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So that was fun. I love watching as the large and unruly country I live in comes way too close to a violent coup, and all the way up to and into a violent insurrection. I especially love it after four years of the most evil corrupt malevolent narcissistic president in our history. What can we do for an encore? Extermination camps?

That idea doesn’t seem anything like as hyperbolic as it would have five years ago. I think we tend to assume that people capable of giving the orders for genocide have to be an operatic kind of evil, Dracula crossed with Hannibal Lecter, but that’s not true at all.

The people who did give those real-life orders were very average, very commonplace, very supporting actors in a sitcom rather than Wagnerian. If the people who think Donald Trump is hot shit go on accruing more power, it could easily happen.

They’re already insisting on carrying guns into Congress, and defying attempts to stop them.

Over the past couple of weeks, Republicans have been having temper tantrums about new safety protocols that have been put in place in the US Capitol following the deadly 6 January insurrection. Lawmakers are now supposed to walk through metal detectors to enter the chamber and vote but a number of Republicans have been ignoring the rules.

 

“You can’t stop me,” Louie “Believe in Jesus or go to Hell” Gohmert, a Texas congressman, reportedly sneered at Capitol police, as he shamelessly skirted a metal detector. Just imagine going to an airport and doing what Gohmert did: it would not end well.

Think Gohmert is brazen? Some Republican lawmakers have been setting off the metal detectors but refusing to be searched. “Nah, I’m not going to do that,” the Georgia congressman Rick Allen reportedly told officers who attempted to scan him after he set off the machine.

Similarly, the newly elected congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who tweeted earlier this year that she was going to carry a loaded Glock handgun to Congress, refused to have her bag searched. Congressman Andy Harris, meanwhile, did consent to a search on Thursday afternoon: a concealed weapon was found in his suit coat.

What do they need guns for in that setting? Other than shooting their colleagues in the Other party?

Nobody should have to go to work every day wondering whether one of their colleagues is going to kill them. And yet, that’s precisely what some Democrats – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the Squad, in particular – are having to do. The Squad are a favourite target of rightwingers; they’ve had reason to worry about their safety long before the Capitol riots.

This image of Green with Ocasio-Cortez was removed by Facebook

Last year, for example, the QAnon supporter and new congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene posted an image on Facebook of her holding an assault rifle alongside Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart,” her post’s caption read. A Florida Republican running for Congress also openly suggested that Omar be executed for treason.

In the wake of the attack on the Capitol we know they weren’t kidding, they weren’t just being a little over the top, they weren’t engaging in hot-blooded but normal politics. They were talking openly about what they genuinely would like to do, or failing that to see happen.

This week video surfaced that showed Greene bullying one of the survivors of yet another mass shooting in a school, apparently because he was campaigning for better gun laws rather than loading himself up with machine guns.

Greene, the newly elected Georgia congresswoman who is known for her support of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, was filmed in March 2019 as she followed 18-year-old David Hogg, one of the students who survived the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school, outside Capitol Hill.

In the clip from 25 March, Greene can be heard calling Hogg a “coward”, demanding that he explain how the students were able to set up meetings with so many lawmakers, and telling him that she herself was a gun owner. Greene tells Hogg that gun control will not work, and that his classmates would not have been killed if one of the law enforcement officers assigned to guard the school had “done his job”.

That’s nice, isn’t it? A grown woman calling a teenage boy who survived a mass shooting a coward because he’s trying to prevent such things from happening again.

I don’t know. I don’t know what to do about us. We seem to be determined to get more reckless and ignorant and murderous by the day. I think we grew up on too many Westerns and cop shows, too much “gunfire is exciting and sexy and never harms anyone except the baddies,” too much racism and anger and terror of socialism, too much greed and money love and maybe all those cheap hamburgers are part of the problem too.

As a country we’re too much like Trump: too narcissistic, too boastful, too convinced of our own glory and everyone else’s squalor. I have no idea how we can switch this train onto a different track, and not much hope that we would do it if we did know how. Too many of us seem to like being this way.

Happy New Year.