Round I: Characters
by ProfDave, ©2021
(Jun. 1, 2021) — [Warning: message includes shameless sarcasm]
There is no use waiting to find out what really happened in Washington, DC, on January 6. We may as well go ahead and guess, like everybody else. The “facts” presented to us by the talking heads on TV and in social media are contradictory because they are based on predetermined partisan narratives. That is what post-modernism has done to us. CBS has their narrative and sends out their reporters to find images and sound bites to support their truth. Fox News has their narrative and sends out their reporters to find images and sound bites to support their truth. Take your pick. Post-modernists deny the existence of objective truth. Neo-Marxists and Critical Theorists believe that everything you and I say is determined by our race, class and gender identity anyway. And theirs isn’t?
So, what really happened on January 6? The events will be thoroughly investigated, of course – with the determined purpose to implicate Donald Trump. When the Republicans return to power, they will conduct a thorough investigation to prove just the opposite. The history of 2021 will depend on who is in power when it is written. Depend on it: we will never know.
So, in the absence of facts, let’s play the Narrative Game. First, we will explore the left narrative in its full conspiracy-theorist version (Republicans, hold your noses), enriched by Facebook friends and cousins. Second, we will have a look at the populist narrative in mirror image (Democrats, hold your noses). And third, we will pretend to be a 23rd century Argentinian historian trying to make sense out of the mess for a general textbook (nobody is going to be happy) – on the assumption that neither narrative is true. Only the Lord knows the truth. I devoutly hope, for the sake of my descendants, He will return before then – most of us will be gone.
Narrative I – The Left
Beware, this is fictitious – I even made up a little myself
The Beast. Conspiracy theorists on the left have taught themselves to believe that Donald Trump is the devil incarnate, the Anti-Christ, or the Beast. He is the racist-in-chief, a fascist, a rapist, a terrorist and a homophobe – just for starters. Trump sleeps in a sheet every night. I will not repeat some of the things I have heard him called. He emerged in 2015 from nowhere and, with the help of Putin and occult powers (how else could he win?) cheated Hilary Clinton out of the election that was rightfully hers. The measure of his seeming success was the measure of his perfidy. His administration was an unmitigated disaster to everything good and right. His policies killed half a million people. He is the cause all the division in America; he plotted the riots in Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis and Covid-19 – of course. And the war in Afghanistan. Trump is also responsible for global warming, the shortage of toilet paper and most of the hurricanes, too. He should have been impeached and removed from office even before he ran for it (OK, that’s an exaggeration) and should be banished to Russia where he belongs or locked up in Gitmo with the rest of the terrorists. Businessmen and reality stars should be forever banned from public office – along with anyone who ever voted for anyone named Donald.
Narrative II – The Right
Also may be fictitious
There may not be as many real post-modernists on the right as on the left, but I have been watching a lot of Fox commentators lately, and creative minds can extrapolate conspiracies from reports and witnesses that appear there and on social media. So here is the flip side of Narrative I.
St Donald and the Unholy Trinity. Trump was a selfless patriot who gave up his millions to serve his country. Unlike most presidents who leave office much wealthier than they arrive, he actually waived his salary and lost millions. He was a great president who turned the nation around and unerringly did the right thing. Political incorrectness was an endearing virtue, but he was actually an Evangelical Christian and a crusader for righteousness. He could do nothing wrong. His handling of the economy was brilliant and he saw Covid-19 coming before anyone else, taking action within the constitutional framework of federalism. His Operation Warp Speed developed and purchased the vaccines that are in our arms today. He made America great again.
There is no single Anti-Christ on the left, but “a dragon, a beast and a false prophet.” Don’t ask which is which but Biden, Harris and Pelosi will do. Biden may be a senile dupe, but Harris is evil and Pelosi is the wicked witch of the west. Did you watch Pelosi’s face during Trump’s last State of the Union? It curdled milk. Harris was the most liberal legislator on the hill in the last session, far to the left of Stalin. Biden has recklessly surrounded himself with corrupt extremists and is pouring out a Niagara of indiscriminate executive orders whose only justification is that they undo something Trump did, good or bad and to hurt America. Look at the rush of trafficked children at our southern border. The point seems to be to institutionalize the damage before anyone can object.
Narrative III – The Argentinian Historian’s Surmise
We will never know what happened
The premise is to ask what a person, removed from the fray and without ideological commitments, would conclude from the narratives appearing on the news and social media – without access to genuine truth. Neither narrative is likely to be true. Conspiracy theories have a fatal flaw. Real conspirators are either too few or else too divided in motivation to accomplish what the theorists attribute to them. Their power is limited. Real revolutions are a confluence of plots and circumstances far bigger than a conspiracy. Add narrative I and narrative II together and dividing by 2, you get ‘0.’
The Fallen Human Beings. There will be someday a real Anti-Christ and an unholy trinity, but the characters in the 20-21 drama do not qualify. They are not super-monsters or super-angels, but fallen human beings. Trump and Harris are primarily people of ideas; Pelosi and Biden are masters of political alliances. Trump is compromised by his ego, Harris by her post-modern, Neo-Marxist education. Pelosi is trying to ride two horses going in opposite directions. Biden is handicapped by coming to office too late. As towering a figure as Trump may be, they are all fallen mortals who put on their pants one leg at a time.
Donald Trump was and is a very controversial public figure (an Argentinian would compare him with the Perons), a ruthless and charismatic businessman and leader. He was exceptionally effective in the business of government, fulfilling his campaign promises to the right with a vengeance never seen in a modern president: a federal culture of life, religious liberty, support for Israel, originalist judiciary appointments, and three years of economic growth – despite fanatical opposition from the left and two unsuccessful impeachment attempts. On the other hand, his gigantic ego, abrasiveness (magnified by compulsive tweeting) and other character defects often disturbed friends as well as enemies. He was not safe. He professed and supported conservative Christianity but showed little Christian charity. Trump was singularly ungracious in defeat. He was thoroughly hated and often justified that hatred.
On the other side, the left had been sorely provoked during the past four years as they saw the progressive gains of the Clinton and Obama eras swept away by what they considered an illegitimate president. Pelosi’s objective was power – and to hold together and control the Democratic majority – older moderates and young progressives. She learned to hate Trump and she knew how to exploit a crisis. Harris was a shameless neo-Marxist ideologue, mouthpiece of the rhetoric she has been taught – sometimes acted as if she were president. Biden was a child of the fifties when ideology had nothing to do with politics. He made his long career wheeling and dealing and building consensus in the halls of Congress. He may not have been senile, but he was an old man – old and tired. He came to power too late and made his bargain with the radical wing in taking on Harris and other members of his administration, signing the executive orders supplied him by others (our guess) and surrounding himself with a cabinet mix of left and far left cronies. He was sincere in his calls for unity, but his range of vision was limited to the leftists with which he surrounded himself. He is working hard to unite the Democrats. Republicans were a distant rumble and Evangelicals and obedient Catholics were out of range. From his viewpoint, the Biden-Harris revolution was an accident, not a coup.
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.