Folklore and science seldom arrive at precisely the same spot at precisely the same time.
When they do, those looking for truth should pay close attention. The science in this case is political science — -with due respect to a not insignificant number of people who claim that politics and science are different domains with little to offer each other.
The time is January 6, 2021; the place is Washington, D.C.; the identity of the king is not yet decided. The aphorism being tested is:
If you strike at the king, you had better kill him.
The exact words contained a bit more starch, put there by the young nation’s transcendentalist poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. While Emerson favored freedom and opposed slavery — for aren’t those the same position stated differently? — it’s hard to conceive of him as a warrior-poet.
Whether the king is considered to be Sir Donald Trump I or Sir Joe Biden I, he is not, at this writing, dead. If the king is Sir Donald, one result of his survival is playing out in the part of the media tasked to plant the House of Trump’s banner in post-truth politics:
What coup d’état?
I wasn’t scared.
These were all good patriotic Americans.
The only violence was in the rhetoric put out by Antifa.
The suicides were cowardly snowflakes and the only casualties were Ashli Babbitt and the First Amendment.
If Sir Joe is the king, he is about to pay the price of failing to consolidate his victory and take care of the insurrection the same way George Washington took care of the Whiskey Rebellion. It’s fair to say that the acts of the Biden government, like the rhetoric, display less aggression than the Trump government except perhaps when addressing Vladimir Putin.
The aggression of January 6 is whatever the beholder chooses, I suppose, because we are being asked by Sir McCarthy and Sir Cruz — as Sancho Panzas to Mr. Trump’s Quixote — -whether we will believe them or our lyin’ eyes and ears.
Hang Mike Pence!
Hang Mike Pence!
Any response to the insurrection by law enforcement or by Congress uncovers a sudden deference to the Bill of Rights. I would stir in some warrior-poetry if I were in charge of a Biden platoon, to the end of explaining how my fellow citizens can die over language no meaner than Emerson’s.
Authoritarian governments do not handle criticism in a manner safe for the critics, but all we know right now about the U.S. government is that a peace officer can shoot to kill without consequence into a mob hunting for the Vice President and/or the Speaker of the House.
This is still the United States, and I find it difficult to credit, in the abstract, an American White Rose. That organization involved six leaflets written by students at the University of Munich, distributed in a number of approximately 15,000, and punished with the guillotine.
The students who started the White Rose were executed in 1943, you say?
Point taken, so let’s fast forward to 2015, when a 17 year old Ali al-Nimr went to an anti-government demonstration, which got him sentenced to have his head whacked off in public and his headless torso crucified. Another government critic who did not take to the streets but merely blogged about those who did got 10 years, a $267,000 fine, and 1,000 lashes.
Those terrorists we are fighting can be real barbarians…but the cases above are from Saudi Arabia. Two years later, Sir Donald visited that kingdom and was taught how to boogaloo with a sword. In 2019, the same government commuted a death sentence to mere imprisonment for a young man who was ten years old when he criticized the government.
In the last reporting cycle, Sir Donald raised more political money than the Republican Party did. If the GOP is dividing into those who will make the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to kiss his ring and those who will not, it appears that the former group has both more bodies and more money.
I don’t think I’ll need to ask again who is playing the part of the king, but Joe of Delaware may soon be asking himself why he has ignored open sedition and allowed The Donald to pursue his friendships with wealthy autocrats in his boogaloo with sword drawn toward the 2024 election.