The smell of political intrigue
Say what you will about them, throughout history, revolutionaries of all stripes have not been passive observers. They have taken up arms and routinely risked their …
Say what you will about them, throughout history, revolutionaries of all stripes have not been passive observers. They have taken up arms and routinely risked their lives and the lives of both their followers and their foes to press a relentless quest for power.
In 1959, Castro and his troops stormed into Havana to seize state power. In 1918, Lenin and Trotsky led the victorious Russian rebel army into Moscow. After 50 years of protracted war, in 1949, the Red Army under Mao seized China’s government. On October 19, 1781, after five years of daring guerrilla warfare, General George Washington accepted the surrender of the British general, Charles Cornwallis, at Yorktown, VA. There are countless other examples.
In 1971, the poet and lyricist Gil Scott Heron famously wrote, “The revolution will not be televised.”
But somehow, when Donald Trump launched his January 6 attempted coup of our democracy, he seems to have thought that, in fact, he could sit home (the White House) and watch it all on television. He told his terroristic MAGA followers to overturn the results of a legally certified presidential election and thereby make him the new permanent U.S. autocratic leader. But somehow, physically, he left himself out of the mayhem. Although he lied and told his followers he would meet them at the Capitol, it seems that, “You make me president while I watch and wait right here,” was actually his grand plan. So, except for his tweets and bluster, he had no personal “skin in the game.”
The above-listed revolutionary heroes and villains did not sit on the sidelines and watch. Likely, in a revolution, TV celebrity absentee cowards will never win the day. Eventually, even spellbound and delusional followers will probably smell a rat. The rest of us have smelled it all along. The former president was never on anyone’s side but his own.