The robust and apropos sentence of 22 years behind bars imposed this week on Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has changed the calculus for just punishments on all the insurrectionists who staged the failed coup on January 6, 2021.
It now appears far more likely that former President Trump will actually do prison time.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly’s sentence, the last and longest in a series of sentences for convicted insurrection instigators, begs the question of the penalty that will be imposed on Trump as the principal mastermind behind the coup.
As he is carted off to the pokey, now far more likely than before, it will become clearer and clearer the extent of the danger Trump has posed to our nation.
Evidence that was obfuscated by Trump allies from the beginning of his rise to power will now return to be the proper focus of a massive national scandal, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
The only comparable moment in our nation’s history was the secession of the southern states following the election of President Lincoln in 1860 and the resulting declaration of a civil war over the issue of slavery. What a terrible tragedy that war was, but tragically necessary for the perpetuation of democracy. It was no cause for glorification in any way, although many latter day fans in this time see its glorification as a way to preserve or justify a horribly racist past.
A direct line between the pro-southern racists of the Civil War and the present backing of Trump can be easily drawn. The added features of note are the global rise of democracies on the one side, and political tyrannies on the other that lay behind two world wars in the last century and the emergence of superpowers in our lifetimes that challenge the very existence of life on this planet to a degree never before operative.
Humanity is now driving the destiny of this planet to an extent like never before. The consequences of bad decisions can too easily now plunge the planet as a whole into a spiral killing off all life here as we now know it. The increasing toxicity of the oceans is at the forefront of this threat. If the planet’s major coral reefs are poisoned, a level of threat to life overall will be very difficult to stem.
Humanity is playing a very dangerous game of brinksmanship with its very survival right now. Trump’s treachery reaches far deeper into this situation than we have realized, and it is sad to note that Russia, China, North Korea and other tyrannies on the globe are contributing essential elements to this demise.
If we as a human species on this planet are to survive at all, it will be by only the most arduous and self-aware effort.
Our best leaders must embrace this reality. In defending democracy, as we must, it is not as a thing in itself. It is a vital element of a global survival effort, as it takes a vibrant democracy, the actualization and motivation of billions, to redress the crises that have emerged. No one man or small group can achieve it at all, because it will require the willful commitment of the majority of humanity to prevail.
As far as Trump and his insurrection are concerned, it is the treachery of his alliance with Putin that is the most dangerous element. All the work that went into the Mueller Report that was most egregiously blacked out by Attorney General Barr at the time pointed to an unprecedented level of Moscow’s involvement in bringing Trump into office and using him as a conscious tool in advancing Moscow’s interests.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was precipitated by his inability to pull off a second term for Trump. Had Trump been given a second term, it would not only have been the death knell for democracy in the U.S., it would have resulted in a Russian military offensive across all of Western Europe that would have made Hitler’s efforts seem pale by comparison.
We must not hold back from imposing the most severe punishment on Trump and all his cronies.