Flat White

Not the death of democracy – not even close

9 January 2021

5:59 PM

9 January 2021

5:59 PM

Contrary to the aphorism and what you’re seeing in America, things don’t fall apart, the centre nearly always holds.  

Despite what you read democracy did not end when a protesting mob upset at an election result forced their way into Congress. One QAnon idiot dressed in Native American headdress like an outcast from the Village People is not a revolution or even an insurrection.  

Recline your seat and maybe reach for the cultural oxygen mask, as some of you seem to be hyperventilating. Maybe add one of those new-fangled social media were-only-here-to-help post-free speech warnings: this moron is probably not a Native American or part of a 1970s disco tribute act — though he may be Elizabeth Warren.’  

Democracy isn’t dead, or even slightly maimed. That’s just something journalists shout on Twitter because it is a much more interesting thing to claim, than to say that some amateur-hour undermanned Congress security got overwhelmed by pro-Trump protestersJust like 1996 when trade unionists unhappy with Howard Government industrial relations reforms rioted in Parliament House. You clean up the mess and arrest people.  


In even more predictable news the vote for Joe Biden as the next president was confirmed. He will be inaugurated shortly. Results in Georgia mean that the Democrats will control Congress with the likelihood that much of the Trump legacy will be unwound. This is called politics and on good days when something noble happens is even referred to as democracy.  

For those upset by the symbolism of a marauding horde running through Congress, I share their pain. Symbols matter. I also didn’t like it when Nancy Pelosi let her personal loathing of Trump overtake respect for the office of president and ripped up the 2020 State of Union speech because it was all about her and certainly not about those who voted for the president (as she said, despite being a sentient being, she had no alternative)Or Joe Biden now claiming that the police response to protesters was somehow racist or the explained-away wink and nudge given by Kamala Harris to BLM protesters who like the MAGA ones rioted.   

I don’t think one justifies the other but I do think all should be condemned and not hidden by nothing-to-see-here CNN coverage. 

Calls by Democrats to invoke the 25th amendment or trying to introduce a fast-tracked impeachment process to get rid of the president seems aimed at cynically embedding the Democrat narrative – a kind of Pelosi ‘I told you so,’ disguised as noble public duty but really a ploy to drive their agenda. Its Politics 101 and you can’t blame her for trying. She has no alternative, after all. 

Biden says he wants to heal and reach out to the 74 million who voted for Trump. I’m not sure how the optics of a last-minute attempted Congress hatchet job on a sitting president will help this. Maybe he just needs to do what Gerald Ford did with Nixon and for the sake of the nation swallow hard.   

Trump is his own worst enemy, let it (and him) go. You will soon be in charge, that’s how democracy works. 

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer and former US Consulate Media Officer. He writes at https://mdswords.wordpress.com and Tweets at @MichaelScammell.

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