If you aren’t depressed and anxious, you should be. If you haven’t read this December 20 Newsweek article, you’d be well served to do so. The article’s author, David Freedman, went inside some of the far-right Trumpist groups—in-person and virtually—and learned that millions of Americans are well-armed and itching for a civil war if Donald Trump is not re-elected as president in 2024.
The article’s frightening content didn’t surprise me; for more than a year, I’ve been warning anyone who would listen that this violent revolution is imminent. But seeing the Newsweek article’s fact-based confirmation brought a new level of distress.
For today’s far-right—including a huge percentage of evangelicals—an itinerant preacher who called his followers to love their enemies is a freeloading pansy with a snowflake message.
Then, add to that article’s frightening revelations the cheers and standing ovation bestowed upon Kyle Rittenhouse at the December 20 Turning Point USA conference in Phoenix—with the utterly bonkers, hate-mongering Rep. Lauren Boebert as a keynote speaker—and you have a nightmare scenario in the making. The far-right, dominated by the mind-numbed Trump cult, has made the violent subjugation of the nation its new rallying cry.
Faux Patriotism, Purloined Faith, and Trump’s Millennial Reign
For today’s far-right—including a huge percentage of evangelicals—an itinerant preacher who called his followers to love their enemies is a freeloading pansy with a snowflake message. The real heroes are those who take up arms to crush their enemies—particularly if those enemies are fellow Americans. Trumpism—disguised as patriotism—has displaced the way of the prince of peace.
I noticed that phenomenon just this morning on my pre-dawn walk around my neighborhood. Where once manger scenes dominated suburban homes’ Christmas-season adornments, now gaudily brilliant red-white-and-blue lights form massive American flags on the sides of many houses within my upper-lower-middle-class neighborhood. I was shocked at the number of homes that now appear to have substituted a militant form of Americanism for traditional Christianity, especially during the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump comically takes credit for restoring to America the phrase Merry Christmas—as if such a thing ever were necessary. He could more accurately take credit for wrapping the entire Christmas season in a puerile package of red-white-and-blue pugnacity. Oh Holy Night must make way for You’re a Grand Old Flag—or perhaps even more precisely for most Trump-worshiping Americans—Take a Knee, My Ass.
But restoring a vacuous slogan is, unmistakably, merely a means to the more politically charged end of restoring Trump to the U.S. presidency many believe is rightfully his by divine decree. (Some go even beyond that. Pastor Johnny Enlow has claimed that God made Donald Trump president of the world.)
This Is No Parody
All this nonsense sounds like something straight out of a Saturday Night Live parody. But it’s no spoof. It’s as real as the 30 to 35 million evangelical gun owners, a large percentage of whom advocate violence as a legitimate means to restore their new messiah, Trump, to power.
I want to do my part to prevent Trump’s return to the presidency, so I signed up with the Democratic National Committee for a training in community organizing to get out the vote. That’s a good thing, and I’d encourage other people possessed of common sense and goodwill to do the same. But the frightening fact is that even if we win, we—and the nation—will lose.
By that I mean that, if the Trumpists win the vote—which is unlikely—their messiah will have four more years to wreak havoc on our democratic form of government. On the other hand, if Trump and his disciples lose, they will again claim the election was rigged, but this time instead of an attack on the Capitol armed with bats, sticks, and pepper spray, they almost certainly will rise up en masse across the country with their massive armories of guns and ammunition.
The Newsweek article referenced at the beginning of this post accurately concludes,
Absent a strong response from some combination of police, National Guard and military, it's easy to see how Republicans would be in a position to essentially take control of the country simply by virtue of their massive arsenal. "Both sides might be equally convinced of the illegitimacy of the other's actions," says Winkler. "What's asymmetric is the capability to inflict violence."
Indeed. We non-Trumpists greatly outnumber the Trumpists. But even a couple hundred million unarmed citizens will be no match for 40 million heavily armed, angry crazies—standing back and standing by—who need nothing more than a “Go!” from their messiah to begin America’s second civil war.