Jan. 8, 2021 8:00 am

Opinion: This is how coup d’états end

"In my op-ed here back in November, I wrote '[a]s we have seen in the past few days, supporters and politicians are taking [Trump] literally and seriously — and we need to be vigilant.' We were not vigilant," says guest columnist Ben Goebel.

(Photo by Dalton Caraway on Unsplash)

This opinion piece was written and submitted for publication consideration by Ben Goebel, an active Generocity reader. We welcome the perspectives of our readers for publication consideration as opinion pieces.
What did you expect would happen? For the past two months, Republican leaders have been either silent or complicit. Americans have spent too much time on their pedestals. After the election, I was told not to call the coup attempts, coup attempts.

Since then, the attempts moved along without anyone taking them seriously.

Americans believed that the strength of this democracy would trump any of the incertitude which exists in what people call Banana Republics. At least Banana Republics can claim outside influence to explain their condition.

This is an inside job.

The mob from yesterday did take Trump seriously. In my op-ed here back in November, I wrote “[a]s we have seen in the past few days, supporters and politicians are taking [Trump] literally and seriously — and we need to be vigilant.” We were not vigilant.

The President of the United States has been pumping up his army of brainwashed fans by reiterating over and over that he was cheated from his victory, from their victory. Day after day, bogus lawsuits have been thrown out by every court required by law to look at the facts, not the rhetoric. But still, everyday claims of fraud were shared by Trump enablers, even if no proof was available.

Republicans who were elected in November, were claiming that same election was fraudulent, even if their victory is the only reason why we were listening to what they’re saying in the first place. In Philadelphia, the life of commissioners were being threatened. Still, local Republican leaders did not speak out publicly.

People are going to blame the ones who voted for Trump. But they just performed their civic duty. I wish elected officials performed theirs. By talking to their constituents and bring some sense into their thoughts and their facts — not playing into their conspiracies for future electoral gain.

Four people died January 6. All that for what? Not for fighting for justice or against injustices. Not to dethrone a tyrant. But to put one in power. This could have been called a “revolution.” But revolutions make sense. This does not.

But don’t tell me this is not what America is — what happened yesterday is also part of America.

Trump has called immigrants “animals” and “murderers.” He has said “they are bringing crime.”  The people who forced elected officials to fear for their lives yesterday are Americans, and they’re not going anywhere.

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Right now, these same people are sharing all over the internet that the perpetrators were Antifa. Some Republican officials are also sharing this easily debunked conspiracy theory. If you are a real civil servant and know some of your voters that believe that, it is your duty to deny that publicly, and share the facts. We need to call out the leaders who stayed silent or pushed for the overthrow of the constitutional process.

Back in November, foreign leaders did not comment about the ways the American democratic process was being imperiled, they just congratulated Biden. Yesterday was different. In what world do we live in where the NATO Secretary General and the French Foreign Affairs Secretary have to call on Americans to calm down?

Still, I believe that community is the answer. Yes, let’s denounce and call out the enablers and prosecute the perpetrators from yesterday. But I believe we still need to keep reaching out to the people and not push them further into their isolation from facts and reality.

I will end with a quote from what is to me the best piece of writing about America, the last stanza of “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes:

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain —

All, all the stretch of these great green states —

And make America Again!


Read Ben Goebel’s November 10, 2020 op-ed Opinion: This is how coup d’états begin.


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