Be angry supporters of Trump. Be angry. You have a right to be angry.
But not at who Donald Trump and the likes Lou Dobbs has told you to direct your anger at. You should be angry at Donald Trump and Lou Dobbs … and any other member of Republican leadership or conservative media who betrayed your trust, your loyalty and your patriotism.
As polling began to follow a pattern showing Trump losing the 2020 election – and while both observing Trump’s reaction to the chances of defeat and considering his history and nature – I made the following prediction in April 2019:
“Trump will lose the election. He will not accept it. He will lay the foundation of a false narrative that the election was rigged and stolen from him. He will encourage his followers to react to this ‘theft of democracy.’ His more fanatical followers will respond with acts of violence ranging from the takeover of federal property to using pipe bombs.”
And so it has happened. He has falsely claimed the election was rigged and stolen. He has encouraged a strong physical response from his followers not to accept the election results. The fanatics responded — the federal property they took over was the US Capitol where, in addition to Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs were discovered planted by those answering his call to take back their government. One insurrectionist carried cuffs to seize and hold captured Congressmen.
Be angry. Trump lied to you. There was no rigged election. Who says? His own Attorney General Bill Barr who has always served as Trump’s loyal watchdog. The head of the FBI who Trump appointed. The head of Homeland Security who Trump appointed. Republican officials who supported Trump conducting their own investigations into their own state’s election process. Sixty judges who reviewed 60 different cases and allegations of fraud – most of whom are conservative judges and many who were appointed by Trump. The Supreme Court — the conservative Republican Supreme Court — where 1/3 of the Justices are Trump nominees. All of Trump’s former Chiefs of Staff. Trump Cabinet members. Kevin McCarthy, leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate. Kelly Anne Conway.
Be angry. Fox News lied to you. Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Piro, Laura Ingraham lied to you. Who says? Besides the implications of the aforementioned who researched allegations of fraud, James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News says the prime time hosts of Fox News not only lied, but he holds them responsible for inspiring the insurrection and terrorist attack on Congress.
Be angry. You have been exploited. You have been used by an authoritarian who on January 23, 2016 acknowledged he was successfully creating a political cult of personality when he proclaimed to a cheering dedicated crowd “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters!” He, like all authoritarians before him, stood before his followers, broadly beamed and confidently inflated his chest as he advised them “Only I can fix it” to thunderous recognition.
Be angry. Like all authoritarians, he immediately went to work to control the information you hear. He called upon the presidents of all the media outlets to advise them how he wished to have his administration covered. He even provided a picture of himself that he preferred they use when referencing him on television. When the free press balked, he went to Plan B in the Authoritarian Handbook: persuade the people they cannot believe anything they read in the press or hear on the news. They can only believe what their leader tells them. The leader will tell them what his approved outlet for information will be. Thus began Trump’s campaign against knowledge by weaponizing the term “fake news” to the Associated Press and all other news media. Thus began an unholy partnership with Fox News which from its conception was created by Murdoch not to be an exercise in journalism but instead, by hiring the Republican political strategist who guided Richard Nixon during Watergate to develop his new project, was to be a political network of commentary to move voters to the Right of our political spectrum.
“Just remember,” Trump declared at an event, “what you are seeing and what you are hearing is not what is happening.” Instead, Trump instructed, don’t believe your own eyes and ears more less the free press. Believe only in your leader and his surrogates and follow their lead. Very little in politics can be more authoritarian in character and method than that. Very little can be less of American values.
Four years of self-serving pathological lying, propaganda and nurturing of a personality cult has resulted in the ultimate betrayal to you who have trusted him; to our democracy; as well as the ultimate exposure of an authoritarian. The refusal to abandon power. The need to find a means to maintain power. In our situation, his strategy was to guide his followers into believing an election was rigged and that he had actually won. His weapon of choice — or of necessity since other options were not available — was to drive his followers to insurrection. A coup, plain, simple and obvious.
If you were duped by this, then yes, you should be very, very angry.
DAVID BARBER, Escondido