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After Trump’s Inauguration—A Work Of Fiction, Hopefully

May 22, 2024 | PDA Blog

“After Trump’s Inauguration—A Work Of Fiction, Hopefully” 

by Mike Hersh
 
 I was rudely awakened in the middle of the night, Monday January 20, 2025, hours after Donald J. Trump’s second inauguration. I looked around in the dimness of my bedroom, and could barely make out five or six forms lurking around me.
 
 I heard one of them say, “This will teach you to mock MAGA, you communist….” Then I felt a rifle butt to my face and blacked out. I stirred myself back to consciousness some unknown time later, in a dank, barely lit room.
 
 My head pounded with waves of agony. I felt my bruised and swollen cheek was smeared with a mixture of blood and saliva. Waves of nausea wracked my guts. I knew these were all symptoms of my likely concussion.
 
 My vision was blurry. I saw doubled images of everything. The bars on the windows and doors, the straw mats on the dirty floor, and the six, make that three people in the cell with me. I was startled to recognize them.
 
 One was a podcaster with a huge following, his once perpetual smirk was gone, replaced by a sullen expression. Another was an outspoken “never Trump” Republican former member of Congress, and the third was an independent candidate for President. The former looked angry, the latter pained and perplexed.
 
 “Looks like he’s not dead!” said the podcaster.
 
 “At least not yet,” the former Representative said sardonically.
 
 The indy candidate said nothing. He looked as if he were trying to pass a kidney stone. Without warning, three MAGA militia men opened the door and threw a young man into the cell.
 
 The pro-Trump militia had formed during the waning days of the 2024 campaign and quickly went into action. Acting with impunity, they swarmed at polling places, intimidating and even physically attacking voters, especially BIPOC voters.
 
 They’d allegedly kidnapped and even lynched Democratic Party canvassers, poll workers and other people trying to exercise their rights to campaign for their chosen candidates. I could now attest to their practice of kidnapping. I hoped the reports of the lynchings were greatly exaggerated.
 
 I recognized the newly kidnapped twenty something guy as one who led chants of “Genocide Joe” at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. I’d been at the convention, demonstrating for a ceasefire in Gaza. This young man and several others surged into our peace rally, calling us sell outs and party hacks.
 
 During the ensuing chaos, a phalanx of MAGA militia stormed into the crowd, instigating a riot with police spraying tear gas, firing rubber bullets, and otherwise attacking the peaceful demonstrators. I escaped the worst of the violence, but dozens of people were injured and some of them were killed. Including members of Code Pink, Jewish Voices for Peace, and others.
 
 The media coverage implicated both the demonstrators and the Democrats especially President Biden. Talking heads and columnists were nearly unanimous in claiming this was emblematic of an inability to maintain law and order.
 
 After countless hours of chaotic video on news reports and online, Trump surged in the polls, giving him the slim margin of victory he needed to prevail in the Electoral College. Biden won the popular vote by several million votes, but that’s not what matters in the USA.
 
 I saw that the young man bore the marks of physical abuse—red impressions of fingers around his neck, bruises on his face, and several missing teeth. He’d clearly been badly roughed up by the MAGA militia.
 
 This confirmed for me that this angry, violent, irregular force was similar to the “Brown Shirts” that brutalized Hitler’s scapegoats during the earliest days of the Third Reich. They usually wore red MAGA hats, but many also sported Gestapo regalia. In these ways, they were patterning themselves after the abusive, unaccountable Nazi secret police.
 
 “What’s your name, kid?” the indy candidate asked.
 
 “Josh Tweedle” he sighed, his eyes clouded by the after effects of his physical bullying at the hands of Trump’s thugs.
 
 Moments later, an elderly professorial captive joined us in the cell. I recognized him as John Walsh, a bitterly militant anti-democratic curmudgeon who’d told all who’d listen that Biden was worse than Trump. I noticed that the MAGA goons treated him with far less harshness than the rest of us, possibly in deference to how much he’d helped Trump win. Yet he’d still ended up with us in this shabby cell.
 
 He seemed to recognize me as well, because he sneered at me and said mockingly, “Did you hear? Your hero Jill Biden was found in a ditch with her throat slit! She deserved it!”
 
 I was stunned into speechlessness, both because of his news and—possibly even more so—from his evident joy at reporting it. Still, he wasn’t finished with his vituperative ranting. “She deserved it!” he repeated, adding, “you Demorats all deserve your fates! You’re all scum and you all deserve….”
 
 He never got to finish his rant, however. The “never Trumper” jumped up and punched him in the face, knocking him down and silencing him.
 
 Little by little over the ensuing days and weeks we learned about the fate Walsh wished upon us. Almost immediately in the aftermath of Trump’s inauguration his MAGA militia struck. Hundreds of thousands of us were deemed “enemies of the state” and rounded up. Many of the highest profile dissenters were summarily executed.
 
 Within weeks, Trump’s loyalists had merged the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security into a form of secret police. After a seemingly endless series of show trials, Trump’s opponents were convicted and executed. These included members of Congress, journalists, entertainers, and others who’d raised the newly elected president’s ire.
 
 Meanwhile, the new administration began setting up re-education camps—huge open air prisons where inmates were beaten, starved, and abused.
 
 We learned to our horror that Trump granted Bibi Netanyahu a green light, and his Israeli counterpart unleashed hell on earth. The IDF wasted no time, exterminating upwards of one million helpless men, women, and children in a matter of days.
 
 Also, Trump cut off all assistance to Ukraine. Trump allegedly diverted ammunition and other military equipment to Russia, leading to the almost immediate fall of Kyiv and the unconditional surrender of President Zelenskyy. Trump was Putin’s guest as the Russian oligarch presided over his rival’s trial and sadistic public execution.
 
 Trump’s mass arrest and murder of his political rivals in a sweeping wave of political terror left him with unanimous support in both the House and Senate. His supporters dragged Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Brown Jackson from their homes in the middle of the night. Their bodies were never found, but they were replaced by Trump loyalists within hours. All of this and other outrages all transpired early in Trump’s second term.
 
 As I hungrily, desperately scrounged the last bit of bitter gray gravy from the bent aluminum dish my MAGA captives allowed me, I looked into my cell mates’ eyes one by one. Knowing that each of them save for the “Never Trumper” had played a role in Trump’s triumph and thereby had enabled the unspeakable horrors that ensued, I silently blamed them for the rise of fascism and the death of democracy.
 
 The former member of Congress caught my eye and seemingly read my mind. He threw down his own empty metal vessel in evident anger. Through gritted teeth he asked each of them in turn.
 
 “When you decided to chant ‘Genocide Joe,’ what were you trying to accomplish?” he asked the youngest of us. The naive former protester just shrugged in response. He’d learned that thanks to his actions, any form of demonstration had been outlawed by the nine pro-Trump Justices. Now, it was too late to protest anything. Also, his self-defeating actions had directly led to the mass murder of millions. 
 
 Sounding both upset and unrelenting the former legislator challenged the indy candidate, “When you decided to run in the swing states knowing you had no chance to win, didn’t you realize you were only helping Trump?” He scornfully added, “I mean, so many of us warned you!” The formerly defiant scion grunted listlessly. His strident self-righteousness replaced by self-doubts and silent brooding.
 
 “When you decided to tell all of your followers that Biden was worse than Trump,” he asked the once smug podcaster, “didn’t you stop to consider what you were doing? What you were risking?” We barely heard the wistful whimper from the formerly loud “critic of both sides” who’d unmistakably coddled Trump and mocked Biden during the critical closing weeks of the election.
 
 The three of them were all staring silently into space an hour later. I liked to think that maybe they were regretful, chagrined, and full of remorse. Sadly, it was too late for their apologies to matter. The “Never Trumper” wouldn’t even be there to hear them, as the MAGA gestapo had already dragged him away to face his fatal fate. They’d soon return for each of us.
 

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