Trump Indictment Alleviates ‘Gaslighting’ about the Capitol Invasion*

After immediate outrage, the Republican Party and ultra-right media went on to normalize Jan. 6 in the U.S.

For those who follow the trajectory of the most criminal occupant of the White House, a new indictment, the third, by the Justice Department filed against Donald Trump, has a welcome quality. It gives some sense of relief, reminiscent of how children feel waking up from a nightmare.

Those who witnessed the horrifying Jan. 6 events unfolding live, defying credibility, need to know that they were not imagining what they saw.

The invasion of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 played to a worldwide and initially incredulous audience. A good part of that public were the tens of millions of Americans whom Trump and his cult wanted to negate, and who have spent the last 2 1/2 years enduring what we call “gaslighting.” The term comes from the film “Gaslight” (1944), in which Ingrid Bergman plays a woman whose husband tries to convince her that she is crazy by secretly manipulating the lights in the house where they live.

The Republican Party and ultra-right media continue to act like the husband in “Gaslight.” After a very brief period in which Trump’s allies in the Capitol were outraged by the actual threat to life that occurred in the midst of the invasion, elected politicians started to normalize the grotesque attempt at a coup d’etat and tried to convince us that we had imagined the crime.

Moreover, they continue to plan a slow coup d’etat if Trump wins the 2024 presidential election, scrutinizing any constitutional device or loophole to perpetuate their power.

The crystal clear indictment put forth by the Justice Department’s Special Counsel Jack Smith confirms that we were not imagining the depravity we witnessed on Jan. 6, 2021. The 45-page filing also lists six co-conspirators who aren’t yet being charged but were instrumental in the promotion of the big lie about a stolen 2020 election. The indictment makes clear that Trump acted criminally given that he knew he had not won the election.

Contrary to Trumpist propaganda, which predictably accuses Smith and the Justice Department of conducting a witch hunt and violating Trump’ right to freedom of speech, the Republican former president, whom Joe Biden defeated, acted in a way that encouraged violence to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, doing so at the level of the most basic exception to the right of free speech in America, which provides that yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is not constitutionally protected.

Why is this indictment more important to American democracy and for the collective mental sanity than previous indictments that concerned financial gimmickry to silence a porn actress and the taking of classified government documents, an act that has consequences for national security?

Because we all saw the attempted coup d’etat, the first one in history where the violence we witnessed was not in turn suppressed by communist dictators, or by an ultra-right banana republic junta, but by one of the two predominant parties of a democracy and by the media, such as Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, that were completely free to report the facts.

Trump’s trial for the charges related to Jan. 6 should be broadcast live on TV, regardless of whether his followers, zombies in civic life, question the process like those who still doubt astronauts walked on the moon in 1969.

This is the crime that the country needs to revisit and remember if it is to survive as a democracy.

*Editor’s Note: This article, in its original language, is available with a paid subscription.

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About Jane Dorwart 200 Articles
BA Anthroplogy. BS Musical Composition, Diploma in Computor Programming. and Portuguese Translator.

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