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When yo’ play with fire…

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Three weeks ago this column covered the topic “Who will guard the guards?’, a reference to the post-election situation in the United States of America, the self-proclaimed “guardian of democracy” in the entire world with the power, the inclination and the will to sanction or even remove foreign governments, accused of violating rights and freedoms. Today, after the reprehensible events of January 6 in Washington D.C., I shall make references to some aspects of that article to drive home its applicability to the current chaos in the US capital.

If we had been following developments in the USA even before the presidential elections, we would not have been surprised by the blatant insurrection, an undisguised attempt at a coup. President Trump, who is still ominously at the helm of the US government, including its unmatched arsenal of weapons, had himself warned of mayhem on January 6, the day when Congress was to give the final seal of
approval on the outcome of the November 3 presidential elections.

He turned up in person to rile up and rally the terrorists promising to lead them in the march on Congress. Significantly, in spite of the open threats there was little sign of preparation and resistance by those in charge of the nation’s security, headed by none other than the incumbent President. Was there collusion in this or even clear instructions not to interfere in the assault on Congress?
After the assault, reportedly watched on television by Donald Trump, four persons had died, the highest law-making bodies of the USA were forced into recess and hiding. But Donald Trump is still in charge free to continue his insurrectionist rhetoric and invective. If he could spur on an invasion of Congress, what can he not do in the next two weeks? He controls the nuclear button of the United States capable of wiping out the rest of the world if not the US itself. Can this politically-dying animal order attacks on Venezuela or Cuba for instance, placing the entire Caribbean in jeopardy?

As Trump’s erstwhile colleagues and defenders come under verbal attack from the shambles of a ruined presidency, and we contemplate what should be done next, we must reflect on the “Silence of the Lambs” which gave succour to the present insurrection. I shall quote here the article referenced above, (Who will guard the guards).

“There are many among us who actually supported Donald Trump and his supposed anti-establishment ranting. Others considered him a mild aberration, excusing even his blatant racism and some even suffered him as some sort of buffoon or clown. Those who held these views have been proven to be badly mistaken for by his very actions post-November 3, the defeated President has demonstrated that he knows what he is doing and is resting to the very limit the institutions of American democracy, prepared to rely on the support of the most authoritarian, racist and backward elements in a vain attempt to remain in power at the helm of an elitist administration”. Don’t the events of Jan. 6 bear this out?

Like every cornered rat, Trump is baring his fangs and turning on those who either supported or tolerated him, his faithful Vice-President being no exception. It is a re-enactment of old scenarios when dictators find their regime crumbling. Those who once cowered in their presence now think of self-preservation, of life after Trump. But as the politically moribund go through their death throes, we must not be surprised, for as old people say, “When yo’ play wid fire, fire go bun yo”.

The situation in the USA has grave implications for the American people and the rest of the world. It is hard to imagine any western democratic state where a leader could get away with all this, coup attempt and all. It is clear that Trump must be constitutionally removed from power if he is not to further endanger the entire world.

But for us, I cannot help but speculate in horror, what could have happened in SVG if our elections were due in January 2021. Those in desperate thirst for power had like Trump, pumped up supporters that the only way they could not succeed at the polls, was if fraud was committed. Would they have accepted results such as those of November 5 if they were witnessing Trump’s behaviour? Remember
too, that Trump’s Republican Party is the “Big Daddy” of the so-called Caribbean Democratic Union, some of whose member were vocally anti-Venezuela.

Perhaps we were saved by timing, but again it demonstrates that we must stop playing with fire, to further selfish pursuits. That fire can end up consuming us all.

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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