On the campaign trail in 2016, Donald Trump frequently resorted to verse to make his xenophobic case against immigrants and the supposed threat they bring. The poem “The Snake” is based on an old fable: An old woman takes a dying snake into her house and nurses it to health, only to be fatally bitten.
The president typically delivered the last two lines with gusto: “‘Oh, shut up, silly woman!’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.’”
The tale has new significance now, after. That’s the way January 6, 2021, will be viewed by history: a turning point. Before that moment, the populism that Donald Trump rode to power had plausible deniability of the undercurrents of anarchy and violence that most of the country could see clearly. After, there’s no hiding place: Supporting Donald Trump is opposing democracy, and embracing pure chaos.
As for Trump, he clearly telegraphed his inclinations from the start, continued through four years, and reached a crescendo in the weeks after losing the 2020 election, climaxing with a literal call to arms in the hours before the insurrectionist assault on Capitol Hill. It was no surprise. We knew damn well who … [more]