The Trump supporters who stormed into the U.S. Capitol last week finally did what four years of political opposition couldn't: They exposed the slimy underbelly of Trumpism in a way that is unmistakable and undeniable.
The entire world saw — plainly and clearly — just what kind of America Trumpism has created.
Make America Great?
Trump's thugs wanted to destroy America, to undermine democracy by interfering with Congress' action to accept the Electoral College votes naming Joe Biden as president.
The rioters claimed to be "patriots," but there was nothing patriotic about what they did or wanted to do, which was to overturn a valid election with violence.
Protesting is one thing — I'm all for protesting — but violently storming the main symbol of American democracy isn't protesting, it's sedition and treason.
The MAGA brigade didn't go to Washington to make America great, they went to destroy it.
Which means that every single person who stormed the Capitol is a traitor.
And nobody — nobody — should have been surprised that it happened.
Over the last four years, Trump has purposefully polarized the nation, demonized his political opponents as "enemies of the people," spewed lies and unfounded conspiracies, praised white-power racists, and cultivated support from the violent fringes of the far-right. He weaponized social media as a bullhorn to inflame the passions and emotions among his followers with propaganda and lies.
Where else did anyone think all that heated rhetoric would end, except with violence?
In defeat, Trump was never going to leave office without laying waste to everything around him. If that means burning it all down, destroying the nation, he doesn't care. He never cared.
America has always had political tensions. But America has never had a president — until now — who purposefully threw gasoline on the embers of hatred then fanned the flames every single day with a spewing of lies and distortions.
Trump created Jan. 6, 2021.
He and his appeasers have repeatedly lied that the election was stolen from him.
He called on people to go to Washington on Jan. 6 to protest his election loss.
He riled up the crowd with a speech just before they marched down the street and stormed the Capitol building.
He didn't have the courage to march with the crowd, but his bloody fingerprints are all over the Capitol. He cheered them on and was gleeful as they broke into the building.
Like all demagogues, Trump only cares about himself, his ego, his ambition.
He was never going to go quietly, with dignity, or with respect for America and its tradition of democratic values.
He's made that clear every day since his defeat on Nov. 3.
It should have been obvious to those protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6. The failure to protect the Capitol from MAGA rioters was the result of willful ignorance.
But Trump isn't the only one to blame for the rioting.
Everyone who turned a blind eye to his lack of character and erratic behavior also shares the blame for Jan. 6.
Every Congressman and Senator who excused Trump's excesses, deflected his narcissism and kissed his ring over the last four years is to blame. That includes our own Rep. Doug Collins, one of Trump's chief defenders in Congress.
Every so-called "evangelical" preacher who stood in a pulpit praising the amoral Trump and demonizing his political opponents is to blame.
Every person who went on social media to spread Trump's lies and conspiracies is to blame.
Every Republican Party leader who embraced Trump as one of their own despite his anti-Republican values is to blame.
Trump burned the house down, but he had a lot of help spreading the gasoline around.
But the burning of a house also throws embers far and wide and the destruction spreads.
For one, the Republican Party is in shambles following Jan. 6 and four years of Trumpism.
Once a proud party of conservative American values, it is now the party of cultism, lies, crazy conspiracies and nihilism. Moderate Republicans are in hiding, embarrassed that their party is now defined by ignorance and violence.
And Republicans are, for now, broken. At the same time Trump's Republicans were smashing windows at the nation's Capitol, Georgia elected its first black Senator and first Jewish U.S. Senator, both Democrats.
That result is due to Trump, who assailed state Republican leaders who refused to throw out legitimate election results and give him the state's electoral college votes by fiat.
Trump's own actions led to the defeat of the state's two Republican candidates in that election. He divided the state GOP and gave life to Democrats, who turned out in droves to give their party control of the Senate.
Trump lost Georgia twice, first on Nov. 3 and again on Jan. 6.
Sherman burned Georgia in 1865; Trump did it again in 2020.
That Civil War analogy isn't too far off, either. America is in another domestic conflict today, one that has a different battlefield and uses different weapons, but a civil war none-the-less.
Today, the battlefield is social media and the weapons are propaganda and conspiracies.
Trump has proven to be a master of propaganda. He tells a lie so big and so often that a lot of people start to believe it. He magnifies the lies via social media, sites that only now, when it's too late, have begun to strip him of access.
It was a lie that motivated the MAGA thugs in Washington D.C. last week, the lie that multiple states had worked to "steal" the election from Trump.
Trump endorsed the lie, promoted the lie, spread the lie and encouraged his cult followers to act on the lie.
But nobody stole the election from Trump. The voting was not rigged. There is zero evidence — zero — to back up his claim.
No matter, in the social media world, any lie is magnified as being greater than the truth. There are few filters. Ignorance runs amuck on social media.
That's especially true after Trump spent the last four years demonizing legitimate news sources as being "enemies of the people." He worked to discredit truth and reality so he could spread fiction and fantasy.
In Trump's world, those of us who care about facts and truth are the "enemy," the lie from Big Brother is your friend.
It may be 2021, but Trump lived the playbook of Orwell's 1984.
If there is any saving grace to come from Jan. 6, it is that Trump's lies and their consequences were laid bare for the world to see.
Some might claim that Trump supporters weren't the problem, but they clearly were. It wasn't Antifa. It wasn't BLM. It wasn't socialists.
It was Red Hat Trumpites who rioted.They carried Trump flags as they stormed the Capitol, broke out windows, smashed doors, stole property, defecated on the floor, caused at least five deaths and defaced the symbol of American democracy.
Trump did that. His supporters did that. His enablers did that.
There can be no denial, no equivocation, no doubts. We all saw it.
At least now the world sees clearly what Trumpism is really all about. Trumpism can no longer wrap itself in the American flag, or falsely lay claim to be about American values.
Trumpism is anti-democratic, anti-freedom, anti-American. It is populist bunk.
And the violence may not be over.
The FBI warned this week that right-wing groups supporting Trump are attempting to organize protests, perhaps with violence, in every state and again in Washington D.C. leading up to inauguration day on Jan. 20.
This is the world that Trump has created, a nation divided, a nation on edge, a banana republic.
It's small consolation, but Trump's legacy, whatever it might have been, now lies in tatters on the side of the road.
If he is remembered by history at all, it will be as American's worst president.
As he slinks out of town, Trump leaves behind a graffiti of lies and hatred painted across our national landscape.
May God give us the light of truth to cleanse the ugliness of what he wrought.