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The GOP Owns This

Abby Zimet

 by Common Dreams

Thugs 'R Us. Getty Image

The thugs have gone home - shamefully, mostly unmolested - while the country sifts through the rubble. Many remain stunned by the racism and incompetence of Capitol police who sat back and did nothing - "It's like watching a real-life horror movie - we train and plan and budget every day, basically, to have this not happen” - amidst firings, resignations and calls for  investigations. Videos of rampaging yahoos surface: Unruly crowds chasing a black officer; entitled neo-Nazis hurling f-bombs around the People's House; the Arkansas guy who put his feet on Nancy Pelosi's desk and took a letter from it - and, it seems, earlier got a PPP loan from the government he was rioting against - bragging, "I put a quarter on her desk, even though she ain't fucking worth it, and left her a note that says 'Nancy, Bigo was here you bitch.'" Pelosi herself focused on the madman who poked and prodded and incited it all, calling for Trump's removal and declaring, "This man is deadly, to our democracy and our people." Unsurprisingly, he kept proving it: As the mobs surged, he was still railing: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots." On Thursday, reports surfaced he had "lost it," was "out of his mind," was “unstable, ranting and raving” and “bent on destruction in his final days.” Meanwhile, as far as anyone knew, the guy deemed too dangerous to be allowed on social media still had the nuclear codes.

It is not, of course, just the mad king who's brought us to the brink. Even as debates rage about the efficacy of the 25th Amendment vs. impeachment, there's broad consensus the cursing, flag-draped MAGA hoodlums assaulting the Capitol were inseparable from the pandering, well-groomed GOP suits abetting the sociopath who'd spurred them on. From the National Review blasting the "mindless tyranny" and "nihilistic lawbreaking" - "Trump must pay" - to Mother Jones declaring "Trump is now a terrorist leader," a broad swath of America views the riot as the inevitable result of a toxic, complicit, ever-more  authoritarian Republican party that for four years has coddled and propped up a sociopathic tinpot dictator - and whose standard-bearers - McConnell, Cruz, Rubio, now Hawley - were "never confused about what they were doing." "Inside and outside were two faces of the same thing," writes Rebecca Solnit. "The mob outside would not exist without the politicians inside. Those insiders will make noises of horror and repudiation, but they own this." The GOP's claim to be the party of law and order, Solnit notes, is part of an authoritarian "ideology of inequality: I make the rules, you follow them," born of white male rage against the notion other people might be equal under the law. "Entitlement is too demure a word for this," she writes, adding "the mob was always going to happen" because Trump craved infinite power, whipped up a dutifully deranged army to achieve it, and lit the fuse: "This is what he wanted... and this is what we got." Hopefully, eventually, his enablers will pay the price. For now, urges David Frum, "Impeach. Remove. Indict. Incarcerate."

Taking a stand. New social media star Adam Johnson of Florida hauls off Pelosi's lectern. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Image

Class act: "Nancy, Bigo was here you bitch."

New Jersey's Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, first-generation American, son of Korean immigrants and Rhodes Scholar,  helps clean up the Capitol. Twitter photo

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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