Those four words, followed by an explicit repudiation and an unqualified concession, are what a true leader would have said during yesterday’s riotous chaos at the Capitol building.

Those four words would be the feeling and sentiment of a statesman, of a person who held aloft the nation’s principles. That statesman could have exhausted the many legal means available to challenge the electoral outcome, could have accepted the repudiation of all those challenges in courts of law (many of them headed up by his appointees or appointees purportedly of his party), and could have declared his fealty to the Constitution and all the citizens of the nation.

Instead, we got a half-assed message, a tepid “go home peacefully,” offset with continued inflammatory “your victory was stolen” rhetoric and a not-so-subtle call for perseverance. Hours later, after darkness, a curfew, and law enforcement/security had cleared the building, and Congress reconvened to certify the election, he gave us some more half-ass:

Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.

Not the words of a true leader, but rather those of a petulant sore loser who was cornered into saying them.

His Vice President and his Senate Majority Leader found no just cause to support his Quixotic (as in unable to separate reality from fiction, not just pointless) assault upon the outcome of the election, and stepped up in fidelity to their oaths of office to reject his demands that they break every last vestige of institutional (and Constitutional) integrity in order to flip reality in Trump’s favor.

The damage done by yesterday’s utter embarrassment will resonate for a long time. The red hats of MAGA crowd, even those appalled by yesterday, will find those hats are now scarlet letters, and Trump’s legacy will be that much easier for the Democrats to unravel. The possibility of moderation by Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi, given their razor-thin majorities, is diminished, and the far-Left will push its ruinous agenda harder and harder. The “good people” narrative will be forever rebutted with images of loons and hooligans trashing Congressional chambers, and no amount of whataboutism or “Antifa False Flag” conspiracy theorizing will do anything to win over those who recoiled from this mess. And, the last people in the world who deserve it, i.e. Pelosi and Schumer, will be able to claim moral high ground in their political machinations.

Many Trumpists will persist, despite the obvious damage this has done to their brand and their cause. I saw too many “this is the start of the civil war” comments, although most of them were certainly empty Internet-warrior chest-thumping. That they’re failing to accept that Trump lost, despite the reality of the blatant loathing a sizable chunk of the nation had for him, is the same Quixote-delusion that Trump himself has been putting forth since Election Day.

Some of Trumps most ardent supporters in the press are now (and deservedly) excoriating him for setting this disaster in motion. Some are calling for a 25th Amendment removal of Trump, as soon as possible. Others are calling for impeachment and removal. Neither is likely to happen before the 20th, but impeaching him for incitement would be his just deserts. That he finally committed to leaving the White House is probably the only thing that’ll save him from that ignominy, and mostly for practical reasons.

No matter what, this is the end of Trumpism. Its destruction lies in his petulance, his pettiness, and his smallness, no matter the successes of his term. Rather than going down in history as a necessary disruptor of the Leviathan, he will forever be known as the Great Debaser of the Republic.

The four words he should have uttered are instead being expressed, in various ways, by many who shared common ground. Staffers are quitting, supporters are abandoning, and transactionalists (who saw him as a lesser evil) are saying “no mas.”

Our nation is diminished by yesterday’s debacle. It remains to be seen what will rise from the rubble, but I’m not hopeful. The partisan divide will remain, the tribalism may jumble a bit but will also remain, and no one at or near the top has either the gravitas or the desire to resolve any of it. Half the country will feel that the other half is trying to “do unto” them, and they won’t be wrong, because that’s what our current crop of politicians do (and that’s what most of them have been elected to do). It’s a bad day for liberty, because this is exactly the sort of thing liberty’s enemies love to leverage. ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’

As for the Internet warriors, all in a mad rush to elevate themselves above their fellow citizens? If you’re still tub-thumping about civil war, the boogaloo, and the like, I don’t want to hear it. You’ve picked a house of cards upon which to build your indignation. If you’ve suddenly emerged to condemn violence in public protests, after silence or condoning of what we witnessed all summer, I don’t want to hear it. Your moral preening is as transparent as a freshly-Windexed window. If you instantly and conveniently found “evidence” that this was all caused by Antifa instigators, just… stop. Making baseless conspiratorial excuses for your team’s grotesque behavior puts you in the “not worth listening to” category. And if you’re among those who dubs himself a “patriot,” with all the outward trappings? This isn’t patriotism, it’s a cult of personality fixated on the worst possible choice for it. What’s going on in our government is gross, but shitstorms like this are not the way.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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