Let me begin this piece with a concession, my politics lean more in the direction of ANTIFA [anti-fascist] than Tea Partiers and the latest crop of give me Corona or give me death demonstrators. Also, I will concede that the potential for violence is a real concern when I see black flags waved in protest manned by stick-wielding chanters. Inevitably, ANTIFA civil disturbances are followed by a deluge of right-wing media types calling for their jailing because they are seen as trying to overthrow America. Correct me if I am wrong, but at no time do I remember former President Obama tweeting out for their liberty or right to carry batons. ANTIFA members are generally young and impatient for change because they have seen their government fail their parents and are fearful they are next.
Cut to the current President who tweeted out over the weekend, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” and then, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” The last line of his tweet is an obvious message to an exclusive tranche of his followers to load up and head to the streets. Mr. Trump has used these second amendment code words before. He called for a 2nd Amendment solution in the 2016 Presidential campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. “Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump said in August of 2016.
When I search American history I can only find one instance of a president repeatedly calling for intramural national violence and that was the Civil War. President Trump not only seems to be calling for violence in the streets if you cannot get a haircut or your monthly ration of .30-30 cartridges, but he also wants a string of his—states to be “Liberated” whatever that means. That brings me back to ANTIFA, with all the talk and fear of uprisings and insurrection from ANTIFA I have no fear of being hit by a bat from 50 yards. I do fear a mad, rifle-wielding Trump-cultist or White Supremacist. The excuses made for the people bringing guns to a protest, as if they can shoot the virus, is that I do not understand the frontier spirit of the culture. Somehow this sounds reasonable to those who believe that a gun is the answer to all ills but think a club is a lot more threatening.
I have written a lot today about unrest, using words like insurrection, secession, protest, and civil war. As scary as those words may sound, I am not an alarmist, nor do I believe we are on the verge of imminent blue/gray war in the streets of America. That shooting war has been decided, what America has been fighting since May 9, 1865, is far more insidious, the battle of equity. Making the fight over how to handle the COVID-19 virus a proxy for xenophobia and disappointment as opposed to listening to those ‘liberal scientists’ who tell them there is climate change, is a way of seizing a semblance of self-control where there is none. Desperate and reeling, the President is encouraging his followers to ignore his own distancing guidelines and direct their anger at his biggest enemy, THE TRUTH.