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John Colson: Our possible future unfolding on TV


I watched the first televised hearing of the select committee looking into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democracy, and what I saw grimly confirmed what I already knew to be true — our erstwhile president, Donald Trump, was constitutionally (pardon the pun) incapable of accepting that he had lost the race to Joe Biden and determined to keep himself in office by whatever means he could devise, regardless of the rule of law.

As the committee members, through videos of the Jan. 6 insurrection and testimony by various officials, brought that horrific day back into focus, a couple of things struck me as important and deserving of special notice.

One of what was the fact that a cadre of Trump’s own violent and virulent supporters, known as the Proud Boys, broke away from the site of Trump’s rabble-rousing speech at a rally near the White House and began marching toward the U.S. Capitol building.



In a mob estimated at 200 to 250 individuals, the Proud Boys walked away from the rally even before their adored leader began speaking, which to me is a clear indication of several things: They knew what he was about to say, they knew he wanted mayhem to erupt at the Capitol, and they knew their role was to be the advance wave of that mayhem.

Another important point came when several members of the Proud Boys and another, like-minded group of Trump acolytes, known as the Oath Keepers, said in testimony before the committee, that they had come to Washington, D.C., for one reason only: Trump had called them to action, and they were ready to rumble.




If, taken together, those are not examples of a coordinated, planned attack, I don’t know what is.

And that, readers, is a main point of the committee’s work — to show that Trump knew he was lying all the time while lighting a fuse that would lead to an explosive, destructive and murderous confrontation at the seat of our national government, and that he hoped would lead to the overturning of what all but his most loyal fans were convinced was a fair and legal election.

In thinking about the Proud Boys’ moves that day, I realized they were a lot like the so-called Brown Shirts deployed by Adolph Hitler in the late 1920s and early 1930s in Germany, to take over that country, scapegoat the Jews and other minority groups as enemies of the state, and put Germany on a road to European hegemony, at the very least, and perhaps world domination.

For those who may not know even the bare bones of the chaos and cynical manipulation that led to World War II, here’s a little primer culled from historical sources.

The Nazi Party was founded in 1919, as the German Workers Party, by a guy named Anton Drexler, a locksmith from Munich, and Hitler joined that year.

But by 1920 Hitler was leading the group and had renamed it the National Socialist German Workers’ Party — a cynical political bid for working-class support, as the new party was anything but a socialist organization, but instead was intent on canceling the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and was viewed as an unwarranted restriction of Germany’s might and its mission to expand its territory.

Hitler’s expansionist intent also was coupled with virulent anti-Semitism, in an effort to blame the country’s economic and employment woes on an easy scapegoat.

But after a failed effort at the violent overthrow of the country, known as the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, landed many party members and Hitler in jail for about a year, they came out convinced they could take over the country through legal, electoral means.

Sound familiar?

I hope it does, because we are positioned at about the same point with Donald Trump as Germany was with Hitler in the mid-1930s. He lost his seat of power when he got beaten by Biden (Hitler went to jail, but it looks as though Trump might avoid that fate), but by endlessly caterwauling about the “stolen election” that never happened, he has set himself up as a martyr, of sorts, and is poised to regain the White House, rejuvenate his army of thugs (just as Hitler did after getting out of jail) and ready to resume his destruction of America’s 220-year old experiment in representative democracy.

Which is exactly what Hitler did in Germany.

Before sitting down to finish this column, I watched some of the House Select Committee hearing on Monday morning, where the committee leadership began its effort to show that Trump clearly knew he had lost, and that he was lying every time he bloviated about the “stolen election.”

But he went ahead with it anyway, confident in his ability to bully, brag and lie his way back to power with the help of his “base” and the spineless leadership of the Republican Party.

Please, if you have not watched any of the hearings so far, you owe it to yourself and to our nation’s threatened existence to check them out, whether in real time, on YouTube or some other recorded format.

This is our future we’re watching unfold, and it is not pretty nor entirely optimistic in nature, but it is very, very important.

jbcolson51@gmail.com