The Cruellest months
An abuser is the most dangerous when you leave him, and for America, that time is now. We are right now going through our most dangerous time. But you know that already. The day I write this, America recorded 200,000 new cases of COVID and nearly 2,000 deaths from the virus. And on the same day, the Speaker of the House and the Senate Leader from the Michigan Legislature went to the White House to talk to Trump about overthrowing the vote of the people and installing Trump as dictator.
The stakes could not be any higher. Neither could anxiety levels of countless millions of Americans who just want this all to end. And that’s what Trump is counting on. Our exhaustion. Our surrender. Our defeat.
I don’t believe what some say – that he knows its over and is just doing this to keep his base ginned up so he can start his own tv station. For one, that would require work. For two, that doesn’t solve his most pressing problem, which is that he faces a mountain of lawsuits and loses his legal protection the moment he has to change his address. He has one hell of a motivation to stay in office and will do anything he can to achieve that. And he doesn’t care who he burns or what he destroys in the process.
Sadly, neither do millions of his followers.
Which is why Trump has narrowed his fury on my state – Michigan – in his desperate attempt to hold onto power. And the only thing staying in his way, or so he seems to think, are a couple hundred thousand voters in Wayne County. And it just so happens that they are overwhelmingly Black, of course of course. I don’t know if that even registers with trumpists consciously, but what does is that they voted Democrat, and Democrats are the enemy.
I went to the state Capitol the day Biden was finally forecast to be the winner of the election. Around the country, spontaneous victory celebrations were breaking out. But in Lansing, Trump cult loyalists were converging on the Capitol for a “stop the steal” rally. As news broke that Biden, and not Trump, would win, it was not a mood of defeat that took hold of the crowd. They did not feel they had lost. They just didn’t believe it. Instead, they believed that Democrats truly had cheated. And really, Democrats weren’t even people. “Demoncrats,” the man at the podium said, and I had heard it all before.
But he meant it. It wasn’t rhetoric. “That’s what they are, demons,” he repeated. “They are agents of the devil himself.” The crowd around me cheered. The hair on the back of my neck prickled.
I was reminded that before the Rwandan genocide broke out, the Tutsi were called cockroaches. Jews were described as vermin by Germans. And now Democrats were demons. Many of the people around me had showed up armed to the teeth. The message sent was not subtle in the slightest.
The following days showed that Trump has no plans of going quietly into that good night. There will be no concession, even though his legal “strategy” is failing every possible test. If there will be no legal relief for him, then what?
Someone Will Have to Pay
If there’s one thing about Trump we know, it’s that he will never take accountability for anything, and once he identifies someone to blame, he wants them punished.
Well, I’ve got bad news.
What is an election if not a decision made by the public – the people – us? So if he failed to win an election, and we know he himself couldn’t possibly be to blame, and the courts don’t back his claim of fraud – who, then is there to blame.
Take a good look in the mirror and whoever is sitting next to you, because that’s it. Us. We’re to blame. We failed Trump at his most critical moment, and there is going to be hell to pay. Again, this is nothing new, and it’s not just domestic violence. Cult leaders and dictators do the same damn thing all the time.
When everyone knew World War II was a lost cause and Germany was doomed to defeat, Hitler wouldn’t concede. He withdrew to his bunker and refused to take blame for what had happened. Instead, it was the German people who had failed him, and it would be the German people who would pay. They were ordered to offer up their young sons and old men to die n the cause, and die they did. Boys as young as 12. Men as old as 60. Hitler wanted his military to inflict even more damage on the German people by destroying roads, bridges, utilities, factories, mines and other infrastructure as the war ended. Armaments minister Albert Speer refused to carry out this “Nero Decree,” though the war itself did considerable damage. Why did this happen? Because Germans had failed him, and worse, some had hailed conquering British and American troops as liberators. Germans wanted to leave him, and abusers are always most dangerous when you want to go.
Lest anyone think I’m just a chicken little who screams about Hitler (really, it’s because my mother grew up there and then, so it’s what I grew up hearing about and formed my point of reference), here’s another example: Jonestown. At one point, Jim Jones was a preacher in America who was known for drawing a multiracial following that emphasized racial justice. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted empire, so he created one in Guyana. But living in a jungle wasn’t easy, or fun. When people started writing letters home full of tales hardship and abuse in South America, politicians started to take note, and one – Congressman Leo Ryan – came calling. Jones wanted to schmooze Ryan, but that plan was mucked up when several cult members approached the congressman and asked for help escaping. That sealed everyone’s fate. Jones sent gunmen to pursue the congressmen to the airport, where he was killed. Later that day, Jones told his following that the time had come, that soldiers were closing in, and that it would be better for everyone to die now. Some did it willingly – they drank cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. Those who didn’t were murdered. Jones shot himself. In all, 909 died, a third of them children. Why? Because some wanted to leave, and abusers are most dangerous when you want to go.
Which brings us to today.
What to Expect When You’re Rejecting
Nov. 3 wasn’t just an election. It was a rejection of Trump, and no one felt that more keenly than Trump himself, even as he refuses to publicly acknowledge that’s what it was.
Right now, we’re seeing how he’s punishing us.
Have you looked at how America is doing with COVID-19 compared to other nations lately? It’s an eye-opener. There’s no excuse – none – why we’re racking up more than 201,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day when the next highest new case rate in the world, India, is just counting 46,288 new cases – and their population is about 3x our size. Three states on Friday recorded 13,000 or more new cases of COVID-19, roughly the same number as Iran, which ranked 12th in the world for new COVID-19 cases Friday. No reason at all for us to look so embarrassing.
Except this: it’s not incompetence, it’s a punishment. Trump doesn’t just not care if you die, he wants you to die. He thinks you deserve it because you didn’t have his back.
That’s called democide, or murder by government. It is the ultimate abuse. It is the stuff of genocide and ethnic cleansing and colonialism and slavery and all the other great evils humanity has known.
He knows we won’t all die, of course. And he knows he probably won’t get to stay in the White House. But miracles (from his point of view) happen – like it did for him in 2016. So he’s rolling the dice. Meanwhile, he is going to tear down every bit of democratic infrastructure he can for two reasons:
- If he does succeed in staying in power, he will make sure he and his family never gets this close to losing it again.
- If he does not win, he wants to create as big of a mess as possible so Biden will start in a deep hole and have to climb out of it.
So, what to expect?
Every dirty trick. You see it here in Michigan. Attempts to voiding votes. Frivolous lawsuits. Refusing to certify elections, then certifying them, then saying you didn’t mean to. Summoning leaders of the state Legislature to the White House to strategize stealing an election. And that’s just what we can see from the outside looking in.
Meanwhile, the trumpists I saw on the lawn with the guns and the flags are standing down and standing by. Don’t imagine they have forgotten. And there are still two months to go.
I wish it would just be over, I honestly do. But the only way to get over it is to go through it. Just like leaving an abusive partner – the only way to do it is to finally do it. There’s no guarantee once you do that everything will end up as you hoped. But I can promise you this: until you leave, no good change will come.