Prepare For The Authoritarian Obamagate Show Trials

As the United States surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, President Trump and Senate Republicans are focused on serving up hearings for conspiracy theorists.
President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (AP/Public Domain)

President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (AP/Public Domain)

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I honestly can’t quite decide what I’m hearing in the back of my mind as the Republican majority in the Senate is eagerly gearing up for hearings in June meant to serve as thinly veiled show trials of Obama administration officials, despite Attorney General William Barr more or less ruling out any criminal prosecution, knowing it will fail and backfire in a spectacular manner should he even try.

On the one hand, there’s the din of the Soviet anthem as I remember the doomed nation’s habit of such show trials to publicly shame “the enemies of the state” for the crime of criticizing the Communist Party. On the other, it’s the circus music of a GOP scrambling to protect a president who golfs as the death toll from a pandemic he mismanaged surpasses 100,000 people because they created a monster they can no longer control.

Despite being a historically unpopular president, Donald Trump still had a fairly strong path to reelection before COVID-19. Since the Electoral College system makes where you vote more important than how you vote, all he had to do is read his briefings, tell experts at the CDC to handle the pandemic properly, and while there would’ve absolutely been infections and deaths, we may not have had to shut down large swaths of the economy, and he would’ve gotten the benefit of the doubt in swing states.

With the economy still seemingly flying high and the pandemic being aggressively addressed, he may well have pulled himself over the line in November by just letting someone else handle the problem. Instead, his response has been ridiculous denial followed by sociopathic inaction and excuses because he simply cannot do even the absolute bare minimum we’d expect from a functioning adult. I’d list with whom he’s underwater right now, but it’s easier to just name the one and only demographic where a slight majority supports him: white men without a college education.

And so, in an effort to get his base fired up again, he’s reviving the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration illegally spied on his campaign despite the fact that they were simply surveying a guy who openly bragged about being recruited by Russian spies in Trump’s orbit, and following up on a tip from an Australian diplomat about disturbing things one of Trump’s advisers told him while drunk.

With conspiracy addicted sycophant John Ratcliffe now, terrifyingly, in charge of American intelligence, the GOP intends to manufacture a scandal out of bureaucrats following standard procedure in checking out whether unsettling rumors concerning national security were true, so they can have Trump run against… just let me check my notes here… ah, yes, one of the most popular ex-presidents in America today.

This is mind-numbingly stupid and scary, and yes, you’re right, a drunken baboon with a severe head injury could’ve picked a better campaign strategy. But we’re not dealing with very bright people here, and even worse, we’re dealing with the bloodthirsty specter of QAnon thanks to the introduction of Ratcliffe into this simmering political sewer.

Is there’s anything we need less right now than the government catering to the bloodthirsty fantasies of people who genuinely and truly believe that what we think of reality is a lie, that we actually live in a nightmarish mashup of the Satanic Panic and Tokyo Ghoul, and they’re fighting fellow Americans they no longer see as human because otherwise, their families will be quite literally eaten by ghouls and demons? But we’ll get back to that in a moment.

First, consider that with unemployment hovering around 15%, and expected to surge past 20%, then remain in double digits into November, combined with the typical American’s rather fragile financial situation, the last thing people scrambling to pay their bills will be doing is sitting down to watch hours of CSPAN so they can fume about how Obama did Trump dirty. Odds are, they won’t be watching the highlights either because they already don’t care about the ins and outs of FISA paperwork and they’ll care even less when their fridges are empty, no matter how many wild, screeching tantrums Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) throws during this farce.

How many people didn’t even know who Special Counsel Robert Mueller was and what he was investigating all through 2017 and 2018? And now, with the country mired in dysfunction and on the verge of depression thanks to a pandemic that shows no signs of letting up, they’ll crowd living rooms to watch The GOP Senate Review Presents: Trump Pity Party Volume 8,642? If you truly believe that, please don’t hesitate to contact me about how you too can get paid to help move a Nigerian prince’s fortune with just a good faith deposit to an offshore bank account.

But even all that aside, we have to consider who these show trials are meant to energize and who will be paying rapt attention. Yes, the QAnon crowd, the people who believe that Obama illegally spied on Trump not because Trump was a political rival, but because he, along with every Democrat and some untrustworthy Republicans, were afraid that Trump’s victory meant they would have to stop sexually abusing, then eating children while worshipping Satan with a chorus of friggin’ gay frogs in the background.

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This manufactroversy is the “DECLASS event” for which they’ve been praying. Literally. And at the same time, they’re so laser-focused on their hatred of “globalists” that they managed to ignore one of their favorite talk show hosts expressing a disturbing amount of interest in eating his neighbors, who I imagine are currently packing to move as far away as possible. (Just in case you were wondering, resorting to cannibalism can cause a lethal, incurable prion disease that turns your brain into swiss cheese, so it’s usually a bad idea, even during an apocalypse.)

So, factor in that Ratcliffe, the guy now in charge of sensitive intelligence that could aid Republicans in creating a scandal, religiously follows QAnon adherents on social media, and that Trump has been actively retweeting QAnon accounts, and you end up with a scary picture. America will be holding show trials to appease the fragile ego of a narcissist president very unlikely to leave his office willingly if he loses the upcoming election in which he will blatantly cheat, and to inspire furious conspiracy theorists who believe that anyone who disagrees with the party in power on anything is a Satanic pedophilic cannibal.

If this was happening in any other nuclear-armed country, Republicans would be demanding sanctions, blockades by carrier strike groups, and telling us how thankful we should be that we live in America instead of “that Third World shithole.” And no, we can’t ignore the conspiracy angle of this because thanks to the people involved in keeping the clusterfuck parkour that’s defined American politics since 2016 going, that’s now impossible. If they’re not true believers themselves, they’re watching the QAnon cult and throwing its members enough red meat to feed all of Joe Exotic’s tigers on a regular basis.

Keep that in mind when your aunts, uncles, and parents post the heavily watered-down versions of all these wild-eyed, paranoid ravings on Facebook, because they may not even know that they’re microdosing themselves and their friends with an ideology that will rob them of their sanity, then their friends and family, too busy almost wetting their pants with joy when someone “owns the libs” by repeating one of Trump’s brain-dead monosyllabic attempts at a catchphrase to research what they’re spreading on social media.

But they are nevertheless advancing the QAnon agenda even if they don’t realize it and reply with hamfisted defenses of spreading abject, rabid bullshit across social media when called out on it. Why? They don’t care about policies or their outcomes because their day now consists of letting social media rot their minds the way they told their kids TV and video games would rot theirs as Fox News drones in the background.

Now, this is usually the part where I talk about how this is the result of letting fear, paranoia, and greed destroy a country both financially and culturally, the worst-case scenario if we just keep ignoring what ails us, and try to highlight the systemic problems that got us here. But I’m simply out of words at this point. I lived in a country that imploded thanks to incompetence, then one that failed thanks to runaway corruption and criminality. Neither prepared me for what I’m seeing now: a country failing because the government seems to hate its people, the people hate it right back, and a swarm of conspiracy-addicted lunatics in power and at the ballot box want to bring it all tumbling down because something-something Satanic baby-eating rapists.

But before you join me in covering my face with my hands and muttering every swear word in every language I know, we have to keep in mind one simple fact. There are far more ordinary, reasonable people than the fringe crazies who hijacked our politics, culture, and media. We do have the power to tell them to take their bullshit and carry it somewhere far, far away. All we need to do is vote for sane, reasonable adults, and hold them to account when they do and say stupid stuff. That’s it.

And not to scare you or anything, but if we don’t make our voices heard this November, that lunatic infestation may be lodged too deep to get rid of without a disaster of absolutely epic proportions and if we ever do, we’ll have to hope to salvage something from the ashes they’ll gleefully leave behind. If anyone will be left to help us build that something new, that is. So vote.

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Opinion // Barack Obama / Donald Trump / Republican Party / Senate