Lauren Lucy Caddell '23
We all know about January 6 - the worst act of terrorism to be inflicted since 9/11. But not all of us understand the significance of such an act on our current political landscape. The rebellion started when Donald John Trump called to the thousands gathered to “refuse to take it any longer.” FIGHT FOR TRUMP! they screamed back, and they did: five dead, 138 injured, 2.7 million dollars in damage. They went into it with no organization or pre-ordained plan, only the blind hatred planted within them. The masses were like Republican robots, programmed only to obey the orders of their master. Search, kill, destroy. What ideology has dictatorship as its central pillar? Fascism.
In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argues that citizens living under a totalitarian regime often harbor no true vicious instincts but are coerced into blind evil. She used the example of Adolf Eichmann, who organized the concentration camp system in Germany. At the end of the war, he was tried for war crime and pleaded guilty, arguing that he had simply done what he was told by the totalitarian regime and had not thought for himself. He was found guilty and executed, but not before Arendt turned him into a case study.
For her, Eichmann represented the idea of the “banality of evil”: the same right-hand men and underdogs of totalitarian societies that we think of as the worst of the morally worst are nothing more than blank canvases that paint whatever horrors their superiors direct them to. In this way of thinking, Eichmann was not a sociopath but instead an unremarkable, complacent man who followed orders to succeed in his society. And indeed, Arendt’s account of meeting him before his execution describes a plain, friendly man who just happened to have the lives of five million people on his conscience. Followers of a dictator are puppets, putting up no resistance to the atrocious acts they carry out.
For four years, Trump was the puppeteer controlling the nation, and Republicans were his willing figurines. Protest! Destroy! Fight! were their slogans, but did they even know what their movement meant? They shouted for democracy while invalidating the people’s vote that removed their totalitarian leader. They were boring, mundane people who heard their leader’s call and answered without a second thought. Yet even after the dethroning of this malicious king, Trump constantly threatens to return and recreate the nightmare he developed over four years. We are a nation on the brink as we head into midterm elections: a political landscape torn between dictatorship and the familiar and unfailing government, for the people, by the people.
We are moving into a dark period of our history, a time when 9/11-like terrorism is acceptable and the Right controls the White House. As American men and women, we cannot sit back and watch as the democracy we stand for is destroyed before our very eyes. Those who control our democracy harbor secret longings for a return to the world of Trump, the world of storming the Capitol, the world of rampant racism and discrimination. The Left is democracy, the Right is fascism. We cannot let America become the new Russia. Boys, we must fight!
Note: this article is a satirical work and does not reflect its author’s true beliefs.