This is a continuation of my blog about Stephen Colbert’s reaction to Donald Trump. Colbert got serious: “Donald Trump tried really hard to kill something tonight.” Colbert was dressed in black because he said he was dressed for a funeral. Actually that was true. It was a funeral. According to Colbert, speaking of Trump, “He tried to “poison American democracy.” True again.
Trump said the same thing in 2016 that the election was rigged (even though he ended up winning the election). I suppose he discredited it in advance just to give himself an excuse if he lost Well he did the same thing this year for weeks. In 2016 he said, “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election–if I win!” And he thought that was funny! Was it funny?
Even before it was held, in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, Trump promised the 2020 election would be “the most corrupt fraud in the history of the country.” He said that for weeks. Right up to the election he kept making the same point he did in 2016. How did he know? The answer of course, is that he didn’t know. He wanted to sow doubt in case he lost. As always he wanted to obfuscate and deceive.
Trump was trying to poison democracy for his own selfish ends. Colbert spoke out against Trump supporters who failed to object to Trump’s attack on the election with deep emotion: “Because he just attacked the thing that makes us most great. And it is time for you all to mean what your hats have been yelling.”
Colbert started by saying, “So, we all knew he would do this.” But he choked up and briefly broken down for about 15 seconds to collect himself and then, he continued with obvious deep emotion.
Colbert did not stop there. He begged Republicans who by their silence and failure to criticize Trump have enabled him. He implored them to condemn Trump as he richly deserved: “Republicans have to speak up — all of them. Because for evil to succeed, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing.” Everyone who supported Trump should speak up and disavow his toxic presidency. Everyone who does not do that is a party to the offence.
Those are strong words, but I think strong words are needed. Failure to speak up against demagoguery and tyrannical tendencies is crucially important. Here is how Colbert put it:
“Say something right now, Republicans… You only survived this up till now because a lot of voters didn’t want to believe everything that was obvious to so many of us: that Donald Trump is a fascist. And when it comes to democracy versus fascism, I’m sorry, there are not fine people on both sides. So you need to choose: Donald Trump or the American people? This is the time to get off the Trump train. Because he just told you where the train is going.”
This really caught my ear. Colbert called the president of the United States a fascist. Could that be true? That is a serious claim and on a national TV network. It was shocking. Was it true?
Trump challenging the legitimacy of the American election without any evidence is to challenge the legitimacy of the government without any evidence. If Trump does that successfully that can lead to only one thing American fascism. And no one should think that is impossible.
I want to think more about that.