Four years ago today, racists, antisemites, white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and other alt-right groups met in Charlottesville, Virginia, to “Unite the Right.” The man who organized the rally, Jason Kessler, claimed he wanted to bring people together to protest the removal of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a local park. But the rioters turned immediately to chants that had been used by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s: “you will not replace us,” “Jews will not replace us,” and “blood and soil.” They gave Nazi salutes and carried Nazi insignia, and many brought battle gear and went looking for fights. By the end of August 12, they had killed counterprotester Heather Heyer and had injured 19 others. After the governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency, the rioters went home.
Here is what keeps me up at night.
1. I am the director of nursing for a small detention center in NH. The residents cannot leave, the Delta variant is present here (all parameters indicate this), yet our Republican governor, who is running for senate on a "trumpist" platform, refuses to allow a mask mandate.
2. While threatening high level public officials as a political strategy is abhorrent, I worry most about the grass-roots school board members, election precinct volunteers, etc., who basically have no protection from such tactics.
The people that threaten me and many I number as my friends for doing our jobs have made their choices. It has turned them into thugs. This impulse has been present in humanity for a VERY long time, it is now just much clearer for us now in the US who is who. The rest of us also have choices. Do we hide in our own echo chambers, develop our own brand of thuggery, or use competence and the rule of law to manage this horrible situation for the next couple of generations? I am glad President Biden seem to have chosen the latter. A much harder task, but the only one that will work. Thanks Joe, thanks Heather, thanks to ALL of the people who keep this nation running, and make our people a People.
One of the most shameful moments in modern US history. Not just the rally, but Trump's support, the lack of Republican criticism, and the clear demonstration that the racism we thought we'd made progress in combating has just been simmering under the surface the whole time. Of course, if we (and I mean me and liberal white culture) had paid attention to our BIPOC friends, we would have already realized it never really went anywhere at all. My fear is now that these reactionaries have moved into open revolt, attempting the violent overthrow of the US government, but have not seen any real consequences, that we will only see all of this emerge much worse and better organized in the future. Every congressional representative and senator who signed the letter questioning the legitimacy of the election should have never been seated.
I read from Jeff Sharlet yesterday: " A little while ago I drove slowly across the country visiting rightwing churches & individuals. What I found confirms a change I've been observing for the last 5 yrs: It's really, truly, not issue-driven. What the Rightwing base wants, fundamentally, is a fight. Which, of course, is a core principle of fascism, albeit in its rapidly mutating, inchoate American form: A longing for redemption through violence, identity through the destruction of your foes.
The January 6 beating and attempted murder of Officer Michael Fanone makes that clear. As Officer Fanone has noted, he was down on the ground, incapacitated--and yet the mob kept beating him and calling for his death. He was, he notes, not an "impediment" to their stated goal of gaining entry to the Capitol to "stop the steal"; and yet instead of pursuing that goal, they kept beating him. Some of this is mob frenzy; but I've encountered the same sensibility among people sitting calmly in church lobbies: A desire to destroy one's enemies as an end in itself.
So Trying to finesse policy differences or even "cultural" differences (read: white supremacy self-aware or not) isn't noble, or pragmatic; it *misses the point.* The point, of much of the Right now, is conflict for its own sake, a belief that fighting will make them whole, or "great" again."
According to two different polls released today, 66% of parents think the unvaccinated and Republicans are responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. And 67% of the country think mask mandates are a good thing. People are getting a clear look at who the real enemies of America are.
I am so glad you drew attention to what happened in Tennessee to doctors and nurses. I saw a clip of it today and was astounded. It feels like we are living in a world gone mad.
"While that attempted coup was unsuccessful, the empowerment of violent gangs as central political actors is stronger than ever. Since January 6, angry mobs have driven election officials out of office in fear for their safety. In increasingly angry protests, they have threatened school board members over transgender rights and over teaching Critical Race Theory, a legal theory from the 1970s that is not, in fact, in the general K–12 curriculum."
To my mind, among the most dangerous thugs and gangs, are the ones who comprise present members of Congress. What 45 was unable to do while in office is being shaped by his devotees in our government today. Just think of the fires being stoked now by the Gaetzes and Greenes of the latest right wing, tragi-comedy.
Thank you, Prof. HCR, for taking us back to 4 years ago and to last January -- we mustn't forget what we so clearly lost from a psychological perspective during the events of those two days. They will haunt us for many years to come.
An attempted coup in 1934 against FDR? It was more of a plot than an attempted coup, and was also know as the Business Plot, the White House Coup, and the Wall Street Putsch. Thanks to a whistleblower, Gen. Smedley Butler, it did not manifest beyond plotting.
The plotters were wealthy, powerful business tycoons (names we recognize) who were upset that FDR had suspended the gold standard. They employed an American Legion member named Gerald MacGuire to travel to Europe in 1933 after the Nazis and Italian Fascists had come into power. MacGuire was to investigate the symbiotic relationship between these political forces and the powerful business interests in Europe. "But MacGuire’s ultimate model ended up being a right-wing nationalist league in France called the Croix-de-Feu, which had managed to summon 150,000 supporters, many of whom were veterans."
MacGuire approached Gen. Butler "to assemble a paramilitary force of some 500,000 veterans, and to use them to throw President Roosevelt out of office." Thankfully MacGuire just said no in 1934, like Jeffrey Rosen said to Trump and Jeffrey Clark in December 2020.
Toward the end of 1934, Congressional committee hearings were held. "Of these wealthy and prominent people, none was called for testimony, and none was punished."
"Since January 6, angry mobs have driven election officials out of office in fear for their safety."
Sounds a bit like police unions, not just "angry mobs." In the BLM protests, police were willing to serve Trump by using techniques against American citizens learned in Israel to suppress Palestinian demonstrations. Had Biden lost, I think that we would now be living under a police state.
So those of us who have been protecting abortion clinics for the last 40 YEARS know how to do this. You have the entrances cordoned off. You have volunteers surround the personnel and others who are entering the hospital/clinic/school. And you SUE THE SHIT OUTTA THE PROTESTERS AND THE BULLIES. Because the only way to really "hit" them is through their pocketbooks. Any threat of violence? Hit 'em with a lawsuit. Any "we know where you live"? Hit 'em with a restraining order and then enact it when they ignore it.
People (meaning most men who have not thought at all about what women have to deal with ALL THE TIME): this is not actually hard to do. It just takes a bit of nerve and a willingness to engage. If my local cancer clinic, where I spend a lot of time, asked me to escort patients, doctors, and hospital staff in and out of the building for a few hours a week, I would do it gladly and willingly. Masked up of course.
Fire and Ice
BY ROBERT FROST
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
With all this polarization, it fells like we’re stuck in a cruel kind of “Groundhog Day”, where everyday, dozens of children die, while the same little Nazi, Dunxsutawney Don, comes out of his country club, to laugh at his fat shadow.
At the Fox Chapel Area School District board meeting Monday night a man threw an “ironic” Nazi salute at the board after they voted to approve a school safety plan that included a mask mandate. Fortunately he was part of an unmasked crowd whose leader chose to lead them out of the room in protest after the vote and the meeting continued more rationally. But that was a moment that made many feel very unsafe. Fascism in action, as you say.
“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”
The quote by Mark Twain is from his story "The Mysterious Stranger". The stranger's name is Satan and he is describing what he knows of the future to people in the 15th century. Substitute "power" for "war" and you have the American authoritarianism known as Trumpism. The MAGA cult is the personification of "grotesque self-deception" but Trump and the majority of Republicans in Congress are not. They see a path to power that requires they sell their souls to the devil in return for that power. The only question they might have is "what's the catch?".
Just finished today's reading, about to move on when I started bawling. I watched the head of healthcare in Mississippi last night reporting their hospital system is about to fail, listened to the Docs and Nurses, the Superintendent of Schools in a FL County plea for help and the lives of the patients and the children. Every day stories from people who lost their children, parent, etc and wished they had listened. The hate and violence feels somehow too much to bear this morning.
How does this country heal its soul. I am bereft.
While we rant and worry about them let’s no forget that we are the Majority. We must take to the streets once again and show our power and desire for keeping our freedom. Let’s not hover in our little forums and show off our knowledge of history and detest for the haters. Let’s run them back into their cracks from which they crawled and put their leaders in prison.
I am disturbed by the level of passion shown by right wing demonstrators/insurrectionists in all arenas against people just doing their jobs to people wearing masks for public health concerns.