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Talk About the Teetering Edge of A Regime: When Do We Get to Use the Guns?

 

SAY WHAT? - Hoo boy. Big week for the corrosive politics of eliminationism - wherein democratic discourse is shunned in favor of pursuing "outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, ejection, or extermination" - and the resultant, increasingly malevolent shredding of our democracy. With the outing of phantasmal hate once confined to the dank corners of the Internet and fringers' paranoid fever-dreams - thanks former guy and your gruesome very fine people - the ugly is now out there hitting the once-placid purveyors of all-American services: school board members, health care workers, election officials. On Tuesday - after the GOP ranted at Merrick Garland about "the feds siccing the FBI" on innocent anti-mask parents acting like domestic terrorists at school board meetings - election officials testified to a Senate Rules Committee hearing about the insane threats they've faced for, and since, trying to run a fair election whose results delusional MAGA jackasses didn't like. It was brutal- "You should be hung from a tree...Jesus thinks you're a piece of shit...This envelope is licked with COVID spit...You are evil fucks damned for eternity" - which may be why it's getting hard to find election workers. Arizona's (Dem) Secretary of State Katie Hobbs described, weeks after the election, armed protesters outside her home chanting, "Katie, come out and play. We are watching you." Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt got messages saying "Cops can't help you...Heads on spikes... Tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot," with more his family asked him not to share "because they are so graphic" - and he's a Republican. "This is domestic terrorism," he said. "(These people) were lied to (and) deranged by those lies. And for what? To discredit an election that wasn't even close."

Tell it to the yahoos gathered Monday at an event for Charlie Kirk's Turning Point (tell us about it) called “Exposing Critical Racism at Boise State University” though it was at Northwest Nazarene University. A "non-profit" with $40 million in donations last year that ostensibly "educates students about the principles of limited government, free markets and capitalism,” the Hitler-Youth-like group has waded into the murky waters of anti-vax madness - warning Biden would send "goons DOOR-TO-DOOR...LOCK YOUR DOORS, KIDS!!” - the Jan. 6 riot, which they helped fund, and The Big Lie, with Kirk vowing, "We are going to name the names and find the criminals that pulled this off." At this week's Q & A, a guy stood to declare we're living under "medical fascism" and ask his deranged question: "When do we get to use the guns?" When the crowd clapped and laughed, he said, "That's not a joke. I mean, where's the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Kirk, earning his $330,000 a year by knowing the press would pick up on the lunacy - transcript here - replied with a wandering un-denunciation that validated the guy's spiel but suggested it was tactically unwise and too soon. Arguing "we're at the teetering edge of a regime" just like in the movie Network, he said the little Nazis should maintain their awesome "self-control and discipline" like they've been doing, and "demand Idaho to be Idaho, and the federal government can stay out" - they'll (illegally) refuse federal vaccine mandates, kick out the Bureau of Land Management (Sagebrush Rebellion redux), and pick and choose which federal laws to obey. "You're playing into all their plans," he warned of "the psychological warfare that’s being played here.""They are trying to make you do something (that) will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties."

"Sorry, Charlie," notes Arizona's Laurie Roberts, but "you own this, pal." Noting, "They” - whoever they are - aren’t responsible for the fact that your supporters are now asking when they should start shooting their fellow Americans," she goes on to name the dangerous right-wing clowns who join him in dishonor, from Trump to the complicit GOPers who kept the lie alive. "Someday, God forbid, we may look back on this moment," she writes. "If bloodshed is to come and a shocked America asks, 'How did it come to this', we’ll know." While an anti-fascist watchdog group later I.D.'ed the "let's kill these people" guy, God knows there are lots of other wingnut villains out here setting fire to democracy. There's always Fox, egregiously slapping fake targets on anti-vaxers to prove Merrick Garland is "weaponizing the FBI," and don't forget Facebook, which is the most common resource cited by thugs who joined the right-wing, conspiracy-minded Oath Keepers milita, of whom at least 16 members now face felony charges for bringing guns to the Capitol riot. In a leaked membership list containing details on 25,000 people who joined from 2009 to 2015, Mother Jones reports, more people - 1,000 - said they learned about the group or decided to join from Facebook than any other nefarious source; it was followed by Infowars, YouTube, gun shows and a panoply of Fox creeps. The database also offered some pretty telling particulars about the ideological principles of those who make up the group. Some of the answers when asked why they joined: “Old man in Jarome, AZ at a little bar rocking some reggae,” an ICE agent,” from "a poor broke cop: A funny story, I stopped a speeding truck driver who had your decal on the side of his truck, and here I am," and, "I was rejected by the Army.”

Still, the prince of eliminationism, the guy maybe doing more than anyone besides whatzizname to render us a jackbooted, paranoid fascist state is puzzled-looking, immigrant-hating, primitive-monkey-spewing, anti-vaccine-but-vaccinated white supremacist Tucker Carlson, who in his latest tinfoil-hat incarnation has been suggesting the Capitol riot - aka "A Frank Exchange of Opinions by Tourists" - was a "false flag" perpetrated by Socialists and "a significant number of federal agents" to.... ummm.... we're not sure. Now, in exciting agit-prop news, Tucker has made a loud, drum-rolling, batshit crazy series, "Patriot Purge," to charge the rioters are the victims of "a new insurgency...The U.S. government has launched a new war on terror, but (it's) against American citizens. The left is hunting the right. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of our country." The trailer's long intro screeches all the rabid talking points: "(Ominous drums)...The true story behind...(drums)... 1/6....(drums)...the war on terror 2.0....(drums)... and the plot against the people...(ditto)." Tucker says, "The helicopters have left Afghanistan, and now they're here at home," evidently attacking innocent anti-vaxers screaming "We know where you live!" at their school board. There's also babbling about “sticking them" in Gitmo (which we thought they liked?), Osama Bin Laden, the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Whew. Twitter was almost speechless, but not quite: "The planned destruction of America at the hands of the Republican Party and Rupert Murdoch continues apace...This does not speak well for frozen dinners as brain food...They just invent the reality they want. (I'm) not certain, but it seems increasingly likely that, at some point, their reality involves killing us." Meanwhile, the adults in the room shrug: Nothing to see here. Friendly reminder from a protest sign: "It doesn't take that many fascists to make fascism."

 

(Abby ZImet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.)