In the movie Annie Hall, the narrator Alvie Singer (Woody Allen) comments on relationships:
Now the Republicans don't need the crazy brother anymore—they can make omelets for a generation, maybe more. And who's left to tend to that embarrassment? The crazies he's accumulated over the years. They still need the eggs.I need the eggs."
That was essentially the Republican Party's relationship with their crazy brother Donald for the past four years. They knew he was crazy but they needed the eggs: tax breaks for billionaires, ultra-right Supreme Court justices, draconian immigration policies, and more opportunities for polluters to pollute, for cheaters to cheat, for grifters to grift, and for homophobes, misogynists, and racists to show their ignorance openly. And they all came through.
Now the Republicans don't need the crazy brother anymore—they can make omelets for a generation, maybe more. They still have to remove the stink of McConnell, Hawley, Cruz, and others, but the question of who will tend to the crazy brother has already been answered: we saw his new caretakers on January 6—they still need the eggs.
And we continue to see them in full regalia as more and more video appears from the terrorist attack. We watch them up close as the hatred on their faces grows and they disdain the country that allows them to speak their minds. But in more recent video releases we actually hear individual voices—frenzied men and women driven to contempt by the crazy brother. They're on a crusade authorized (they say) by the President of the United States, and thanks to the cellphone and their own delusional allegiance to Trump, many of them have posted virtual mugshots of themselves. As a result, many will go to jail, some to federal prison. Others will lose their jobs and positions, and one man who warned his son not to turn him in because traitors are shot can maybe take a long rest somewhere quiet.
We’ve all seen crime shows where the robbers enter a bank and shoot out the surveillance cameras. Now think of what the opposite of that might be and you have the mindset of the terrorists who stormed the Capitol. Not only did they fail to shoot out the cameras, but they also brought their own and left behind good high-quality videos that have made facial recognition a snap and also allowed witnesses (neighbors, work associates, law enforcement officials) to recognize them on sight and turn in names. The FBI has received nearly 150,000 photos and videos from the public.
They were not all horrible people that day—many of them looked dazed wandering around inside the Capitol as if they had no idea what they were doing—but most of them were at least horrible and worse: trespassers, thieves, vandals, probably traitors, and possibly—if reinforcements had not been brought in and quick thinking not removed lawmakers from danger—murderers or kidnappers. Meanwhile, the crazy brother—remember him?—well he watched it on television.
Some of these criminals are hoping for pardons, but most legal experts agree that a group pardon for crimes yet uncharged may not be legal or viable. And yet if Trump doesn't pardon them after urging them to do exactly what they did, those entrusted with nurturing that crazy brother may feel a lot less nurturing in the years to come. Many have already become suspicious of each other, wondering if some online invitations to gather and create unrest are scams perpetrated by the FBI to set them up.
It's tough being a domestic terrorist these days—a crazy brother for the appetizer, the National Guard for the main course, and some paranoia for dessert. Maybe they should eat at home.
Just deserts at that.