Donald Trump’s paper tigers

I’m reminded of the story of the late Member of Parliament and British lieutenant-colonel Airey Neave, an ex-prisoner of the Gestapo who was one of the military lawyers at Nuremberg, when he went from cell to cell and thought, “We were frightened for years by this? This gaggle of sniggering, talentless, self-pitying picknoses?”

What he meant by “this” was the dreary remnant of the Third Reich. What remained behind, once the luminescing glow of fanaticism had winked out of their eyes, was the mostly moist-eyed insincerity of grovelling self-justification. Had they only known how bad it really was they would have fought against it, they claimed. In the end they were, after all, only following orders, they claimed.

And here we are once more, wondering on yet another occasion what we are going to do with the fascists once they’re safely tucked away in their modern Nuremberg equivalents. Once Trump is safely out of office a lot of people are probably going to prison. We need to decide in advance that we are not going to be lenient. We must remain diligently just by recalling, above all, how many Americans are now dead, disenfranchised, bullied, marginalised and unjustly excoriated and blamed by this awful man and his disgusting, fawning, lickspittle regime. We deserve our day in court.

Above all we have a right and a duty to imagine how they would have behaved had they recouped power for another four years. If we learn nothing else from Trump and his ilk we must learn that he and they get worse with age, not better. Susan Collins to the contrary, Donald Trump never “learns his lesson.”

It’s important to remember that we have a little less than six months left in which to endure Donald Trump. Before you comfort yourself with the knowledge of how short a time that is, recall that six months ago it was January, 2020, and we knew nothing of George Floyd and little of coronavirus. Portland? Which do you mean, Maine or Oregon? How different the socio-political landscape has become in so little time, and how much cruel viciousness has spewed forth from the bile and blood-splattered Oval Office since.

Here I’m going to use the f-word again, fascism. Trump’s make believe problem with the November election, calling it in advance “the most rigged election in history” 90 some days before it even happens is pure fascism. Trump claims he wants a fair election but he can’t allow it to go forward if it’s rigged, of course.

First, let’s be clear about something. The election will go forward. The statute decreeing that it will go forward as scheduled, on time and on this third of November was enacted in 1845, and it can only be changed by an act of Congress. Congress isn’t about to change it. Donald Trump’s paper tiger threat backed by his paper tiger attorney general is a hollow one. They simply lack that power.

Trump is preparing the way to deny the election results in the event he loses. That is why we must heed Hillary Clinton’s injunction to vote in such overwhelming numbers for Joe Biden as to leave no doubt that Trump isn’t wanted any more, and he isn’t wanted by a convincing landslide.

One day, and that day is not far away, you will look at these men and women in the docks of federal courtrooms across the land and you will ask yourselves, “We were frightened for years by this? This gaggle of sniggering, talentless, self-pitying picknoses?” Trump and his paper tigers will soon be gone, and whatever new outrages they commit or try to commit between now and their unceremonious eviction from office in January will also be held against them in a court of law, together with the other crimes they have committed over the years. Until then hang on to your hats, this is not over yet. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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