An American Insurrection
6 min readJan 7, 2021

Reflections on the death throes of Trumpism

What exactly did we all see yesterday? Why did thousands of Trump supporters engage in a violent attack on the most sacred symbol of American democracy? Was their sacking of the US Capitol Building an expression of righteous indignation, patriotism, and duty to the Constitution? Was it a coup attempt seeking to quickly seize overall control of the US government through the use of force? Was it an act of domestic terrorism with the singular focus of violently threatening American civilians for political purposes? Whatever it was, it will be remembered as the moment that Trumpism through both its leadership and followers was exposed as a threat to American democracy.

To answer these questions we must consider what yesterday was and was not. Yesterday was not a coup attempt or a terrorist attack. It did not involve the military or a small group of people around the president attempting to directly seize the White House or central power of the government. Nor was it an organized use of violence by a clandestine organization against a civilian population to achieve a political goal. Although in all honesty, the more that comes out about the weapons that have been found so far, the more I want to reserve final judgment on this being a potential case of domestic terrorism.

It was however definitely an insurrection, a violent popular uprising against authority. The truly amazing part is that it was fomented by the President of the United States against his own government. And some will only slowly realize what many of us knew immediately: that yesterday was a logical step in the progression of the psychology of Trumpism. Many observers have always assumed there was a significant streak of violence within the Trump base, but I am not sure anyone could have envisioned what we witnessed.

The thing that has always tied Trump and his supporters together more than anything else is an unyielding belief in self. Thinking only of self and relying only on your experiences to understand truth is a powerful foundation for sincerity and righteousness. But it also means that any alternative to your truth is an…