The swarming of the US Capitol on January 6 by outraged supporters of President Donald Trump has produced an incredible array of reactions ranging from angry to hysterical, from Democratic Party officials, media pundits and the increasingly Orwellian “czars” of social media.
All parties concerned were guilty of not acting on reasonably foreseeable consequences. When a half-million people are riled up by an angry and bitter president whom they revere, would it be any surprise that the “mostly peaceful protesters” (if they were leftists, that’s how MSNBC and CNN would have characterized them) would invariably have among them some people intent on creating havoc?
Trump should have anticipated that and talked the crowd down. Regardless, where was the security? This gathering was neither a surprise nor a spontaneous event. It certainly doesn’t seem like any authorities anticipated the size and mood of the crowd.
The focus now is on demonizing Trump. He is being treated like the villain in a B-grade horror film who has to be killed three times to really be dead. The idea of impeaching a president in the last 10 days of his term is basically a revenge fantasy.
However, it is a fantasy that will have more important and longer-lasting implications than just the humiliation of the president.
First there is the ghastly specter of delegitimizing anyone or anything remotely connected with Trump. Besides being a gross exercise in undermining the civic and political culture of America, this reflexive reaction threatens to undo many of the true achievements of the past four years.
Perhaps the most significant and potentially most dangerous reaction to the aftermath of all this, however, is the message being sent to the “deplorables,” the tens of millions of Americans whose simmering anger and resentment at their perceived abandonment by America’s elites resulted in Trump’s election in 2016.
Anyone hoping for olive branches, expressions of understanding or respect for the concerns of these people will be greatly disappointed. President-elect Joe Biden, Mr. Lunch-bucket, the pride of working-class Scranton, Pennsylvania, has said exactly nothing that would indicate his interest in being the president of the people of America, in all their fullness and diversity.
Rather, he seems to be interested in overseeing the great retribution, the great purge, the great undoing of the past four years. He might also, quite realistically, be concerned that he not become a victim of the increasing Jacobin instincts of the far-left elements of his party.
AS A RESULT, the deplorables now see themselves more disenfranchised than ever. The one leader who truly focused on them is being destroyed, and their own identification with him is making them appear suspect and even reprehensible.
But does anyone really think all these people will just go home and cling to their guns and religion, as Barack Obama characterized them? Will they quietly be de-platformed, shut off or shut down, and be left to fend for themselves as American elites pursue a global reset that prioritizes abstract climate goals over the here-and-now job prospects of these people?
The real issues in America are far more pervasive and dangerous than the person of Donald Trump. America is a badly divided society, not just because of red and blue states, but more frightening, because of the division of those with prospects, connections and mobility, and those whose skills and work are becoming passé, or being off-shored and replaced with lower-skilled and lower-paying jobs.
In the leftist-induced world of intersectionality, the prospects of white working-class and lower middle-class citizens are of no importance. They are closet white supremacists to be feared and tamed.
One does not have to be a historian nor a futurist to see that this is a formula for disaster. Ignoring, or worse, disparaging the condition of tens of millions of Americans – Americans who defend the country, grow its food, make and deliver its goods and provide for its energy needs, among many other fundamental services – will ultimately have dire consequences.
It need not be this way. But a serious attempt at harmony requires, most importantly, understanding and awareness that there are valid reasons for discontent. Then there must be an attempt to listen, to relate and to address those concerns.
Traditionally, the elites of America understood that their vaunted status carried the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of those less fortunate than themselves. There was a “there but for fortune go you or I” awareness that each of us could fall into the abyss. And there was also the conviction that the promise of America was that each person could better himself, advance herself, and make for themselves a better life.
In other words, the elites rooted for their fellow citizens. Does anyone sense that such empathy and identification exists today among America’s elites?
On the verge of his inauguration, Joe Biden would be well advised to see himself in the mode of these former leaders who truly understood that Americans either come together, or all fall, each in their own way.
The author is the chairman of the board of Im Tirtzu, Israel’s largest grassroots Zionist organization, and a director of the Israel Independence Fund. His views are his own.