January 21, 2021

Republicans fall back on a well-worn persecution complex to excuse Trump’s utterly impeachable behavior

Republicans have long fallen back on the playbook of playing the martyr, but it's time to bring back America's better angels.

As a time-tested tactic of excusing their sh*tty behavior against most minorities in America, Republicans have long claimed to be martyrs or that they are the ones who are bullied and oppressed.

As they reject gay people and people of color from their communities by silently delivering 1,000,000 microaggressions or doing petty things like refusing cakes, they respond to any blowback with:

“Hey! We are the ones being persecuted here. Don’t you see we’re up on the cross?”

“What about us downtrodden white Americans who only want to serve Jesus?” At least for a few hours on Sunday…”

Of course, It’s all a transparent ruse and the politics of victimhood.

Jesus never said it’s ok to love thy neighbor only when it suits your discriminatory biasses, but they fall back on this gameplan so much that it sinks into their thick skulls where it takes on a new life. It’s been a way of life for untold decades building to centuries.

As Trump faces impeachment for a “corruption trifecta” circling around money, power, and sex, his Republican followers cling to him, projecting their own sense of entitlement and faux persecution onto the 45th president.

Sure, Trump may have abused his position of power, betrayed the Constitution for personal gain, and corrupted our elections. Perhaps no other President has ever been so impeachable for so many glaring reasons simultaneously at once.

But none of that is sinking in for many Republicans, at least not in public. When you get called out for doing something objectionable, the gameplan says:

“Play the long-suffering martyr and blame the victims. Deny any wrongdoing and find ways to justify your bad behavior. When in doubt, fall back on the illusion of religious piousness if necessary.”

It’s not only Trump who can do no wrong, but it’s them as well. Because for years upon years upon years, they have made sure to excuse their racist, misogynist, bigoted, hateful ways. While it was concealed beneath a thin veil in recent years, that veil was ripped off and destroyed utterly since Donald J. Trump took office.

The veil is long gone now, and we have seen a hideous visage harkening back to the days of segregation and slavery. We are warned over and over as those who saw fascism rise tell us to wake up and see the signs. Others say Trump is merely a bully.

Whatever Trump is, now Republicans want Trump to get away with doing whatever the f*ck he wants, because if he can’t, then maybe that means they have to return to hiding their own worst impulses. Maybe their better angels will have to push those demons back down into the shadows, and they won’t be comfortable to show off their true and repulsive colors in the light anymore. How hard for them…

Accountability is not persecution

If Americans want to create a society where the light shines on all, then we will have to do the unthinkable: hold Trump, a rich white privileged man, accountable.

For many Republicans and for Trump, they will respond with the predictable, falling back on the persecuted martyr complex, blaming the press, blaming Democrats, blaming anyone but Trump. Hell, they are even willing to sympathize with America’s worst foreign enemies today. Now that really is unthinkable.

The real victims

Nevertheless, the real victims are every single man, woman, and child who believes in upholding our Constitution, our democracy, our rule of law, and thus our better angels.

It’s not a “hoax,” it’s not a “witch hunt,” and it’s not a partisan attack. It’s plain as day that Trump would have been impeached 1,000 times over if he were a Democrat, and double that number if he were a black man.

Republicans must let go of their darker impulses and wake up to the facts that will remain facts forever recorded in America’s history books.

The hard facts are that impeaching Trump is a justifiable and constitutionally-mandated response to his very bad behavior. No, he’s no Messiah, and the comparison would insult the intelligence of a barnacle. They prove they will do it anyway.

Fox News once compared Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to Jesus’ crucifixion. 

As the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman put it:

“The truth is that victimhood does afford one a certain moral status that can be politically powerful. If we accept that an actual wrong has been done and you are the victim of that wrong, that means you have a legitimate claim not only to redress but also to hold the perpetrator accountable.

Which is why it’s such a common retort to say “You’re not the real victim, I’m the real victim.” The problem isn’t racism, it’s white people being unfairly accused of racism. The problem isn’t sexual harassment and assault, it’s the fear felt by men unsure what will happen to them if they’re too flirty with their employees. The problem isn’t hate speech, it’s “political correctness” that keeps me from saying whatever I want. The problem isn’t what Brett M. Kavanaugh did to Christine Blasey Ford, it’s the fact that Kavanaugh had to endure listening to his accusers and all he got was a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.”

By now, Republicans have called Trump the chosen one so many times that he even seems to have taken to proudly wearing a figurative halo himself.

While it may be absolutely insane, this is the Republican politics of victimhood now, and it’s reached the highest stakes possible in our Supreme Court and our White House.

Fortunately, there is a guide for how to respond to Republicans today and it’s called the Constitution. Republicans and Trump can get down off the cross because the persecution complex is irrelevant.

Impeach Trump and make America great again, by bringing back our better angels as a society.


Featured image: Henry Thomas Bosdet painting of Jesus before his crucifixion via Wikipedia, public domain and Trump by Michael Vadon via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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