By Garry Pierre-Pierre
By the time that Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, Republicans in Washington had accelerated their long descent into the crazy zone. I used to refer to them as “Lavalas,” to the bemusement of colleagues. They thought it was an exaggeration to compare Republicans to the movement that spearheaded Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s rise to power in Haiti.
Well, the takeover of the Capitol building by mobs operating under the order of Donald Trump has brought the chickens home to roost. Unfortunately, I was not overstating.
The United States federal political system has been dysfunctional for a while because it requires an honest competitor on each side. The Republicans have shown clearly that they’re not interested in governance and prefer throwing ideological bombs and empty, false promises.
Almost 30 years ago, I was inside Haiti’s Parliament building when marauding soldiers stormed the hall, firing their weapons just as parliamentarians were about to debate a bill to return Aristide to Haiti after the army overthrew him. I, along with a throng of other journalists, managed to leave the building into safety.
Over the past decade, I have come to fear that the U.S is slowly becoming more and more like Haiti and some of the other places in Africa that I have covered during my career. The Republican party has allowed itself to become a know-nothing party that openly mocks and rebukes science. To them, the truth is only a neat concept rather than an anchor that undergirds honorable people.
200 years of Trump
Many have asked me over the years to explain why Haiti is so troubled. For years, I often explained the Haiti situation by expanding on the role that the U.S, France and Britain played. I’d say that once Haiti became an independent nation, it experienced a long, long list of leaders who were either incompetent or deeply corrupted.
During the Trump years, however, my answer has been much more simple: Imagine having leaders like Trump for 200 years.
I must say it was shocking to see the throngs of armed white supremacists storm the Capitol and force senators and representatives to flee for their safety. The photos of these thugs taking pictures of themselves sitting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office are jarring. So are the images of these goons photographed carrying the Confederate flag.
But it was not surprising. This crowd had a trial run last summer using the same tactic in Michigan to intimidate lawmakers trying to pass Covid-19 safety measures. Some of them hatched a plan to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Witmer, put her on trial and execute her. Thankfully the plan was discovered and foiled by the FBI. But nothing happened to anyone, not even a ticket for loitering.
Using his favorite megaphone, Twitter, Trump came to that militia’s defense saying its members were frustrated and wanted to vent. He went on to write in all caps: LIBERATE MICHIGAN.
Stop “No Lives Matter” in its track
What we’re watching here is the birth of a “No Lives Matter” movement and we must make sure that these militia groups are pursued to the full extent of the law and sent to prison for the rest of their lives. Nothing less will do. We failed to act in Michigan and now we’re here.
I have confidence that we will get through this as a country and may emerge as a better, fairer and more equitable place. But It will not be easy. There are too many powerful forces resisting this change.
It’s ironic that the Democrats took over the Senate on the same day Trump made his most craven political move. The Democrats now have a tougher task ahead in righting this ship. But it’s also an opportunity to deal with all of the inequalities laid bare by the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement.
This is the final battle of the Civil War and the Union will win again. Dear Leader Donald Trump will leave Washington in disgrace and find himself embroiled in a litany of criminal and civil lawsuits. He has caused major harm to this country, of which I willingly became a proud citizen so many decades ago.
I never thought I would see my beloved homeland resembling my adopted one. But yesterday’s events brought it full circle for me.