before it, would serve as political code for converting national chaos into its very opposite: relief. The Dems, already beginning to solidify power in the White House, Congress, the media, and Big Tech, could now move toward a scorched-earth policy – war of annihilation.
In his book Cultures of Militarism, historian John Dower describes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as “political godsend”, a moment when humiliating military defeat (“day of infamy”) would allow president Franklin Roosevelt to do what he desperately wanted to do but could not in the face of an “isolationist” American public opinion—bring the U.S. into World War II. Pearl Harbor turned out to be a wonderful blessing in disguise for FDR, whose infamous eight-point program effectively provoked the Japanese into attacking the Pacific fleet in Hawaii. In the end, after four difficult years, victory would be heroically wrestled from defeat.
After what was portrayed as a “sneak attack” (military operations were supposed to be advertised in advance?), the New York Herald Tribune could exalt: “Since the clash now appears to have been inevitable, its occurrence brings with it a sense of relief. The air is clearer. Americans can now get down to their task [of waging war] with the old obstacles finally removed, forgotten.” Public opposition to U.S. entry into the war vanished in two hours one early Sunday morning. Democratic politicians, joined by a good many Republicans, were now ready to take military combat to Japan (and then Germany), as the attack had given FDR all the power, not to mention legitimacy, any president could possibly desire. Since 1941 Pearl Harbor has been ideological code for unlimited executive freedom, and Roosevelt energetically took advantage.
In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, shock turned to resolve, momentary defeat to righteous commitment. Victim status would be transformed into its opposite. Roughly the same dynamic would be repeated in the case of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which gave president George W. Bush “permission” to do what he and the neocons were already hellbent on doing – invading Iraq and “finishing the job” of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. In both cases – Pearl Harbor and 9/11 – national humiliation was mobilized to “reset” U.S. foreign policy.
For the present-day ensemble of Democratic elites – Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, et. al. – January Sixth at the Capitol could not have been more timely, more opportune. Truly another godsend. A jolt to the system, however feeble, partial, and ill-fated, would justify sustained authoritarian force across the public landscape. Seen as vile agents of treachery, Republicans would be thrown onto the defensive, immobilized. Pelosi, ready as ever for vengeful action, would say: “The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous. He chose to be an insurrectionist.” Trump’s behavior (in riling up demonstrators) would demand immediate and harsh retribution. Other Dems quickly followed Pelosi’s lead, amplified by a monolithically frenzied media. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shrill as ever and clearly speaking for the “progressive” squad, said: “I do believe we should exercise every avenue possible because the president has shown that his mental status and his actions are wildly eroding at a rapid pace.” Trump represents a “clear and present danger to our democracy”, she blustered, and must be removed from office as soon as possible.
Not to be overshadowed, Senator Chuck Schumer, reprising “Pearl Harbor” no less, would state: “I have never lived through or even imagined an experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside December 7, 1941 as a day that will live in infamy. Unfortunately, we can now add January 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy.” Oblivious to months of fire bombings, lootings, beatings, and killings across the streets and buildings of dozens of American cities (criminality that persists to this day) – all encouraged by the Dems — Schumer would add, hypocritically: “The temple of democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized.”
The authoritarian, virtually fascistic reaction of the media and political establishment was swift and, well, unhinged: the House would quickly move to impeach the president, again, Trump was permanently banned from Twitter and other social-media outlets, Republicans (even those far removed from the Capitol violence) were facing censorship, blacklisting, job loss, and thoroughly dishonest smears. Within a week the silencing of conservatives across the Internet had reached new heights. The long-cherished Beltway goal to destroy Trump, his family, and associates was in sight: any Trump hope for the presidency in 2024 would be smashed. Hysterical threats of “domestic terrorism” would mean, as always, a drastic Hobbesian response: maximum state power, strengthened ideological controls, the crushing of political opposition.
As Dower noted, the ideological code emanating from “Pearl Harbor” included yet another motif: the familiar stereotype of Asians (at that time) as sneaky, backstabbing, and irrational would be affirmed on December Seventh. Who else could carry out such a dastardly attack? The same code would naturally apply to millions (tens of millions) of deplorable Trump supporters – a motley assemblage of gun-toting racists and neo-Nazis. Didn’t those sanctimonious CNN pundits always warn about the backward white-supremacists seduced by the guile of the Orange Menace? Indeed. The truth was finally illuminated for every Beltway dweller to seize upon and embellish: Trump followers would now have to pay, their collective guilt revealed beyond doubt amidst the ashes of January Sixth.
So when all the enlightened Dems repeat their heartfelt sadness over the fate of the Republic, over Trump’s evil subversion of “our democracy”, it might be time to look more closely beneath the surface – or maybe head for the hills. If there were any bars open in the woke Democratic neighborhoods, that is probably where Pelosi, AOC, Adam Schiff, and other sad victims of the Orange Menace might be found gathering to celebrate, toasting to their unbelievably good fortune. Whether such celebrations might be long-lived, however, would be another matter. Fascistic politics has a tendency to devour its own ruthless protagonists.
Carl Boggs, UNZ Review