A person who goes to a protest dressed in military style clothing and carrying an assault rifle is not a patriot, or a freedom fighter, or any sort of a great American. They are, at best, a vigilante who lacks the most basic understanding of democracy and free speech and at worst is a thug seeking to destroy social order and the foundations of our democracy.
It doesn’t matter how many flags these nutjobs carry, or that they carry signs with patriotic clichés and catchy phrases. It doesn’t matter that they wrap themselves in a twisted interpretation of the second amendment. What matters is that they have violated the very core values necessary for democracy to function, for our communities to peacefully exist, and for our nation to be ruled by laws that apply equally to everyone.
A sitting president who condones and encourages these thuggish threats of violence, should be removed from office without delay. Any elected official who encourages armed thugs to liberate the states governed by an opposing political party in the middle of a national crisis is waging psychological warfare upon our Democracy and in my opinion is committing treason in violation of their oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.
Contrary to what some politicians and the know-nothing talking heads who promote conspiracy-driven paranoia say, the United States Constitution does not contain a right to armed protest or revolt. In establishing a democratic form of government, the framers of the Constitution sought to put an end to the repetitive cycle of violence that was necessary for political change in Europe at the time our nation was founded. The Framers embraced the idea of a peaceful transition of power, and that has been the established norm in American society for over 200 years. Our Constitution enshrined free speech and peaceful assembly in the First Amendment, which prohibits laws that restrain speech or peaceful assembly and guarantees a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. In creating these rights, along with regular elections, the framers rejected violence as a mechanism of change. This rejection of violence as a mechanism of change is very clear in Article 3 section 2 of the Constitution which defines treason as levying war against the states or adhering to their enemies or giving them aid and comfort.
It is only a matter of time before one of these armed protests go awry and those trigger-happy chocolate soldiers will let lose the dogs of war that they have been systematically and deliberately programmed to covet. It is impossible to know where things will go from there, but I don’t see anything good for anyone happening from that point forward.
History teaches us that democracies rarely fail in a single moment. Instead, they are dismantled over time before the eyes of citizens who fail to realize what’s happening until it’s too late. The United States is clearly following the historic pathway of other countries, including Nazi Germany, who moved from a democratic enlightened nation into an authoritarian unenlightened form of government. Nothing raises this alarm more than Donald Trump and right-wing media’s call for armed protestors to liberate their states from lawfully elected leadership by Democrats. As Harvard Political Science Professor Steve Livtskey wrote in his 2018 book “How Democracies Die”: “Authoritarian politicians cast their rivals as criminal, subversive, unpatriotic, or a threat to national security or the existing way of life.” Years of brainwashing, or conspiracy theories, or half-truths and innuendo designed to make people see themselves as “Conservative” and view their nation through a lens of “us” and “them” such that they hate other Americans, who are really not materially different from them, is fraying the social fabric necessary for us to respond to a national crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic.
We are creeping ever closer to losing the very things that once made America great. All it’s going to take is one of these protests flaring up into a gunfight. This will likely spark two disastrous events. The right-wing militia groups, who are already looking for a justification for violence, will then likely join and the violence will expand. The President, justifying his actions by violence in the streets, an economic disaster, and a pandemic will then declare a State of Emergency, and send in Federal Troops. Elections will be suspended, and American democracy will be lost. The Republican majority Senate, eager to hold power, will block any legislative opposition, and the Judiciary, which has been packed with legal positivist judges from the Federalist Society, will go along.
Let’s hope that I’m wrong about all this, but we are following a well established historical pattern and I don’t see any exit ramps on this road.