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January 23, 2022



COMMENTARY: Trump's bucket of filth

8.1.2021 13:10
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on 6 January 2021. (PHOTO:
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on 6 January 2021. (PHOTO:

He's just one limited man, but he manages to turn the entire world upside down just because they've taken away his toy - and by "toy", I mean the power he doesn't want to give up despite having lost a freely held election. It is no longer possible to discuss Trump within the framework of some kind of culture of politics - on the one hand he no longer deserves to be seen in those terms, and on the other hand it is currently necessary that this be trampled into the ground as quickly as possible so the soil can be plowed and something useful planted there. 

Trump's conduct has always been disgusting:  lies, no interest in truth, assaults on democracy, unceasing division of people, groups and all of society to serve his own interests, an aggressive, pedestrian style pulling voters into the cesspool of his thinking and behavior, etc., which propelled his fellow-travelers among the political class forward. He legitimizes that disgusting conduct from the position of the world's most powerful leader and facilitates others in doing the same. 

Congress is the Confederates'

An unprecedented event has happened in the American legislature and the President is to blame. A mob angered by Trump's incitement has broken into the Capitol building and demanded the lawmakers proceed against democratic custom, specifically, that they not certify the results of a freely held election.

Four people died during that assault on democracy. [Translator's Note:  A fifth person has passed away as a result of these events since this commentary was published].

Trump's supporters marched around the building, some of them holding the flag of the Confederacy, determined to get their way by force. The attack was preceded by Trump's speech to a demonstration near the Capitol in which he reiterated his baseless allegations - refuted by many courts - that the election results have been falsified.  

"I thought we were going to have go out there and fight our way through them," Democratic Congressman Jason Crow, who served on military missions in Iraq before running for office, told The New York Times. A Republican colleague of his had earlier posted this message on Facebook from inside Congress: "We broke up pieces of furniture to use as sticks to defend the House of Representatives of the United States."   

According to Czech Television, the most dramatic moment may have transpired in the main hall of the House of Representatives when, at one point, a group of police officers were guarding a barricaded entry with their pistols drawn while assailants on the other side were breaking the glass and pounding on the door. "This is our country, this is our house," one demonstrator told a reporter with Britain's ITV when asked what message he was communicating to lawmakers. 

Will the Republican Party fall apart?

Yes, that's exactly what this is about. These people no longer believe the legislature "belongs to all" anymore, but that it "belongs" to Trump and to his followers, who are closer in all respects to the Confederate flag than they are to the flag of the United States of America, who are closer to white supremacy than they are to peaceful coexistence with others, closer to lies than truth, and closer to advocating their own opinions even at the cost of destroying democracy.  

One narcissistic ass got American democracy to such a place during exactly one electoral period. The Republican Party stands before a fateful choice - rational politicians will not be pulled along by Trump to the Capitol riot, although at the very least the ultraconservatives are not opposed to these methods.

If we were to hazard a guess, it seems that even this traditional party will paradoxically have to experience what Trump has been attempting to do to all of society during the entire time of his presidency: Split into two political entities. One part will be controlled by Trump's fascists and the other part will be controlled by those Republicans who honor democratic principles.    

We hope American institutions will not allow democracy to fall, and some parts of society seem to be heading in that direction. For example, the social media companies have blocked Trump from broadcasting yet another wave of lies and filth on the Internet.

The European bucket of filth

We see politicians who share features with Trump in Europe, most visibly in Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán, Polish politician Jarosław Kaczyński, French politician Marine Le Pen and others - in the Czech Republic we see this most visibly in Czech President Miloš Zeman, but even Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš does not deviate much from Trump's behavioral model - he's just not as aggressive and overweening as Zeman. Of course, this does not mean the Czech PM is any less dangerous.

Czech MP Tomio Okamura is nipping at the PM's heels, a politician whose division of society is embedded in his political business model because it is the only way his SPD party can get into Parliament. It's not possible for us to really know whether this fresh outcome for doing politics à la Trump will warn any European politicians away from further such conduct, but unfortunately, we must doubt that. 

There are no indications that any of these politicians might suddenly realize that upholding democratic principles is more important to society than the power they wield, more important than their grubby nationalism and narcissm. Let's not make the mistake of thinking these politicians will now authentically condemn Trump's conduct during that demonstration in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

On the one hand they all know that Biden, a Democrat, will be the next American president, so they'll do their best to adapt to that situation - and on the other hand, it costs them nothing to say a few words. These politicians never take their own words as representing a commitment, but see them purely as an instrument for getting their way - today they say one thing, the next day they say the exact opposite, and as they do so, they pretend to be archangels...

What does this cost? Orbán's and Zeman's buckets of filth are, understandably, smaller than Trump's is, but that's just due to the degree of their power and the impact of their policies, not to their being any less limited as human beings.

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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