The Coups We Hate and The Coups We Create
Today we hold solemn vigils in remembrance of the Jethro Bodine uprising of 2021, decrying the violence and property damage wrought. Five people lost their lives in the assault. Two of the elite commando attack force were in their 50’s and died of cardiovascular disease, deemed by doctors to be natural deaths. A third person, also a member of the coup attempt, died because of “acute amphetamine intoxication.” A fourth member was shot to death by the police. The fifth person who died on January 6th was a law enforcement official. District of Columbia Chief Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz found that the officer “suffered two strokes nearly eight hours after being sprayed with a chemical irritant during the riot. Diaz told the Post that Sicknick died of natural causes, but ‘all that transpired played a role in his condition.’” *
Tomorrow, or perhaps the day after that, we will be glorifying the people who burned down the president’s residence and killed over a hundred police officers in Kazakhstan. It’s inevitable. Anyone who is the enemy of our enemy, which is to say anyone who opposes any government that stands in the way of our financial interests, is our friend. They might be terrorists, as was the case with Afghanistan and Syria. They might be fascists, as was the case in Ukraine, Brazil, Bolivia, and undoubtedly a few more I’m forgetting. The point is, when there’s a friend in trouble, you sell them advanced weaponry now and ask questions later.
As we send weapons to terrorists and fascists, we hold back access to Covid vaccines from the people of Venezuela because they did not allow a person who didn’t receive a single vote to become president. Somewhere on YouTube there is — or at least was — a video of a member of the anti-government protestors lighting a man with African-American features on fire, quite likely merely because of his skin color. Race plays a huge roll in the politics of the people we support in South America, and a comparison of skin color between the politicians we support and those we do not is striking.
Our fomentations of foreign coups are strikingly similar, showing a surprising lack of imagination from one country to the next. The Velvet Revolution (Czechoslovakia), Rose Revolution, Orange Revolution, Tulip Revolution, Grape Revolution, Melon Revolution, Velvet Revolution (Armenia), etc. A common thread among them is even when they are successful, they only result in meaningful changes when those changes are in alignment with American interests. I would say EVERY SINGLE TIME, but I’m open to someone pointing out the exception that proves the rule.
The point is, when you have a plan that has proven itself effective, you don’t deviate from it. It’s so predictable you can sniff it out from the onset. The first clue is how the media reports it. They uncritically report what they are told to report, always sticking up for the rights of people to do abroad what they would never condone at home. Take notes on the current one and you will be shocked at how the next one follows a nearly identical pattern.
Around the world we foment violent uprisings and say it is democracy in action. Once we tried to hide it. Once we pretended to be better. Now the billionaires who profit from our anti-democratic interventions not only don’t deny it, they flaunted it in our faces. As Elon Musk said: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” Of course, we don’t use the term “oligarch” when referring to Americans, but just imagine the response should a Russian or Chinese oligarch tweet such a sentiment.
All this is of little concern for the typical American, who is not intent on expanding liberty and democratic principles abroad. True, they like to think their uncritical support of their own government’s actions abroad is doing just that, that merely agreeing with what their TV tells them fills the requirement of supporting freedom and democracy throughout the world. But deep down, all they want is cheap goods and resources from abroad with which they can heat and fill their McMansions. Sure they want freedom, but all they really care about are their own freedoms, which they equate with being allowed to do whatever they want. It’s a freedom without responsibility, or the need to think. Not too different than the freedom Elon Musk assumes to be his right.
The problem with this childish conception of freedom is that actions we perpetrate abroad inevitably find their way back home. We’re like the wife of a Mafia boss, willing to remain ignorant of the source of the wealth their family has, ignorant that those who engage in violence outside the home will eventually bring their work home with them.
The Trump insurrection was just a tiny foretaste of things to come. In fact, the mere fact that the media was not complicit in pushing it suggests that it was not any kind of threatening coup at all, at least not in comparison to the ones we know we’re capable of fomenting. When they want to coup the U.S., it will be far different. Don’t let this silly display be the template by which you judge any future threats to what we charitably call our democracy.
I can’t help thinking the Clintons were considering a coup in 2016. The day after the election, the Clintons and the Kaines appeared to their supporters, all four of them wearing purple. Purple is a color symbolizing royalty, but that apparently is not the message they were trying to send. According to Hillary, the color purple was intended to represent unity, a blending of red and blue, the colors representing the two major parties. I notice no attempt to work in the color of the Green Party was made, but instead blame was heaped upon them. In fact, blame was heaped upon absolutely everyone other than the principal Democratic Party players. That hardly seems like the actions of those who are seeking to promote unity. In fact, and I’m not suggesting this with any certainty but label me a conspiracy theorist if you like, it almost seems like the behavior of those who would wish to call the official results of the election into question.
So tomorrow, or the day after that or the day after that, whenever the media tells you those engaging in far worse violence and destruction than the Trump insurrectionists were capable of, try to retain some memory and some ability to compare current narratives with those they sold you a week before.
1984 was never my favorite dystopian novel because I thought it impossible that people could so quickly be told one thing one day only to be told the opposite the next and simply go along with it. I am forced to apologize to George Orwell because obviously he understood something about the human psyche that I did not. I almost long for my former ignorance on the matter, but I know that’s not a solution.