The storming of the Capitol Ruthless Criticism

Translated from GegenStandpunkt 1-21

The storming of the Capitol

The last battle in the
“Fight for the soul of America”

I. A ‘near death experience’ for American democracy

That might have been traumatic for the nation. For the first time since 1814, the Capitol in Washington was ransacked, but this time not by foreign soldiers acting on the orders of a hostile, undemocratic monarch. On the contrary. They are ardent American patriots, bursting with love for “freedom and democracy,” who went to work in the certainty that they are only claiming their good democratic right: “four more years!” under the reign of their favorite president. They did this at his fairly clear incitement; for his part, he is sure that the only correct, i.e. only democratic, outcome of the election can only be his remaining in the White House. To the shock of a worldwide audience, Trump and his supporters have now behaved in a way that is otherwise only seen in “banana republics” (George W. Bush) – where it has long been normal that elected rulers seldom leave power voluntarily, occasionally with the active support of perfectly democratically empowered US governments, insofar as the respective electorate does not seem to them to be quite “ready for democracy.” But now this hallmark of inferior powers and backwards societies has been carried right into the capital of the world’s model democracy itself – where the superior force had until now gone hand in hand with its unshakeable stability and with the unquestionably democratic legitimacy of its handlers, especially because transitions of power at the top were always orderly and peaceful. For self- and mission-conscious Americans, then, the whole thing is something to be ashamed of.

But if only that were the case. For the rioters and their instigators are said to be responsible not only for an actually unthinkable, extraordinarily embarrassing exception, but also for a dangerous precedent. By breaking into the Capitol, it is said, they have opened a “Pandora’s box.” In their own way, the alarmed observers register – as a concern for the survival of a precious, fragile good – a tricky truth about their beloved system: democracy imposes a contradiction on elected rulers and voters alike, always and everywhere. On the one hand, it organizes an identity between above and below by asking the governed to elect a person to be leader and by giving ambitious candidates the opportunity to win power for themselves in the state by vying for votes. The focus is on carefully staged character traits that are supposed to make the candidate look like an excellent leader, and these are elevated to the main criterion for a decision on which nothing less is supposed to hang than the fate of the entire nation. Democracy celebrates this competition for power over the people and for the personal embodiment of their need for state force as its climax and its seal of approval – as proof that the will of the governed comes first, so that rule can be spoken of at most in a politological sense, but certainly not in a moral one. In the elected person and in the fullness of his power, the voters can see their own power in the state; in him they can see themselves reflected as the true sovereign from whom the state force formally emanates, which they have to obey in any case, whether their candidate has won or not. And yet, on the other hand, from the first day in office, the word of the person elected by the people is only conditionally valid, in accordance with the long-defined competencies of the office and an inescapable tangle of ‘checks and balances’ which extensively lay down what must be executed by the personnel who have therefore been declared quite interchangeable. The cause of the nation, which the elected personnel exercises power over, is presented to them as an institutionalized mandate whose necessities and constraints have to be taken into account. Moreover, the identity between government and governed that is celebrated and established by an election is treated as merely temporary, and is periodically called into question – much too quickly for the taste of the victor and his voters. No wonder then that not only in the many lamentable ‘unstable democracies’ but also in this country there is an arsenal of expressions for the tendency of elected rulers to identify a little too closely with the office they hold and to find the temporal limitations of their power inappropriate: Some ‘glue themselves to the chair,’ others ‘cling’ to their posts; and even in the functioning democracies of the West, complaints about unfair competition, manipulation of the process, and so on, are commonplace. If now even the schoolmaster misbehaves....

But how could it have gotten this far, of all places, here? The officially correct answer is clear: a power-obsessed and manipulative cynic has conjured up and taken advantage of the sinister propensity for violence of right-wing extremist militias and conspiracy ideologues. The answer is not entirely wrong, yet somewhat puzzling. That traditionally anti-government militias, of all people, otherwise known for their hatred of anything that smacks of ‘central government’ and ‘Washington,’ are now so vehemently in favor of the retention of a president who is virtually making a publicity stunt out of his autocratic claim to power – that’s not exactly self-evident. And the shocked public itself can’t help noticing that behind the armed spearhead of the rioters stood an impressively large group of demonstrators, behind whom stood, according to all reports, millions and millions of voters, at least ideally. The latter may not agree with the stormers in all the details of their attack, but they certainly agree with their point of view. How this unholy alliance could have come about – an authentic witness on the spot can provide information about that:

“I am not a deranged Trump supporter. I'm a supporter of America, and I think there's only one candidate who shares the same values that I do.” (quoted in Washington Post, January 10, 2021)

Who can all be welded together by the love of freedom.

II. The unity of freedom loving patriots: the absolute right of free competitors to self-determined assertion

Freedom is the one all-important value that the radical militiamen share with those who were crossing their fingers for them on January 6th, and that in turn links them all to their president. Whatever they imagine it to be, this sacred supreme value has a profane content in the first place: proving oneself in the competition for money with the means that individuals have at their disposal as their respective property. For the vast majority of them, this means that their free existence is a very dependent one – with hard work for their bosses or as self-employed people who work for themselves and constantly, and whose dreams of advancement and independence usually remain that. They are not free, of course, not in the sense that they can choose whether to participate in this event; they are obliged to do so by the free state power – long before and quite regardless of whether they choose to see it as the epitome of human freedom, the very opposite of a life determined by the state.

But they are always free to think what they want. They do so in a way that suits the organizers and beneficiaries of this event very well: They see in the capitalist competitive society a playground for social and character virtues: for free enterprise, i.e. the right to do something for oneself, and for self-reliance, i.e. the duty to take care of oneself and not be a burden to anyone – at least no one who does not freely decide to lend them a helping hand. Finally, they are also free to find the principles of the competitive market economy so plausible and so beautiful that they immediately cultivate the conceit that they themselves are actually the masters of the event if they behave according to its rules and constraints. They can – and are expected to do this by the state – identify so completely with this mode of production and all the power relations inherent in it that they read into the American Constitution mainly the assurance that the mission of this special state power is to leave the citizens alone or to make sure that they are left alone. So they manage to read a rejection of rule into the very document in which bourgeois rule prescribes in binding terms what its citizens may and may not do and how it itself intends to deal with them. According to this legend, the revered Founding Fathers founded the American state primarily by pushing it back.

What they have put in its place is a unique, at the same time worldwide exemplary community of self-responsible fortune hunters. On the North American continent, they are creating an expansive home for a chosen people who – free property owners that they are – get nothing for free, but have a God-given natural right to everything that they can use as a means of their free market activities. It is precisely in this hustle and bustle – in competition and all the conflicts that go with it – that Americans find the source of their unity. Their economic conflicts do not set them in opposition to each other, but morally unite them: as free individuals, identical with each other in their common will to compete, free from all the shackles imposed from above in other epochs or other nations. Across all class boundaries and all levels of the social hierarchy, which also exist in the American version of the capitalist way of life, Americans recognize each other in this identity as their equals: whether rich or poor, powerful or not, they demonstratively greet each other with first names and a firm handshake – in the shared pride of being the only truly free, i.e. perfect, people.

It’s an interesting connection that the heroes of free competition are making. They insist on having no higher authority than their wallet and their God, to whom they already declare their loyalty on their banknotes. But their love of country and their unconditional loyalty to the ‘land of the free & home of the brave’ and to its flag can’t be surpassed in terms of devotion and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. In any case, they outshine anything that the past enemies of the system and the current rivals of the system could ever orchestrate from above. Without any further official instruction, they also display a suspicion of their fellow citizens that would make every block warden and every police force blush. They gladly and thoroughly search for compatriots who, in their judgment, cultivate an all too lukewarm fair-weather patriotism, who do not appreciate their precious freedom and its enormous costs, and who maintain a reflective, even critical distance with respect to the American nation – its glorious history, its sacred mission in the world, and everything it does to achieve it. Many are even able to recognize the incriminated distance already from the color of their skin or by their language.

At the same time, the radical lovers of the American nation themselves maintain a decidedly critical distance from the actually existing political community, i.e. the state with its apparatus and its activities. Their rejection is even regularly much more scathing than that of the unpatriotic scum; it is owed to their legal standpoint of being themselves the masters of the capitalist conditions they love so much under the sign of freedom. This point of view is not free from certain contradictions: ‘Law and order,’ and indeed area-wide and absolute, must exist; against cheats and ‘bad hombres’ only irrefutable force helps. But the fact that the state claims a monopoly on the use of violence to enforce it is problematic, to say the least; at any rate, it always harbors the danger of relativizing the freedom of the citizens that is to be protected, namely their right, codified in the constitution, to defend themselves against infringements – not least against those of an overpowering state power. Equally problematic is the presumption of the state to sovereignly regulate free competition – e.g., with laws on environmental, labor and consumer protection: a state encroachment on the state-protected right of private property that could well justify reaching for a gun in the closet. And that a collective of freely competing citizens needs a few other ‘public goods’ besides legal certainty, which have to be paid for as a collective, is generally acknowledged; but that does not mean that the public authorities are entitled to claim tax sovereignty for themselves and to decree from above which goods these are and how much citizens have to pay for them. The suspicion that the functionaries of the American state are targeting the freedom of the citizens laid down in the constitution does not even begin until they get wind of a new push to tighten gun laws. Evidence of sovereign encroachments can be found wherever state power presents itself as what it is in America, too: the political power of free competition, which not only ensures law and order, but also manages competition with all its contradictory consequences and changing conjunctures as invasively as necessary in order to secure and expand what this competition of private individuals is in the first place: the social power base of the state which rules it.

The freedom that is called for here is miles above the question of whether the self-determined and self-protected belongings will even last until the end of the month. This is precisely what should remain a free private matter. Such material issues are dissolved into the aspiration to prove oneself freely and self-confidently in the face of competition – a conceivably perfect qualification for filling the dependent roles that free competition has in store for most of them. Among the unforgivable encroachments of the authoritarian state is the social affairs department in which this species of free patriots discovers a clear distortion of the principle of self-responsible freedom. It knows of no social discontent that could justify a claim on the state to make American society something more or better than its capitalist competitors – an oh-so-socially peaceful ‘social market economy,’ for instance. Rather, any such dissatisfaction shows that the state is already doing far too much in this regard. Only one thing is demanded of the state here, and that quite decisively: the violent safeguarding of their freedom from all attacks and relativizations – by conquering half a continent; by opening up an entire world to free American profit makers; by guaranteeing that Americans are the first and greatest beneficiaries of the American world order; and, more recently, by building a protective wall against non-Americans who, by their numerous presence alone, constitute a restriction on American freedom.

As for this function of the state – as a violent tool for unfolding the natural freedom of the American, that is, perfect human beings – these patriots are very dictatorial, especially in dealing with foreign peoples, enemies and allies. The demand they make here on their state power has absolutely nothing to do with sovereign restraint. Rather, they demand from it the same legal standpoint, as absolute as it is abstract, that they claim for themselves as a collective of private competitors, as a community of individual sovereigns over themselves: The leadership of the nation has to successfully assert itself in whatever it sets its mind to. It must always ensure, and spare no expense in doing so, that the nation remains free, that is, its own master, in all necessary foreign entanglements. Its state must be a power that does not recognize any authorities of equal rank, certainly no higher authorities – neither alliances nor supranational organizations nor human rights commissions that could relativize the nation’s right to success – and does not need to. Enforcing the nation’s right to everything it determines to be its right is the sacred duty that the leadership owes to the patriotic legal standpoint of its citizens.

Even in the paradise of freedom that the American world power has actually brought about through its actions at home and around the world, this legal standpoint never really gets its money’s worth – how could it, given the claim. And just recently it has been confronted with more reasons for discontent in the nation’s foreign and domestic life: for years wars have been waged whose unfortunate course makes one doubt whether they are being waged at all for American success or rather for ungrateful nations and allies unworthy of the use of our soldiers. [1] The state has long pursued an immigration policy that casts doubt on its will to reserve the homestead of the true competitive people and the jobs that go with it for American citizens who love them more than anything, which means they are entitled to them as Americans. Finally, a viewpoint has taken hold in the national culture that declares more and more inhabitants of the “freedom stable” to be victims and gives them – as blacks, women, gays, illegal immigrants, etc. – a protected status that leads to claims against and reproaches of the good citizens and their traditional morality. Instead of a community of self-reliant, strong patriots in search of success in competition, America threatens to become a protective and supportive community of victims and the weak in search of compensation.[2]

Not in every issue, not in every interest, and not in every state affair, but in this all-embracing sense of justice the right-wing firebrands merge with those usually assigned to the ‘conservative center.’ And today, the various shades of this conservative spectrum have apparently come together in that they all spring into action as Trump supporters. They see in Trump what they see in no other politician: an absolutely reliable representative of the values that make them, as “supporters of America,” by no means “deranged” but nevertheless fanatical Trump supporters ready for some new levels of escalation. When they destructively demonstrate their ‘domiciliary right’ in the Capitol, they fight for his right to power in the White House, which must not be relativized in any way.

III. Trump’s hotly contested bid: a ruthless sense of justice with a guarantee of perpetuity

Why Trump is the leader that true Americans have been waiting for – to explain it, his supporters need exactly two words: “America first!” To begin with, this campaign slogan stands for a series of concrete plans and measures that make free hearts beat faster: A draconian immigration policy; a radical rollback of environmental, labor and tax burdens on American business; a trade and foreign policy that has no false friends and takes no prisoners; an arming of the military as if from the good times of the Cold War, with the finest weapons humankind has ever seen; a commitment to the right to private gun ownership and to all the brutality necessary for maintaining ‘law and order’ against defiant victims, etc.

What is decisive in all this, of course, is not so much the measures themselves, let alone the question of what the results actually mean for the individual “America first!” supporter. According to this exclamation, all worries and hardships are evidence of a violation of a higher kind: of the nation’s sacred right to success in everything it sets out to do. Crucial here, then, is the right that Trump stands for and that perfectly fits the requirements profile of his freedom supporters: “America first!” stands for the determination to achieve the nation’s success through one’s own efforts, to derive and determine its right from one’s own strength; it stands for the renunciation of the hypocrisy of wanting to conform to a higher standard of the good and the just in asserting the nation’s cause – and when Trump then talks about such noble values, he does so with such unrestrained exaggeration that what emerges from it above all is the will not to allow any limits of shame to apply when it comes to the nation’s sacred egoism. As a free people, Americans themselves are the true, the beautiful and the good.

Strictly speaking, however, even this legal standpoint is not all that Trump offers his free supporters under the slogan “America first!” Rather, his offer is simply: Trump himself. He offers himself as the embodiment of the legal standpoint that constitutes the true Americans as a nation of the free – as an ‘identification figure’ in the literal sense, namely as the living guarantee of identity between the private legal standpoint of the competitors, their legal standpoint as a nation, and the driving motive of their political leadership. The offer itself is definitely not new; here, Trump rather represents the particular American variant of the democratic promise to the people, mentioned at the beginning, of being at one with their rule by choosing their leader. American citizens have always demanded that their president not merely act as the head of a bureaucracy staffed with wonderful professionals, but that he embody the free morality of the nation itself – with his personal strength, his personal success and his powerful title. He is supposed to be a kind of modern monarch, but not with merely representative, but real power. Trump’s extremism in this matter consists in the fact that he does not leave it at representing the will of the people as a figure hovering above the other state authorities, but as someone who fights against them with all determination and ruthlessness – and against all those who somehow oppose him in any way.

It is this will of the people that Trump realizes in his notoriously aggressive political style – which is why this is not just a question of style: he realizes the combative self-confidence of the true Americans in the open-hearted hostility that he cultivates against whomever, and in which he doesn’t even want to differentiate in how he addresses the leader of an enemy state power, an unwieldy judge at home, or an ordinary journalist who pesters him with a critical inquiry. For Trump, these are all nothing but useful cases for the personal assertion of “your favorite president.” By always making sure that he gets his way, he simultaneously provides proof of how well off the rights of the nation are in his hands; how much the elected voice of the people has its appropriate echo chamber and its executive organ in him. [3] It is precisely this uncompromisingly self-centered will to assert himself that constitutes Trump’s ‘credibility’ as a politician, the democratic leadership virtue par excellence: Whatever he promises, he does – a democratic voter can’t demand more from his empowered leaders. There is a method to the ‘division’ in the country that Trump is accused of. In every insult to his opponents, in every taboo-breaking disrespect for viewpoints until now recognized in the nation and – above all – victims, Trump’s supporters see the reflection of their own legal standpoint, i.e. how right they are in their competitive spirit, their conservative morality, and in being the true people of the USA. And in the fanatical approval they express toward their leader in the White House, he sees proof of how suitable his own egoism is as a guiding star for the interests of the nation. An echo chamber at its best, then, which doesn’t take place in a dark corner of the internet, but has been at the center of America’s public democratic life for four years, so that the logic of this free patriotism is actually on display day after day and in all its shrill clarity.

Now Trump has demonstrated his bid to be the perfect identity between a free people and their free leadership by flouting the democratic procedure par excellence and insisting on his right to rule the White House and the unconditional, neither ‘checked’ nor ‘balanced,’ authority of the executive branch. Of course, he is not abolishing democracy; he does all this not to circumvent the voice of the people, but to let nothing come between himself and his people. Rather, in doing so, he is radicalizing the offer, mentioned at the beginning, that democracy itself makes to its citizens: to act as a true sovereign by putting a governing person at the head of the state. He radicalizes this offer by setting out to override the other side of the democratic contradiction: the merely temporary fusion between above and below into a personally vouchsafed and embodied democratic unity, and its embedding in a plethora of mechanisms and procedures that Trump and his supporters oppose as merely nothing but opportunities for disrupting their unmediated unity. Trump’s final call for his supporters to riot on his behalf so that he can remain their president is his invitation to them to take action for their own democratic right to an identity with their state – that is, to take a big step beyond the democratic act of voting to realize the true meaning of their electoral act.

IV. The well-fortified democratic institutions: We are the people!

What Trump and his supporters have done in this sense is unforgivable for the rest of the nation.

They have, after all, defiled the glorious headquarters of American power, which already says everything about them: they in any case are definitely not the people taking back “our house!” but a “mob.” They are not in awe of the cathedral of parliamentary rule, nor of the venerable rulers present there, who were about to perform a rather ceremonial yet decisive act: the enthronement of the new man at the top. Therefore, first of all, there is a round of cheering for the palace and the personages of American rule – and also one or two violent fantasies: the indignant question about how the mob could have gotten so far in the first place and what would have happened if “Black lives matter!” demonstrators even dared go near the great building hints at what democratic taste would have thought due. This must have consequences, namely a ruthless prosecution of the perpetrators and their abettors: the liberal press springs proactively to the side of the responsible authorities, uses all the means that social media makes available to publish dozens of daily ‘Wanted’ posters with whatever biographical background can be gleaned about the Capitol stormers. Without waiting for the fourth estate’s willingness to be helpful, the judiciary goes into action; first results are evaluated. In the meantime, the Democratic Party takes the big instigator himself to task in order to banish him once and for all from the corridors of power; the Republicans do not allow impeachment this time either, but one of their leaders is guilty of an unequivocal apportionment of blame to the outgoing president immediately after he supported the acquittal ...

Trump’s term in office thus ends with a blitzkrieg to restore the rule of law’s authority against him. The thirst for revenge in politics and the media, along with the corresponding demand for punishment of the guilty – above and below – by state force, draws its vehemence from the certainty that the sovereignty of the people is secured precisely by restoring respect for the democratic seat, personnel and procedures of rule. Indeed, the democratic defenders of the authority of the state power also take the position that a free people is above the state, which it uses as its tool. From this, however, they do not draw any skepticism against the state power with its democratic-legal institutions and insignia, but a pronounced love for them. That the American people are above the rule of the state – that is exactly what is being realized in the institutions and procedures for this variant of American patriotism. That is what makes this palace of rule and its occupants so sacred, what gives them their ‘dignity’: The Capitol shines so beautifully because the power it represents in its great marble dimensions is the power of a free people. After all, the rulers who work there got in in a guaranteed democratic way, go about their ruling business as elected representatives of free citizens, so that the people see their own sovereignty reflected back to them in their activities and in their magnificent domicile of rule. And the all-important act of rule, briefly interrupted by the mob, is, after all, the ceremonial reenactment of the empowerment that the people themselves perform in the election. Congress, which as a collective of deputies represents the freedom and power of the people to the president, certifies through this act, through strict adherence to the relevant procedure, that it is indeed the freedom and power of the people that are embodied in the president.[4]

The other version of the democratic right of the citizens to identity with their rule, advocated by the beleaguered establishment, thus ties in with precisely that side of the democratic contradiction that Trump has flouted: the binding of the person in power to nothing but democratic-legal institutions and procedures in which the nation’s cause is defined. According to this reading, the legitimacy of democratic rule rests not on the unity of power with a person appointed by the people, but on the fact that there is always the procedure by which he or she is empowered above the person; it is through the respect of those in power and those aspiring to power for its validity that democracy’s claim to be the rule of the people is satisfied. What is held against Trump and his people with such righteous indignation when his democratic cult of personality is set against the democratic procedures, is precisely the way democracy welds together the freedom of rule – to govern – and the freedom of the citizens – to appoint the ruling figures. The voters are not condemned to be eternal ‘followers’ of a ruling figure once he has been empowered, but free citizens, because they can always decide anew who will rule over the cause of the nation, thus also over them. Hence, citizens have and exercise their freedom not to be ‘deranged’ followers of a Mr. Trump or Biden, but rather to be followers “of America” who advance the nation by always again appointing a leader who is right for it. That those elected would affirm this right primarily by stepping down when the will of the people so decrees is admittedly a very one-sided view; they realize this right primarily when they step up to rightfully, freely rule. But in this way they document that they – every democrat has mastered this much dialectic – are never above the right that lets them stand above the people, but rather are ‘merely’ its legitimate executors.

This, then, is the crucial point at which the embattled establishment gives Trump a principled rejection: The right of the nation is higher than any person who should and wants to advance it as president. What this right consists of, what stands above the governed and the governed – that is nothing but the success of the nation, even for its opponents. No wonder, then, that the main accusation that Trump’s enemies hurl at him is that he weakens the nation when he identifies the power in the state with himself. Especially a nation with an absolute right to success does not tolerate the identification of power with a leader who does what he wants with it. This, by the way, is also revealed by the concern publicly aired on the occasion of the ‘attack’ that the anti-democratic machinations of a Trump could weaken the USA’s role model function in relation to other states in matters of democratic rule; namely, they could undermine the credibility of its well-established method of tormenting the states of the world with its own democratic example when it dictates how they have to organize their internal political and economic life so that it corresponds to America’s interests and demands, which are also morally irresistible. If the USA takes the liberty of telling other powers how they have to behave, right down to their domestic affairs, then it really can’t do something like that.

The Democratic program to fight against Trump and his supporters is therefore at the same time a single plea for overcoming the national ‘divide,’ the restoration of a moral unity of the nation that supposedly once existed. This is absolutely necessary if America is to get back on its feet; and this unity is also Biden’s essential promise to his people. Precisely for this, it needs a state power that is sovereign in every respect because it is recognized by all Americans, as Biden represents it in his person; for this, he is then also entitled to acceptance by the entire people. Democracy is when the American people recognize the result of the election and trustingly rally around the new leader, who promises to promote their unity instead of fueling their division. What else Biden promises them remains to be seen – five days of national mourning for the many covid deaths is a good start.

And Trump himself?

“Our historic, patriotic, beautiful movement to make America great again has just begun.”

[1] The private citizen militias such as the ‘Oath Keepers’ and the ‘Three Percenters’ that helped organize and lead the storming of the Capitol are recruited in large part from active and former soldiers who feel exploited and betrayed by their national leaders – because of their firsthand experience with wars that, at their discretion, are of no benefit to Americans, but much more to enemies and allies. Many active and former police officers also join these militias because their experiences with the consequences of American misery and a liberal national culture show them that ‘law and order’ – what true Americans need for their competition – does not appeal to apparently not quite true Americans.

[2] This is where the now infamous ‘Proud Boys’ join the collective of horrified patriots. They do not come from the traditional circle of ‘anti-government’ militias, but are genuine products of the American ‘culture war.’ They pose as the rescue workers of Western civilization, protecting the inherent right of the true American citizen to be the man of the house. They do this by presenting themselves as the enemy image of their enemies, as taboo breakers against totalitarian political correctness: as a ‘fight club’ for angry machos who cultivate – in a tongue-in-cheek caricature, as befits modern internet culture, but at the same time bitterly serious – a violent chauvinism that is reactionary in the literal sense of the word.

[3] This is where ‘Q-Anon’ followers join the freedom caravan – with a conspiracy theory that couldn’t be easier to spin. It consists of nothing but an interactive, ever-evolving story about the abysmal evil of the enemy of the free and the glorious goodness of their leader. Trump is here crowned into an Anonymous and at the same time a messianic knight who will soon – on Inauguration Day – proclaim total war against the enemy. Admittedly, the Parousia has failed to materialize, whereupon quite a few Q-followers have fallen away from the faith; even in the conspiratorial fantasy world of patriotic Americans the principle applies: failure makes you wrong. For the others, the disappointing episode is merely the prelude to spinning another loop on the enemy image of the Trump-blockers and to postpone the redemption from evil for the foreseeable future ...

[4] It is an irony of history that Donald Trump wanted to use this venerable function of Congress, which ceremonially confirms the election winner and thus assures the people of the unquestionable national validity of its vote, contrary to the meaning and high symbolic value of the matter, as an opportunity to correct the – already very ceremonially established – official result of the presidential election. For this political functionalization of Congress, of course, it would have had to be ‘recaptured by the people’ in the form of the still-President’s combat troops to succeed. This would have, of course, destroyed his elevation as representative of the nation, which sovereignly gives its final approval to the result of the brutal competition for the presidency.