“Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there, it will be wild!“Donald Trump tweeted on December 19, a week after his would-be brown-shirt supporters rioted on the streets of Washington to protest the” stolen “election. When The day – The culminating day of the battle arrived: Trump gathered his true believers in the South Ellipse of the White House for a “Save America” rally, and invited them to climb Pennsylvania Avenue as his army to uncertify Congress of the votes of the electoral college in the presidential elections.
Near the steps of the Capitol, as Trump’s shock troops prepared for the assault on the citadel, they built a naked but dramatic monument to his revenge fantasy: wooden gallows with steps leading to a swinging rope. Fighting their way through the windows and doors of the Capitol, they rampaged in a mad dash, smashing furniture, cutting up pictures and looting offices. One of the invaders wandered the corridors carrying a large Confederate flag, the first and only time that Slave Power emblem has appeared inside the Capitol.
Just two weeks earlier, on December 21, at the request of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the statue of Robert E Lee that the state had gifted to Congress in 1909 to represent it at Statuary Hall was replaced with one of Barbara Rose. Johns Powell, who as a teenager had been a member of the Virginia public schools. Trump’s mob had first rebelled in 2017 in defense of another Lee statue, in Charlottesville, Virginia, after the city council voted to remove it.
“The Jews will not replace us!” they sang, and a young woman was killed by a neo-Nazi. Trump praised them as “very good people” and tweeted: “It is sad to see the history and culture of our great country being torn apart by the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”
The troublemaker parading through the Capitol with a Confederate flag, as if he had reached the peak of Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, was captured in a photo between two portraits from the Senate side, one of Senator John C Calhoun, the ideologue proslavery. and void from South Carolina, and the other from Senator Charles Sumner, the abolitionist from Massachusetts. The neo-Confederate troublemaker seemed indifferent to the images, even as he flaunted the Lost Cause symbol of Trump’s lost cause in a new civil war.
On a Valentine’s Day to the Capitol Vandals, Trump proclaimed, “We love you” and “You are special.” The mob was a mix of true believers in conspiracy theories, paranoid delusions, and twisted history. For QAnon’s followers, his presence on Capitol Hill was the moment when the storm of the rapture would bring about the revelation of Trump’s final plan and his restoration to perpetual power. It was the culmination of Trump’s promise of apocalyptic change. To neo-Nazis, who carried flags with abstract versions of broken swastikas and Latter-day Klan members tattooed, it represented racial supremacy. Charging the gates of the Capitol was storming the gates of heaven. Or, alternatively, it was a heroic last-minute defense of Trump’s bunker against the onslaught of hordes of impure infidels led by Joe Biden.
As William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past. “But the warped story that Trump’s mob believes he is enacting, recreating, or conjuring is a fantasy drama of militant ignorance. The true story sheds more light on his feeble coup attempt than his fervent visions of Liberal pedophile celebrities performing in concert with the deep state and the Illuminati.
When senators scrambled to hide from violent attackers, he recalled the near-fatal attack on Charles Sumner. In 1856, after delivering a sinuous speech against the effort to turn the Kansas territory into a slave state, “The Crime Against Kansas,” Sumner sat at his desk on the Senate floor writing letters. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina, offended by his comments, beat him with a gold-handled cane until he was nearly dead. Blood ran on the floor of the Senate. Sumner’s beating was a precipitous outrage that helped spark civil war.
President Lincoln was determined that Washington would never fall to the Confederacy. He surrounded the city with forts. Tens of thousands of troops were stationed there. In August 1864, when a Confederate army came into view of the Capitol, Lincoln himself rushed to Fort Stevens to take part in the battle and was shot. A young officer, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, later a Supreme Court Justice, yelled at him, “Down, fool!”
Lincoln led the rebuilding of the Capitol dome, originally a wooden structure that had rotted away, as a symbol of confidence in the final victory of democracy. The dome was completed in December 1863, a month after Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address proclaiming “a new birth of freedom.”
Lincoln’s second inauguration took place in the newly restored Capitol. He ordered the units of black soldiers, who had been recruited as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation, to be present in force. In the Rotunda, where Trump’s rioters were frolicking recently, there was an uproar when Lincoln passed. A man running forward was immobilized, later identified as John Wilkes Booth. The famous actor had become a Confederate secret service agent who stalked Lincoln. Booth walked up to the Capitol Portico to watch Lincoln as he spoke. One hundred and fifty-six years later, Trump’s mob crawled up where Booth had been.
“Right makes power,” Lincoln had declared in his 1860 Cooper Union address, which launched him into his campaign for the presidency. Six months later, on July 11, 1860, Charles Sumner came to Cooper Union to support Lincoln’s candidacy speaking on the subject The Republican Party: Its Origins, Necessity, and Permanence. He defined the new liberal party as the antithesis of John C Calhoun, “head of all claims to slavery and slave masters”, who attacked “the self-evident truths of the declaration of independence as ‘absurd’, and then proclaimed that human beings they are ‘property’ according to the constitution. “
“Everything that the Republican Party now opposes,” Sumner said, “can be found in John C Calhoun.”
But now, it should be evident in Trump’s final days, when he invokes the spirit of Calhoun’s override, that the original Republican party has ceased to exist. The staunch Trump waving the Confederate flag on Capitol Hill mocks the constitutional democracy Lincoln died for. Not since John Wilkes Booth’s intrusion had there been such a treacherous presence.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism