The world is on fire.
Ultimately, this is not a new or sudden occurrence. As a species, humanity has been a smoldering heap of embers for the entirety of our years. There is the occasional spark that escapes, a plume of smoke, even a sharp flame that rises to consume all goodness, all joy or normality in its way, but then seems to subside, for a bit.
This is the fate of the world, given the wretched, unrepentant heart of men.
Last week, we saw a treacherous despot direct his armed forces to invade a sovereign nation. As the sun rises on a new day, there are new horrors of war to unveil in the ongoing saga of Russia’s aggression against her neighbor, Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin, heartless in his pursuit of restoring his nation to the evils of the USSR, has shown the world his true face. He played the fringes for years, biding his time, plotting wickedness and mastering in deceit. Now, the mask is off.
Is there anyone to blame, other than Putin himself?
We may point a finger at President Joe Biden, insisting his weakness as a leader invited aggressive lawlessness abroad.
We can most certainly shout from the rooftops that the war in Ukraine is a result of former President Donald Trump’s cozy – potentially corrupt – relationship with Putin. He played the gimp to Putin’s Dominant like a leather-bound, ball-gagged pro. He openly favored our greatest geopolitical foes over his own government.
The feckless serfs of Trumplandia will point out that an invasion of this magnitude did not happen on Trump’s watch. This is true, but it could be as equally likely that Putin was waiting for the results of the 2020 election, knowing he would have more leverage in a second Trump term.
Would Trump have sanctioned Putin, personally?
No. It’s more likely Trump would have assigned U.S. troops to give aid to Russia, rather than Ukraine. Afterall, Trump was impeached for attempting to strongarm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He withheld around $400 million in military aid, after asking President Zelenskyy to publicly announce an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.
Knowing this, no one on Team Trump has the right to accuse Joe Biden of weakness, if they’re not equally willing to accuse Trump of absolute corruption and criminality.
Zelenskyy, as a side note, is the same leader who is now on the ground in Ukraine, shoulder to shoulder with his troops, fighting off the Russian invaders.
Meanwhile, as the world watches the carnage, rightwing scum cheer on Putin.
This is not the America any of us should want. With that in mind, I don’t want to put my focus on Ukraine too directly. There are so many takes out there, with many of them, I dare say, far more informed than mine.
Rather, for today, I want to talk about the malignant growths that have sprung out of the dying seed of Trumpism, resulting in open racism, disdain for a free republic, in favor of authoritarianism, and outright hostility towards common human decency.
A particularly noxious tumor would be Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. She is one of a cluster of incompetent, crass, and increasingly disruptive elected officials, sent to topple the American dream, in favor of raw, ugly, white nationalism. She is a direct result of the cancer of Trumpism that was introduced to the national bloodstream in 2016.
Don’t believe it?
Let us ignore all the utter and complete idiocy to come from this woman since she has been in office, and look at a single, recent instance: Her appearance with Nick Fuentes at the America First Political Action Committee’s conference in Orlando, Florida, on Friday.
MTG was the surprise speaker at the event, which, by all accounts and every sane observation, was a white nationalist event, and pretty much a pro-Putin pep rally. She, along with Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, who appeared by recorded video, were there to promote the ideal of a nation free from “other,” and the virtue of an authoritarian state.
Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) have been ostracized and censured by the GOP representatives of their states, showing just how nakedly cultish and principle-free today’s Republican Party has become.
Both have spoken out against MTG and her appearance at the event.
“As Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event, silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling,” Cheney tweeted Saturday.
“All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now,” she added.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who, like Cheney, has been increasingly marginalized within the GOP after criticizing former President Donald Trump’s hold on the party, also made his criticism known, tweeting Saturday at Greene, “If this was not bizarro world, you would be the one censured and excommunicated from the GOP.”
For her part, once the press began to call out MTG’s participation in the event, she played dumb.
OK, maybe she wasn’t playing, but for her to claim she did not know Nick Fuentes or his views before appearing at his event is disingenuous, at best.
“I am not going to play the guilt by association game in which you demand every conservative should justify anything ever said by anyone they’ve ever shared a room with. I’m not going to be drawn into that. I’m only responsible for what I say,” she said in a statement Saturday.
“I’m also not going to turn down the opportunity to speak to 1,200 young America First patriots because of a few off-color remarks by another speaker, even if I find those remarks unsavory,” she added.
“Patriots” is a curious way to say “racists,” and “off-color” is a really weak euphemism for blatant racism.
Fuentes has been [rightly] labeled as a white nationalist by both the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Justice Department.
He’s been deplatformed from most mainstream social media outlets.
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine this week, Fuentes wrote on the messaging app Telegram, “I am totally rooting for Russia,” while also referring to Russian leader Vladimir Putin as “my Czar.”
He also favorably compared Putin to Hitler at Friday’s event!
Fuentes is so extreme that he even goes after other rightwing voices. For example, he attacked Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh for working for “a jew” – Ben Shapiro.
He has denied the Holocaust, claimed today’s Republican Party sides with those who want to replace the white race, and made numerous antisemitic remarks – even going so far as to mock Jewish victims of Hitler’s genocide.
He was a part of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. He has organized and promoted multiple “Stop the Steal” events, attending the “MAGA Million March” in November 2020. He was present at the January 6, 2021 event.
Who else was present at that event?
Ah, yes - Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Yet, we’re to believe she doesn’t know the man or his views, and her acceptance of the invitation to speak at his white nationalist rally was just an unfortunate fluke.
I’m going to just say that anyone who has proven so often to be devoid of any form of grace, self-control, or common respectfulness is very likely to be a brutish liar in every other area.
This is the whole of MTG: boorish, cretinous, repugnant, and wholly unfit for public office.
In public office she sits, however, sucking funds from the taxes of American citizens, some of which are the very types of people she so openly despises.
This is because the world, this nation, has far too many people who share her lack of civility. They voted for her. We cannot survive with her ilk holding the reins of power.
The world is on fire, and we, sadly, are the arsons.
"No. It’s more likely Trump would have assigned U.S. troops to give aid to Russia, rather than Ukraine. Afterall, Trump was impeached for attempting to strongarm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He withheld around $400 million in military aid, after asking President Zelenskyy to publicly announce an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden."
I'm not the worlds biggest Trump fan, but I don't think he would have sent US troops to aid Russia. Instead, he would have sabotaged NATO and Europe's response behind the scenes and prevented NATO and the EU from doing anything meaningful to dissuade Putin. He'd have prevented US intelligence from providing intelligence and aid to Ukraine to mitigate the Russians' elements of surprise, and it's likely Russia would have conducted a false flag operation to justify their invasion, muddying the waters significantly. He'd also sabotage the world from holding Putin accountable after the smoke clears for any war crimes, arguing from his position of Trumpian relativism that "who cares, everyone does it".
There's a multitude of ways that Trump would have made this worse, short of U.S. troops aiding Russia. We are lucky that he's interrupting weddings at Mar-a-Lago these days with "man yelling at clouds" rants than occupying a position to cause active chaos in Europe.
Excellent piece. You are spot on correct pointing out the racism, antisemitism, Kremlin apologia, having such a cancerous effect on the conservative movement. Not much nuance is needed for that, and your incisive moral clarity condemning the garbage on the right is an absolute tour de force. I hope to see more pieces from you here in the future. They add very nicely to the punditry of David, Steve, and Jay.
The thing I might add here is that while partisans for Trump and left of center Democrats have or may have their preferred narratives, is that Putin has been aspiring to and planning for imperialistic invasions for years now. Bush is famous for having misplaced trust in Putin initially, before later regretting his earlier stance. Obama had nuanced views on Putin, but ultimately underestimated him and his intentions. He was passive and weak, ultimately promising Russia that he’d have more flexibility during his 2nd term. He was wrong in not seeing Russia as a major geo-political foe as Romney did. And in 2014, such passiveness led to Putin annexing Crimea from Ukraine and enabling de facto puppet states in Donbas. Trump of course is well known for his performative and transactional behavior, which included him sucking up to dictators while imposing ham fisted tariffs on our allies. Repeatedly undermining NATO and morally fracturing the good will and unity in this alliance was consequential in a negative way. And autocratic dictators saw him as a useful idiot, including Putin, who saw what Trump was doing. Essentially, they played Trump like a fiddle. On one positive note is that the Nordstream 2 sanctions were enacted by his administration. Biden made a huge mistake lifting these sanctions sometime in 2021. And I think his administration was too passive in dealing the warning signs of Putin’s impending invasion of Ukraine. And these are just a small portion of the mistakes and wrongdoings made over that intervening period of time by US and NATO countries.
So I think this “Trump better!” or “Biden better!” partisan narratives misses the boat and doesn’t help the current predicament. The damage from numerous mistakes and omissive wrongdoings has already been done. The best thing is to do is learn from our mistakes, and pursue corrective policies as we move on and focus on the present and future as we ensure what Putin did will not happen again.