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Those in the second car

Race riots, the USA at the top of the Corona victim lists, military operations against its own civilian population and with every mad tweet we stare at Donald Trump again and again. But do we actually have our eyes on the right person? Sure, the president has the responsibility. But is he really responsible when the USA staggers into chaos and towards autocracy? Some pressing questions...

I had barely turned 18 and only recently got my driving license when I was on my way to a concert with my first car and two friends on board. The father of the two was also with us, as they were not yet of legal age. But of course, I was driving - proudly. Eventually we got endlessly stuck on a country road behind a tractor. Constantly cars were coming towards us and if not, the road would make a bend. As a beginner I stayed well-behaved behind the chugging vehicle. But finally, the father of my friends, looking back at the queue that had formed behind us, said to me: "You're holding up all the traffic!"

Injured in my honor as a young man I objected vehemently pointing to the scrap in front of us, which alone was to blame for the traffic jam. But the senior only grinned: " No, no. He cannot do differently, but you can. The second one in row is always to blame for a traffic jam, because only the second one could overtake. The second in line is always responsible."

This plausible explanation has remained in my memory until today. Not only, as it was so true, not only when driving a car, but because it is so often so true in other cases as well.

Take Donald Trump.

The number one of the United States. Started by the motto "America first!", he has actually brought his country to the top of the Corona death hit lists, a la long he has pretty much canceled or simply broken every sensible treaty that the US had initiated and concluded over the past 7 decades and right now the country is sinking in racial riots with it’s leader not even trying to calm and bringing the people back together but rather calling for the military almost like in a failed state at the edge of a civil-war.

A good part of the world is looking anxiously at November 3, 2020 wondering whether the globe can even survive another four years of Trump, and the hopes of all those so concerned now rest on a 77-year-old ex-vice-president with memory problems.

Are the spotlights shed on the right one?

But are our eyes even focused on the right person when we, like the rabbit in front of the snake, watch, as if hypnotized, every clumsy gesture of the ever golfing Trump, analyse and tear up every one of his countless tweets again and again and, in short, chafe ourselves on this one guy in rage until we bleed?

And here we get back to that 'second in line’! The several 'second ones', to be exact, because there are quite a few of them. The ones behind Donald Trump.

Donald Trump might be a jerk. But he's loud. He's like a clown at the fair that attracts attention. And we do just that. We stare at the freak while those behind him can do whatever they want in his shadow.

But what do those want? What exactly are they doing? And why? Or why don't they do anything?

What happened to the rebelling ten?

At this point we cannot help but reproach the media - not Fox News, but especially the critical ones. Because they all fall for the trick with the scarecrow on stage. Not only in the USA. Everywhere. In France, in Sweden, in Germany. One Nazi quote of any official of the so called “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) and the headlines are granted. One rabble-rousing tweet from @realDonaldTrump and papers are full of it, while no one cares what the Koch brothers, for example, are currently doing. Or the ten incumbent senators and twelve incumbent congressmen and women who wanted to do everything possible to prevent Donald Trump from running for president as the Republican candidate as late as summer 2016 and who - with the only exception of Mitt Romney - have since then been standing like a rock behind "their" president for three years now. A president whom they originally never wanted to have.

They would be the ones in the car behind the tractor who could overtake him. They're the ones causing the jam. They are the ones responsible. In fact, that’s exactly their job description. Being responsible. So let's stay with the senators for a moment.

With only one dissenting vote - Mitt Romney - from within their own ranks, 52 Republican senators outvoted the 45 Democratic and the two independent ones in the impeachment proceedings, not only ending it with an "acquittal" for Donald Trump, but depriving it of all credibility by refusing to hear witnesses and receive updated documentation. Ten of these 52 had, as mentioned above, tried to prevent Donald Trump in 2016 as the GOP’s candidate. Be it by secret agreements or with the help of all possible legal tricks. What makes these dignitaries turn in the wind in such a way that they even miss the chance of at least slightly restraining the president by a narrow vote?

What prompts a Lindsey Graham, who holds a doctorate in law and is a highly decorated colonel of the reserve in the US Air Force, to reduce himself to pure voting stock after he not only openly criticized Trump and the Tea Party movement in the Republican Party before 2016, but was also used to cooperate constructively with the Democratic Party in many political fields? Leaving aside the politics of the day, wouldn't that be an extremely exciting story.

How does someone like Graham actually feel?

What is going on in Senator Susan Collins, the senior Republican women in the Senate, who has been in office for 23 years and is known for her commitment to the LGBTQ community. Among other things, she was one of only six Republicans to vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. The constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriages in the US by constitution forever. She too voted for an end to the impeachment in the Senate without hearing any witnesses. There was also nothing to be heard from her, for example in the matter of Stormy Daniels. But she too was conspiring within the Republican Party against Donald Trump in 2016.

What has happened since then?

The list could be extended (here is the list of all Republican anti-trump conspirators from 2016) and it is of course not limited to senators and congressmen and women.
 

What does a Kayleigh McEnany, Harvard lawyer and successful CNN journalist hope to gain from her job as Trump's spokeswoman, who at just 32 years of age is so young that the TV recordings in which she desperately tries to make the absurdities her boss spreads every day look like real politics will accompany her for many decades to come, when Trump has long since passed away?

They don't just stand by and watch

In a comment for the German “ZEIT” magazine editor Carsten Luther wrote Republican senators would still “run after him. They have no choice.” Of course they would have a choice! None of them, I suppose, would go hungry if losing the seat and none of the, I sincerely hope, is threatened with death when opposing a president out of control. They do have a choice and hence they are responsible.

And that would be already my mores of that story and my appeal to all those who have journalistic resources: stop wasting them reviewing the tweets of a fairground attraction as if they were undiscovered works of Shakespeare. Now, bring to the curtain those who think they can duck away. The hangers-on since they are not just that. Shine the full spotlight of the public on those who act in the shadow of that big inflatable figure.

We can all clench our hands above our heads no matter how many times the president of a superpower recommends his citizens to drink bleach, we can complain no matter how loudly he declares all dictators of the world to be his best friends, the water carriers will always keep on carrying him.

Let’s stop focusing just on the radiator mascot. Let us remind those who are responsible of their responsibilities. And that’s not just a job for media and journalists. All of us can do that. Write a letter, an e-mail to your representative. Confront them on social media. And not just in the US! Almost all countries in what we used to call “the western world” are currently having their “Trumps", people not interested in a functioning society at all. And they will succeed, if those in the second row do not act. So let’s make them to act now.

Just as the father of my friends did back then, let us say loud and clear to those in the second car who think that the blond in the tractor seat is to blame for the traffic jam: "No, you are responsible!"

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