Trumpists, Here Are Your Terms of Surrender. Also, Fuck You.
There’s no repairing the damage he’s done until you confess to the normalization and rationalizations that let him bring us to the edge of a conspiracy-driven insurrection.
Donald Trump is a war leader who failed. Before he was the leader of a failed insurrection, he was a man who’d stoked the violent and unstable tendencies of his most fanatic supporters into a hot flame that came dangerously close to incinerating the Republic.
It’s time for Donald Trump and his allies to surrender unconditionally, permanently, and without another goddamn word about a “stolen” election.
On September 2, 1945, representatives of the Japanese Imperial Government stood on the hot teak deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Their war was over.
Clad in the formal diplomatic regalia of the time—top hats, formal suits, and canes—Japan’s civilian officials were stone-faced while representatives of the Imperial Japanese military were significantly less sanguine, haunted by the knowledge that their unconditional surrender meant they had failed their Emperor. They had been unable to destroy America.
Moments after Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and others signed the Instrument of Surrender, 450 American warplanes flew over the American battleship, followed by an aluminum overcast of General Curtis LeMay’s formidable B-29s.
It wasn’t merely a celebratory moment but a warning, a reminder of the overwhelming power America had mustered, organized, and deployed in just four short years. The attack on Pearl Harbor that cost 3,000 lives (or one day of coronavirus deaths on Trump’s watch) had shocked a complacent populace that transformed into the most extraordinary military machine the world had known. Those planes soaring overhead had bombed Japanese cities to ash, with a campaign of conventional munitions, firebombings, and, finally, two bright, deadly sunrises over Hiroshima and Nagasaki that shook the world.
At that point, the cultural and civic norms that had made Japan such a formidable enemy had been broken. There was no further question of resistance. Douglas MacArthur and Lemay’s fuck-you airshow had forced an unequivocal surrender from the Empire of the Sun and a warning for generations to come: Fuck around and find out.
This brings me to today’s Republican Party, its alleged leaders, and all of you who are still standing with Trump as the least popular departing president in American history continues fighting his lost war.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve lost. On Nov. 3 and again when your allies assaulted cops, killing one, on Jan. 6. America’s reaction wasn’t “Fuck YEAH, Trump 2020!” It was horror. Think of the furious response as the Doolittle Raid: an unmistakable signal that America is done with your Trumpian shit.
Since you lost, you’ve done your damndest to ensure Donald Trump gains a second term through lies, conspiratorial agitprop, clownish legal chest-beating (with a 1-60 record so far), and an all-out effort to disenfranchise tens of millions of African American voters. Your new Jim Crow movement to tell Black voters they still don’t count is going swimmingly. And by “swimmingly” I mean it’s a fucking disaster. You lost two Senate seats in Georgia. GEORGIA.
Like Japan facing loss after loss against America’s island-hopping campaign, you rationalized each new defeat. Each time, you promised some new miracle to your people. And each time, you felt the vice tightening, the lies harder to tell, the conspiracies more lurid.
Until, on Jan. 6, your shock troops launched a Kamikaze raid on the Capitol. It shook America hard.
Oh, yes, I’m using the collective “you” here because the blood of a dead cop and four others is on the hands of all of you who empowered, enabled, and normalized Donald Trump. The damage to America’s reputation that day will echo in the laughter of our enemies around the world for a generation.
The rally itself, following the obvious incitements from Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mo Brooks, and the rest of the jackals was just striking the match. This White House staff, along with everyone in his orbit who stayed on the job while abdicating all responsibility, spread the gasoline around the country. The funders, organizers, and implements of the march accelerated and enabled it.
Those vandals, murderers, Karens and Qarens, Q-hadi wanna-be terrorists, swag-bellied revolutionaries in their too-tight LBVs and helmets, fanatic dead-enders, and oddly-clad randos who stormed the Capitol did so after they had been directed, organized, and motivated by Trump and his allies.
They came in groups organized and motivated by Roger Stone and his current little helper Ali Alexander; between the two of them, the reek of larceny stings the eyes and burns the throat. The mob also came at the call of the Republican Qaucus in the House, who kept insisting Trump was robbed of an election.
That mob beat a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher and flagpoles. They stormed the Capitol to seize power and kill Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and others. This isn’t speculation. It’s on hours of video, and in a waterfall of indictments. Mobs seek blood. Trump’s mob sought it that day, and failed.
America is protected by some Providence, be it divine or just the stumbling, ratfuck incompetence of so many of our enemies. The effort to seize the Capitol was a strategic failure and a tactical mess.
Heroic D.C. Police and Capitol Police pushed back the mob and ended the first and let us hope only battle of the Trump Civil War. They protected elected leaders of both parties from assault, violence, and murder.
To the Republicans who stoked the absurd conspiracy theories that fueled this mob, I would like to extend to you a hearty fuck you. Most of you aren’t stupid—I know Louis Gohmert drags down the average—and thought your repetitive lies about a supposedly stolen election were just politics as usual.
You knew better; mobs do what mobs do, and that means the lives of anyone they encountered that day were at risk. Your post-hoc bleating on the House floor about reason and comity and unity was complete horseshit. Your people, your base, were out of control, and you helped make them so. Ask Officer Brian Sicknick’s family if the Trumper horde who beat him to death on the steps of the Capitol were responsive to reason.
So let’s be clear; Jan. 6 was a cataclysmic defeat for you, for Trump, and for Trumpism.
You’ve lost a war for the soul of America so completely that your surrender must be unconditional and immediate. You don’t understand what the Hill attack did to Americans. They were pissed after four years of Trump’s bullshit; now, they’re steely in their determination to preserve the country from his mob.
For all of you “leaders” who stoked this fire, these are the terms of your surrender.
State in public that Joe Biden won this election freely and fairly. Don’t just slip it out in a tweet or a press statement. Do it on camera, and make it count. So what if it costs you a primary? It’s the truth, and if you don’t think your constituents deserve the truth, you’re a conspirator to overthrow the election.
Call for the expulsion, censure, or other consequences for the ringleaders in the Senate and House of the coup plot.
You know their names, and let’s be honest; you won’t really miss them. Josh Hawley. Ted Cruz. Rick Scott. Cindy Hyde Smith. Tommy Tuberville. Matt Gaetz. Jim Jordan. Mo Brooks. Kevin McCarthy. Lauren Bobert. Marjorie Taylor-Greene. Devin Nunes.
They have violated their oaths of office in the most profound and hideous fashion; they were the vanguard of an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, all to reinstall a man into office they privately acknowledge lost this election. They did so for reasons of ambition and partisan gain, nothing more.
Admit that you fueled the terrorism we just survived.
The lunatic conspiracy rantings. The lies about stolen ballots and mail-in voting. The absurd Dominion voting machine craziness. Any legal effort that includes Rudy, Lin Wood, Jenna Ellis, and Sindey Fucking Powell was by definition unserious. Admit you were lying about this and that you understand the bloody consequences of your lies. Some of you will have the integrity to speak, a handful will have the integrity to quit.
Stop Pretending This Was Normal
Donald Trump will go down as the worst president in American history, having reached that height on the wings of dozens of enablers, toadies, and climbers who will not be forgotten or forgiven. Over and over you lied to yourselves, the media, and the country that Trump wasn’t something new and destructive.
He is, we know, a pernicious grotesque, a shambling mound dedicated to causing the most pain, division, and humiliation possible, and always trying to deliver it at scale. He is an embarrassment for the ages, a shame and a stain that will be hard to remove. He is the indefensible man, a sick, sad coda to a party, an era, and a nation that deserved better.
Confess it. Admit it. There’s no repairing the damage he’s done until you confess to the normalization and rationalizations that let him bring us to the edge of a conspiracy-driven insurrection. You can stop pretending that you respect him; his Twitter feed is dead. You’re safe now.
The alternative is brutal and simple: You can watch the GOP be swiftly rebranded as a party of terrorist violence and QAnon batshittery. You give in to the rising calls for political violence and revolution and you go the way of the Whigs.
If you abide those calls, let alone incite them, you’ll stop raising corporate money. The nutcase Trump crowd will become your finance engine, and they’ll demand you take even nuttier positions. It’s not a long leap from telling the crazies that “The election was stolen” to just-asking if “Kamala Harris is a cannibal Satanist Lizard Creature.”
Japan surrendered unconditionally because the alternative was more pain with no possible benefit. They realized that America’s victory was complete, and the price of pride would be terrible. That lesson on the severity of American retaliation when we are threatened and attacked applies today.