They never should have gotten away with “Lock her up.”
One of the things we are learning is that the media and officials shouldn’t have been coddling soon-to-be shitcanned President Donald Trump and his idiot hordes and allowing them to indulge in their fits and fantasies over the 2020 election outcome. “Just let him throw this tantrum,” supposedly smart Republicans told us. “He’ll get tired and go to Mar-a-Lago and go to sleep.” It really was the “lie back and it’ll be over quickly” of political messages. Except no one who gives that kind of fucked up advice ever considers that you gotta live with that shit for the rest of your life.
Time and time again, Trump and his maniac voters were allowed to get away with more and more egregious behavior. Anyone who could have done anything just let him go on with his Hitler rallies where he named his enemies (anyone who doesn’t agree with him absolutely and completely) and called for them to be investigated, arrested, and/or imprisoned. When the first chants of “Lock her up” were directed at Hillary Clinton, someone who has never been charged with a crime despite years of sexist and vengeance-motivated investigations, that shit should have been shut down. Venues should have canceled the rallies. Republican Party leaders should have booted Trump out of the debates. Instead, while, yes, some in the media expressed outrage, it was mostly just smirked at and glossed over, like it’s all in fun, in jest, and not any kind of serious threat. The GOP was greedy, seeing a cash cow in Trump, someone who will get the rubes all hetted up and ready to click on that donate button.
Cut to a few weeks ago, and hundreds of assholes showed up in their MAGA-festooned vehicles at Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, NY, and chanted at this private citizen for the last four years, “Lock her up” as they even entered the driveway before police forced them back onto the street. I’m going to bet that more than a few of the deranged Trump lumps were armed. Imagine that. Imagine hundreds of people showing up at your place to call for your arrest when you haven’t committed any crimes. Imagine that if they had the chance, they’d kill you for things that are complete fantasy, like that you drink the blood of babies or have people killed (which, if true, would mean that all those idiots are fucked). It was vigilante justice, and just as ludicrous and ignorant as that always is.
Trump and his zombie herd got a free pass on slandering and threatening Clinton and so many people, and too many insiders acted like it was no big deal, like it was a joke that everyone is in on, that you let them blow off this steam and they’ll all just go about their lives without actually following through on these threats.
Except there’s one big mistake in that thinking. See, the basic error is in trusting the intelligence of the average person. While all of us who exist in political Twitter, reading the Post and watching CNN or MSNBC, think we see through the crass theatre of Trump’s whole schtick, there are millions upon millions of Americans who don’t see it as that. They see it as gospel, divination from God that goes directly through Trump and is imparted to them.
Am I saying that a crushing number of Americans are too fucking stupid to comprehend that it’s all bullshit? Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying. And because irresponsible dicks in the GOP decided to exploit that stupidity for their own power, and because they weren’t met with an equal force to say, “No, this is wrong and it might even be criminal” from enough people who could have possibly made a difference, and because Trump was simply allowed, hell, encouraged by everyone around him, to keep spinning out his lies until he actually seems to believe they’re real, we’re facing this fucked up situation where nearly half the country doesn’t believe in the real world, and they’re acting like they have to take it up on themselves to do something to stop anyone who wants to force them to confront that fucking absurdity.
So now we have armed crowds showing up outside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s house, chanting and cursing at her. One person even yelled, “You’re murderers,” which is goddamned nonsense. What is Benson’s offense? I don’t fucking know. They called for an audit of the state’s vote in the presidential election, but “Benson’s office has been preparing for a post-election audit over the last 22 months.” There is no purpose for this other than to intimidate and coerce a public official.
I haven’t used the term “protester” because what are they protesting? You can chant “Lock her up” as much as you want at Hillary Clinton. But there’s nothing to lock her up for. You can scream that the election is stolen, but it wasn’t. They’re not protesting, which is a response to an actual injustice that asks for redress. No, they’re insisting that reality conform to their perverse view of it. And they’re armed with fucking guns. That’s some ISIS shit right there. They’re fucking terrorists.
This is of a piece with the electoral outrages that keep going, from the death threats against any official who dares to say that Trump didn’t win to the plot to kidnap and murder Michigan’s governor (which is something that hasn’t gotten near enough attention because the kidnappers were white) to Trump calling Republican state officials and trying to get them to take action to toss out the vote in their states. It’s of a piece with the constant nuisance lawsuits that Trump’s lawyers and others are filing, actions that are so outside of various codes of conduct that a bunch of fucking attorneys should be tossed out of their profession.
But, so far, nothing is happening to condemn this in a way that has more action than a strongly-worded letter or snarky tweet. Not nearly enough has been done to call criminals “criminals.” That’s the language that Democrats should be using. They’re the ones who should be talking about “law and order.” They’re the ones who should be talking about anarchist mobs. They’re the ones that should be defining what is allowable and rip the fucking narrative back from foul clutches of the Republican hegemony. Or no Biden event will ever be able to take place without these mongrels showing up to howl their discontent.
I keep coming back to that fucking chant. The terrorists are still gathering outside Hillary Clinton’s place and chanting at her because there is no penalty for them doing it. There isn’t even really public shame because they don’t give a damn how they look to anyone but their fellow terrorists. And I get it: I get how years of right-wing and paranoid propaganda masked as “news” has infiltrated their minds. I get how a strained economy and the isolation of the pandemic have blasted their consciences to smithereens. But it doesn’t excuse this shit. They’re adults making adult decisions.
Again, Hillary Clinton is a private citizen and has been for the last four years. She has had no power. Trump’s dumbass warriors are gonna find out what that’s like in a few weeks, when their moronic god can’t just wave his stubby, filthy fingers and pretend to save them from the voracious maw of liberalism, which dares to think that humans are worthy of health care and housing and fair income and a climate that’s not trying to murder them and a lack of a pandemic.
We will never be rid of the stench of Trump until we are willing to say that so much of what has been allowed to happen is simply wrong and act accordingly. And that starts by prosecuting the crimes that you can.
More on that later.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on December 8, 2020 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.