A lamplighter lighting a gas streetlight in Sweden, 1953. By this time, remaining gas lamps were rare curiosities. Gunnar Lanz, Stockholms stadsmuseum.

Republican Gaslighting

I am exhausted after four years of Trump and the GOP. Exhausted, possibly traumatized, definitely disillusioned. After four long, miserable years of the incessant lies, painful incompetence, malicious sociopathy, and gleeful attacks on democracy, I just want to crawl under my bed and never come out again.

Josh Marshall of TPM wrote this morning, “What Is Your De-Trumping Story?” It’s paywalled, but the gist of the article is about how fucking weird it feels now that Trump’s gone.

Probably most of you have had the experience where you’re hearing a super loud noise for a sustained period of time or some extreme assault on your senses. Then suddenly it’s over and you’re still kind of rattled by it. It’s difficult to get used to the silence. You’re still on guard for the yelling even though the person isn’t there. You’re chagrined or a bit guilty-feeling to realize the silence doesn’t even feel normal.

I occasionally get sinus migraines, the kind that fill your whole head up with sharp pain and pressure, make your teeth ache, make your eyes feel like they’re going to pop out. When the sinus meds and ibuprofen kick in and the pain finally fades, it leaves behind this big, hollow echo in your head where it used to be. That’s what I’ve felt like the last couple of weeks – hollow, and flinching away from where the pain used to be.

Tomorrow will mark one month since Trump’s attempted coup. There’ve been 182 arrests so far. No instigating members of Congress have been expelled, censured, or faced any kind of consequences besides pissy Internet commentary. Trump has been impeached, but it seems unlikely he’ll be convicted, so he, also, has faced no consequences.

Republicans have spent the last month downplaying the coup attempt. It was a “false flag” operation by “Antifa.” It was just a little riot, no big deal. What about the BLM protests? No one raised a fuss about those. And so on.

In between attempts to make an insurrection sound like a rowdy boys night out, Republicans have spent their time demanding “unity” and “bipartisanship” from the Biden administration. Biden put forth his 1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan, and ten Republicans replied with a 650 billion dollar plan, which, ha. People are homeless, starving, unemployed and out of options due to Republican sociopathy and incompetence, but sure. Let’s throw a little pocket change at the problem and call that bipartisanship.

Republicans don’t get unity and bipartisanship. They spent four years cheerleading fascism and enabling their cultists in outrageous conspiracy theories. They instigated and egged on sedition and insurrection. They built concentration camps. They sent unmarked vans full of secret police to civil rights protests and kidnapped citizens off the streets. They gave billions of dollars away to their rich friends and donors, and tossed a pittance to their plague-ridden constituents. They built an entire false reality for themselves, and then allowed that false reality to birth violent extremists, and then used those extremists to bolster themselves and achieve their own ends.

And then, as soon as the tables turned, they’re all, “But you said you wanted to unify America. You wanted to work together.”

As always, Republicans want actions without consequences. They want to be greedy, power-hungry bastards and not pay the price for it. And when they get called out, they shovel transparently obvious lies directly into your face and expect you to swallow them and smile.