After seeing an explanation of the history of the differing name usage for Burma / Myanmar, I’ve attempted to shift back to using Burma. This is because the name Myanmar has implications of support of the nation’s history of military rule. The military has recently seized control, and in the style of Bush’s intentional mispronunciation of “Saddam” Biden and his administration are using Burma. I will happily follow that lead.
A week ago, it was explained that the military in Burma gains almost nothing from this action. While they were not technically in power, they effectively maintained a stranglehold on most government decisions due to a Constitution which guaranteed them permanent control over a quarter of Congress and key Secretary positions. The arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi seemed to be an effort to tamp down on the popularity of dissenting opinion in exchange for risks of significant losses to trade, international authority, domestic stability and the population’s quality of life.
The gamble appears to be failing. Protests have rocked the nation for more than a week. Gatherings of more than five people in an area have been forbidden. The military has taken to using rubber bullets on protesters, and reports are leaking of possible live fire as well.
Meanwhile, the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins today. There will be an attempt to focus on the oddity of such a trial and to divert attention from the central issue. There will be complaints that it is not following the strict format of a criminal trial (which it shouldn’t, as it’s not a criminal trial and not even technically a judicial one… it’s a political trial, with different rules.) There will be complaints that a civilian is being impeached despite not being in office (perfectly in keeping with the intent behind impeachment.) There will be complaints that we have other issues to focus on, and that the people responsible are already facing charges.
All of these complaints miss the central point that Trump incited a coup attempt in an effort to keep himself in office.
No amount of misdirection should keep people from maintaining that truth fixed in their mind. The last four years should have convinced the American populace that, in fact, uprisings can happen here and one came perilously close to succeeding. While the general populace, including the Trump supporters, were not willing to engage in violence there is a reasonable chance that, had Pelosi and Pence been killed as was being called for by members of the mob, Trump would have been supported as justified in keeping power by many of them. They wanted to believe that there was vote fraud, and Trump was selling them their hopes.
Had the insurrectionists succeeded last month, we would today have violence on the streets and the history of the US would be discarded in favor of authoritarianism. Many of the Republicans in the Senate, being invested in Trump’s perceived success, will seek to aid his lawyers in changing the issue. The images of Burma… and, ultimately, the repression in Russia where people want to return to free elections… should keep anyone from accepting those efforts.