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Assassination, Secession, Riot: The Crimes of John Wilkes Sales space, Jefferson Davis and Trump

While it's difficult, I encourage anyone who hasn't already to look into this Compilation of footage The property managers introduced themselves on the first day of the impeachment proceedings. I was trembling with anger. Not only did these thugs want to defile a building, they also wanted to defile our constitution. They were trying to overthrow an election that many weren't even at disturbed to choose yourself.

What was their purpose? In their own words, as they shouted as they stormed the Capitol, “Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! "Those were exactly the same words they had sung on the ellipse shortly before during their leader's speech. He told them to fight for him and they told him they would. And then they did.

Many of those who fought for Trump were motivated by a white Christian nationalist hate ideology – hatred of liberals, Jews, African Americans and other people of color. Most of that Trumpist mob stands diametrically opposed to the ideals that really make America great – especially the simple notion set out in the Declaration of Independence, which we have not yet fully realized after almost 250 years: we are all created equal. The January 6th attack on the Capitol was just another battle in our country Race war.

As Rev. William Barber stated a few days ago: "The supremacy of whites is directed against blacks, but ultimately against democracy itself." He added, "This type of mob violence in response to black, brown and white people coming together and voting to move the nation forward in a progressive way has always been the backlash."

Barber is right in every way. The centuries-long resistance of white supremacy to true democracy in America is also the line of passage that connects what Trump has done since election day and January 6th to its true historical ancestors in our history. Not the other presidents accused, whose crimes – some more serious than others – differed not only in some measure but in nature from those of Trump. Even Richard Nixon, as dangerous to the rule of law as his actions, did not encourage a violent coup. Trump is that hideous. Tricky Dick has the edge in comparison.

Instead, Trump's true ancestors are the violent white supremacists who rejected our democracy in order to preserve their perverse racial hierarchy: the Southern Confederates. It is no accident that on January 6th we deployed a large number of Confederate flags in the Capitol on behalf of the Insurrectionist-in-Chief. How many, including Penn State Professor Emeritus William Blair, have written down: "The Confederate flag made it deeper into Washington on January 6, 2021 than during the Civil War."

As for this blood-soaked, intra-American conflict – after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, 11 southern states refused to accept the results because they feared it would end slavery. They left the Union and supported this action with violence. Under the leadership of President Jefferson Davis, they wanted to do by bloodshed what they couldn't at the ballot box: protect their vision of a white-dominated society in which African Americans were nothing but property.

Some will, of course, insist that the civil war began for other reasons, such as "state rights," and chose to use the words shortly after the Alexander Stephens, who would soon be elected Vice President of the President Inauguration of President Lincoln to skip confederation. Stephens described The government that was created by the secessionists: “Its foundations have been laid, its foundation rests on the great truth that the Negro is not the same as the white man. This slavery – submission to the superior race – is its natural and normal state. This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world based on this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. "

In the speech he delivered at his inauguration in 1861, Lincoln said precisely diagnosed Secession as a direct contrast to democracy.

The central idea of ​​secession is clearly the essence of anarchy. A majority, restrained by constitutional controls and restrictions and always changing slightly with deliberate changes in the opinions and feelings of the population, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Those who refuse it will necessarily fly to anarchy or despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority as a permanent agreement is completely inadmissible; so that only the rejection of the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form remains.

Davis, Stephens, and the rest of the Confederates spent four long years in rebellion against democracy and racial equality. In 1865, Lincoln was sworn in for a second term. Last year had been his vision on the ballot Gettysburga war waged to make our country what it long said it would be, a nation built on the promise of freedom and equality for every American. Lincoln's vision won the election. He planned to lead the Union to final victory and hopefully bring that vision to life. Instead, John Wilkes Booth shot the 16th President.

Why did Booth commit this act of violence that aimed to remove a democratically elected president? Check out his written words: “This country was founded for the white, not for the black. And to look at African slavery from the same point of view that the noble drafters of our constitution take. In any case, I have ever considered (it) to be one of the greatest blessings (both for myself and for us) that God has ever bestowed on a favored nation. "

As a Washington College writer and historian, Adam Goodheart explainedBooth was "motivated by politics, and he was particularly motivated by racism, by Lincoln's actions to emancipate the slaves and, immediately, by some of Lincoln's statements that he saw as meaning that African Americans would receive full citizenship." When Booth opened fire, his weapon was turned not just against a man, but against the idea of ​​a multi-faceted, egalitarian democracy.

Trump may not have pulled the trigger, smashed a window, or attacked cops while wearing a flag cloak, but he shares the same ideology, motive, and attitude as his anti-democratic ancestors of the white supremacists. They did not like the outcome of an election and were ready and willing to use force to reverse it. Secession, assassination, uprising. These are three sides of a single triangle.

I hope we never have another president like Donald Trump for our country and the world. I hope we as a people – or at least enough of us– have learned that we cannot choose an unprincipled demagogue as our leader.

A person without a principle will never respect, let alone appreciate, the Constitution or the democratic process. A person without a principle can only see these things as a means of gaining or maintaining power. A person without a principle believes that the ends always justify the means.

This is Trump: a person without a principle. So, two months after Election Day, he lied about why he asked his MAGA henchmen to come to Washington on the day Joe Biden's victory in Congress was to be officially confirmed and why he sparked a riot that day over them Prevent certification instead of taking place. His armed forces sought nothing less than the destruction of American democracy.

For these crimes, Trump was charged, yes. But these crimes are far worse than any other president's. Regardless of the verdict, these crimes appear in the first sentence of his obituary. You are what he will be remembered for, despite the cowardice of his GOP enablers. Forever.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's racial rhetoric about the Obama presidency paved the way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

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