I have an interest in the history of the late antiquity and early middle ages ever since my childhood, especially the breaking apart of the Roman empire. While references to Rome's fall and America's situation can be tenuous and trite, I want to make a comparison that is less a one to one deal and more a way to get some perspective on the events of this week.
The sacking of the Capitol got me thinking about the sacking of Rome in 410 by the Goths. Obviously, the two events are unlike in terms of participants and motivations, but they share a SYMBOLIC meaning. Rome being sacked showed the world that a once mighty empire was vulnerable. That empire still lasted in name for a few more decades (the exact date depends on how you want to argue what the "fall of Rome" is) but its allure was shattered.
The US Capitol being stormed by a MAGA mob containing white supremacists and literal Nazis who were then treated with kid gloves by law enforcement had a similar symbolic power. The notion that this country is some kind of democratic beacon to the world has been a useful myth for quite some time, and while it is indeed a myth it still had some staying power. Plenty of people here and in other countries wanted to believe in it. It's a myth that both Obama and Biden deployed. Seeing a bunch of red-hatted thugs literally smear their shit in the halls of Congress has broken that forever.
It is impossible to deny what everybody saw. China's government is mocking the us. A Kenyan newspaper had the headline "Who's the Banana Republic Now?" The American Empire is merely a hollow shell. This is not hyperbole or speculation, it was laid out for all the world to see on television.
The only way to prevent the fate of Rome is stop claiming "this is not who we are." It obviously IS who we are, but we are presented with an opportunity to make things better. We cannot miss this opportunity. The perpetrators, both the ground level thugs and their politician enablers, must face consequences. They must no longer be accepted into polite society. It should be impossible for Trump administrators to ever find a job again in public life. Trump himself must be impeached and removed.
As awful as the sacking was, I know that these people do this stuff to make us feel hopeless. Without hope, you can't fight. Well I refuse to give away my hope and I will keep my shoulder at the wheel. All you fascists bound to lose.