Thursday, January 21

A prayer for the Capitol

Among all the columns that I have dedicated to Donald Trump Since the beginning of your mandate, there are three in particular that I have reread this week and that have not made me feel either displeasure or regret.

One, from January 2018, in which compared with father Ubú, that King of the Carnival as selfish as he was abúlio, as greedy as he was ignorant, and also irascible, conspiratorial, eschatological, tyrannical and whose “comic abomination”, according to the great Alfred Jarry, would be an image of the powers that loomed on the horizon.

Then I wrote another in January 2017 in which – bringing up the Talmudic apologist for the pig herder turned king and rediscovered by Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, west of Edom, in the skin of Emperor Diocletian – I was saying to the men of goodwill and, in particular, to American Jews who make an alliance with such a character, give up your good judgment in the face of such vulgarity, kneel, even in a tactical way, in front of this bad shepherd who respects nothing more than the power, money, stucco and gold of his palaces, in short, surrender not to Pompey or Ahasuerus, but to Diocletian, could be compared to a suicide.

Supporters of Donald Trump, during the taking of the Capitol.

Then I also wrote another in September 2020 in which I remembered the story of Romulus Augustus, that little Augustus, that cruel and ridiculous child king, the last emperor of Rome with such a strangely fateful name – the name of the founder-turned-undertaker, a a name that spoke of the classical boom and splendor disfigured by the diminutive suffix. In that text, in which he remembered how they found Romulus Augustulus, on the day of his impeachment At the hands of the Roman senators, when Odoacer, king of Hérules, caused him to abdicate: chattering, “tweeting” in his chicken coop.

And there we are now.

The question is not whether or not to call this operation a “coup”, which has ended up being pathetic, carried out in the midst of an uproar of curses.

After the events of last week, the day after those astonishing images of hooligans in trapper hats taking the Jefferson, Roosevelt and Kennedy seats by storm, the question is no longer whether or not Trump is responsible in the first person. : without a doubt it is because it was he who, with your explicit calls to march against the Capitol, it has turned the “lights on the hill” of American exceptionalism into fires of hate and criminality in a matter of hours.

The question is not whether to call or not “coup” to this operation that has ended up being pathetic, carried out, in the midst of an uproar of curses, tweets and selfies at the hands of a group of mothers of families in military uniform, half-naked plotters with a Goldorak helmet or QAnon militants with tattoos Nazis on the chest: the mutineers of February 6, 1934, did not look much more imposing than these; Nor the small group of anti-Gaullist generals from Algeria on that April 21, 1961; Neither did the coup leaders who opened fire twenty years later in the Spanish Parliament; neither were those of the conspiracy of Catilina, whom Cicero put in his place … In any case, those events were also, on each occasion, a kind of coup d’état …

The question is not to get carried away by the current debates, which for the moment are secondary, to find out if private companies such as Twitter and Facebook had their right to veto the factious president: the problem is undoubtedly important and someday, in the future , you will have to sit down to develop a true reflection on the mixed status, private medium and public medium, from the social media account of a character from the political class, followed by tens of millions of followers, who calls for sedition. The essential thing, at that time, was to take emergency measures which, according to Machiavelli, when he reflected on the violent coups against the Roman Republic, were the only ones who could break the momentum of a defeated president ready to take the assault, after the congress, his own office.

No. The real question is the historical or historical significance of this sequence.

For the moment, two precedents prevail.

In 390 a. C., the geese of the Capitol. Juno’s holy geese awoke in extremis to the former consul Marco Manlio Capitolino (Would it be Mike Pence today?) and thus the assault against the Republic was stopped.

And then, many centuries later, the sack of Rome at the hands of Alaric, who met no resistance to stop him and whose troops, as the best chronicler of the destruction of the Eternal City would later tell, used ancient vessels as “Feeders for their horses”, column shafts as “riders for their knights” and statues to make “lime” …

Erdogan and Putin’s dream – humiliating democracy – has ultimately been realized by a handful of Americans

In other words, Is this sequence an episode or an omen? An accident or a moment in history in capital letters? Was it the outburst of madness of a dethroned king drunk with resentment who, like Richard III or Nero, would be able to carry the greatness of the Republic to the abyss or another stage in the inevitable decline of the American empire and its institutions, whose great symptom has been Trumpism?

I don’t believe in fatality.

I think there is still departure and it depends on what the people in charge of the Biden administration do or not do in the next days and hours, but also all the Ted Cruz, the Mitch McConnells and the Lindsey Grahams, all those republican leaders who must speak without further delay and say loud and clear if they plan to allow a minority of barbarians to destroy the party of Abraham Lincoln and John McCain.

America’s heart is in the hands not of gods, but of men.

Erdogan and Putin’s dream – humiliating democracy – has ultimately been realized by a handful of Americans; so it is up to many others to replace, or not, the altar of victory in the Capitol.

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