By Greg B. Macabenta
It is said that Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. According to historians, that expression is not to be taken literally (the fiddle, as a musical instrument, had not been invented at the time).
Nero was such a ruthless and decadent ruler that he cared little about his people or the city of Rome. He could have been indulging in some bacchanalian pursuit while his people were dying and his empire was on the verge of destruction. In effect, Nero played the fiddle, while Rome burned.
As much could be said about President Donald Trump – both in the allegorical and in the literal sense.
While the United States is being ravaged by the coronavirus, with 19.4 million afflicted, 335,000 dead and over 1,000 dying every day, Trump has cared only about his failed reelection bid and his desperate efforts to overturn the victory of President- elect Joe Biden.
Worse yet, – Trump could be playing golf while Washington DC burns.
On January 6, the US Senate and House of Representatives will convene in a joint session to confirm the election of Biden and of Kamala Harris as vice-president. Vice-President Mike Pence will preside.
Trump intends not only to disrupt the proceedings but is also actively inciting his fanatical supporters to create havoc in the nation’s capital.
One of Trump’s congressional minions, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has sued Pence in federal court to compel him to declare Trump as the duly elected president, overriding the votes of the Electoral College.
In spite of failing to produce any evidence to support his allegations, Gohmert is claiming that the elections were marred by “…rampant fraud and unconstitutional actions that…were so egregious that seven contested states–Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all sent dueling slates of electors to Congress.”
The attempts of Trump and his lieutenants to abort Biden’s election have been rebuffed over 60 times by the courts – twice by the US Supreme Court – but like a madman, Trump has been literally pushing every conceivable button to reverse the Constitutional mechanism that respects the will of the American people.
Unfortunately, there are millions of Trump supporters who have swallowed his lies about being cheated. They have staged protest marches in Washington DC and have clashed with the police and anti-Trump counter protestors. The last one resulted in 4 being stabbed and 33 arrested.
Even more violence is feared on January 6, which will mark the formal certification of Biden’s election by Congress and, likely the last recourse of Trump to reverse his defeat. But no one really believes he will succeed.
For this reason Trump may throw caution to the winds and incite his supporters to resort to violence. In a recent tweet, Trump reminded them: “See you in Washington DC on January 6. Don’t miss it. Information to follow.”
A pro-Trump website, Trump March.com, carries the headline: “March for Trump – January 6th Washington DC – The President is calling on us to come back to Washington DC for a big protest. Be there. Will be wild.”
Olivia Troy, a former Pence homeland security and counter- terrorism specialist, has expressed grave concern that there could be violence on that day, as Trump supporters, backed by armed militant groups like The Proud Boys rally in Washington DC. They will be confronted by the police and could also clash with groups allied with Black Lives Matter.
Troy told the media: “I’m actually very concerned that there will be violence on Jan. 6 because the president himself is encouraging it.This is what he does. He tweets, he incites it, and he gets followers and supporters to behave in this manner, and they believe they are being patriots because they’re supporting the president.”
During the first pre-election debate between Trump and Biden, the moderator, Chris Wallace, challenged Trump to condemn the white supremacists and armed militias that he had been accused of cultivating. Trump hedged, at first, pretending that he could not think of any such groups. After Biden mentioned The Proud Boys, a particularly violent group, Trump called on them to “Stand back and Stand by!’
Instead of taking that as a reproach, The Proud Boys used Trump’s words as a slogan (printed on t-shirts) and a virtual call to be ready for conflict. The group has since been at the forefront of pro-Trump marches, inclduing the post-election protests in Washington DC.
The group is expected to show up on January 6 and could stir up trouble.
It is feared that violence will flare up in the nation’s capital – and even on Capitol Hill itself.
But where will Trump be?
He may be in the safety of Mar-a-Lago or one of his Florida properties. As one pundit pits it, “Trump will be playing golf .”
Thus, in characteristic Trump fashion, he is inciting his supporters to stir up trouble – to be wild – while he plays golf.
Like Nero – fiddling while Rome burns.
Meanwhile, on January 5, the run-off elections in Georgia will determine the balance of power in the Senate. If the Democrats win against the Republican incumbents, the GOP could suffer the same fate as the Confederates in the movie classic set in Atlanta, “Gone With the Wind.”
And as for Trump, it will be “Gone With the Windbag!”